Anjali’s manjadi

How many folks out there have grown up outside India and remember going back on summer holiday to our tiny hometowns? The annual vacation which would be marked clearly on those Indian calendars hanging on foreign walls. Weeks in advance the shopping would be done- a gift for the second cousin, sweets for the nephews, medicinal oils and balms for the older uncles, a scent spray for the new couple. And finally the day would come to set out for the home shores.

I was a Gulf kid and our vacations were always during the Middle eastern summers which wonderfully coincided with the monsoon showers of Kerala, India. I believed then that the monsoon was the permanent season of Kerala! So green and different from the dusty dry landscapes my young eyes were used to. The glossy vines, rippling puddles, touch-me-not flowers, homemade ghee, wooden toys, narangamuttai, the colours, the textures and so much else… in two months one would try to absorb as much as possible and tuck it away someplace deep.

How deep?

Like the manjadi that we used to pick out of the wet soil, the little nuggets of memory have grown their roots into me. They throb every time I smell wet earth.

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