“A bookworm, a foodie and a movie buff, I am quite happy in the world of make believe! And when I am forced to be in the ‘real’ world, I work as an Associate Editor at Sify.com”
എന്റെ സ്വപ്ന ലോകത്തേക്കൊരു മടങ്ങിപ്പോക്ക്
ഇത്രയും നാള് ഞാന് ശീലിച്ചത് ഇതാണോ?
മൈമൂനത്ത്, സുലേഖ, ടോണി, മെറ്റില്ഡ, മേബ്ള്, വിദ്യ… ഇതൊക്കെ എന്റെ ബാല്യകാല സുഹൃത്തുക്കളുടെ പേരുകളാണ്. (ഇന്നും ഇവരില് പലരുമായി ചങ്ങാത്തം ഉണ്ട്.) എന്റെ ജീവിതത്തിലെ ഏറ്റവും മനോഹരമായ ഏഴു വര്ഷങ്ങള് ഇവരോടൊപ്പമായിരുന്നു. – എന്റെ ബാല്യം. ത്രേസ്സ്യ സിസ്റ്ററും, പൗലോസ് വൈദ്യരും, ഖാദര്ക്കയും , വാസുവേട്ടനും, ദേവു ഏട്ടത്തിയും, കതീസ്താത്തയും ഒന്നുമില്ലാതെ എനിക്കെന്റെ ബാല്യ കാലത്തിന്റെ ഓര്മ്മകള് പൊടി തട്ടി എടുക്കാനാവില്ലല്ലോ?
കഞ്ഞീം കറീം വച്ചും, തൊട്ടു കളിച്ചും, ഒളിച്ചു കളിച്ചും, ഊഞ്ഞാലാടിയും ഞങ്ങള് കൂട്ടുകാര് ഒന്നിച്ചു കളിച്ചു വളര്ന്നു. ചിലപ്പോള് ഉറക്കം തന്നെ സുലേഖതാത്തയുടെ വീട്ടിലോ , മേബ്ള് ന്റെ വീട്ടിലോ ആയിരിക്കും. ഓണവും, വിഷുവും, ക്രിസ്മസ്സും, പെരുന്നാളും ഒക്കെ ഞങ്ങള് ഒന്നിച്ചാഘോഷിച്ചു. ഓണത്തിന് പൂപ്പറിക്കാന് ഞങ്ങള് ഒന്നിച്ചു പോയി. വിഷുവിനു എന്റെ വീട്ടിന്റെ മുറ്റത്ത് ഞങ്ങള് പടക്കം പൊട്ടിച്ചു. ക്രിസ്മസ് കരോളുകാര് എല്ലാ വീടുകളിലും കയറിയിറങ്ങി. കരോളിന്റെ മുമ്പില് തന്നെ റസാക്കാക്ക സ്ഥാനം പിടിച്ചിരിക്കും. കരോള്കാര്ക്കൊപ്പം പൗലോസ് വൈദ്യരുടെ കൈയും പിടിച്ചു മേബ്ള് എന്റെ വീട്ടില് വരും. “merry christmas” ആശംസിച്ചു കരോള് സംഘം റോഡിനു മറുവശത്തെ ഖാദര്കാക്കയുടെ വീട്ടിലേക്കു പോകുമ്പോള് ഞാനും മേബ്ളും പിന്നാലെ ഓടും. കരോള് പോയി ക്കഴിഞ്ഞാല് ഖാദര്കാക്കയുടെ മകന് സിദ്ദിക്കാക്ക എന്നെയും മേബ്ള് നെയും കൈ പിടിച്ചു റോഡ് കടത്തി സുരക്ഷിതമായി വീട്ടിലെത്തിക്കും. ആരും കണ്ടാല് ഒന്നെടുക്കാന് തോന്നുന്ന വിധത്തിലുള്ള ഓമനത്തം തുളുമ്പുന്ന എന്റെ അനിയന് കുട്ടിയുടെ ഒരു മുത്തം വാങ്ങാന് പോകുമ്പോള് സിദ്ദിക്കാക്ക മറക്കാറില്ല. വ്രതശുദ്ധിയുടെ വൃശ്ചികക്കാലങ്ങളില് ശരണം വിളികളോടെ ആ നാട്ടുകാര് ശബരിമലക്കു പോയിരുന്നത് സുബേര്ക്കാക്കാന്റെ ജീപ്പില് ആയിരുന്നു. തിരുവണ്ണൂരപ്പന്റെ അമ്പലത്തിലെ ഉത്സവത്തിനു ഗാനമേളക്കൊപ്പം സുബേര്ക്ക പാടിയിരുന്നത് ഇന്നും ആ ഗ്രാമക്കാര് മറക്കാനിടയില്ല. പെരുന്നാള്ക്കാലം ഞങ്ങള്ക്ക് ഉത്സവ കാലം തന്നെയായിരുന്നു. ഒരു മാസത്തെ ഭക്ഷണം ഞങ്ങള്ക്ക് കുശാലാണ്. നോമ്പ് മുറിക്കാന് മിക്ക ദിവസങ്ങളിലും വാനരപ്പട മുഴുവന് ഖാദര്ക്കാക്കാന്റെ വീട്ടിലുണ്ടാകും.
അന്ന് ഞങ്ങളുടെ വീട്ടില് ഇടയ്ക്കിടയ്ക്ക് വന്നിരുന്ന അതിഥികളില് പ്രധാനികളായിരുന്നു ജോയ് അങ്കിളും കുടുംബവും. എന്റെ അച്ഛന് photography യോടുള്ള കമ്പം കൂടിയത് അങ്കിള് കാരണമാണ്. അന്നത്തെ സന്തുഷ്ടമായ ജീവിതം ഇടയ്ക്കിടയ്ക്ക് ജോയ് അങ്കിള് ക്യാമറയില് പകര്ത്തി. ഇന്നും എന്റെ പഴയ കാലങ്ങളിലേക്കുള്ള തിരിച്ച് പോക്ക് അങ്കിള് പകര്ത്തിയ ഫോട്ടോകളിലൂടെയാണ്. അങ്കിള്ന്റെ മക്കള് ഡിന്നിമോളുടെയും, ഡിനോക്കുട്ടന്റെയും കൂടെ ഈ അഞ്ചു വയസ്സുകാരി കുറുമ്പി ഒരിക്കല് പള്ളിയില് കുറുബാനക്ക് പോയതും, വൈകിയത് കൊണ്ട് അവര് എന്നെ വിട്ടു മുമ്പിലേക്ക് പോയപ്പോള് ഇനിയെന്ത് ചെയ്യണമെന്നറിയാതെ കുറുബാന സ്വീകരിക്കാന് പോകുന്നവരുടെ കൂട്ടത്തില് ഞാന് വരിയില് നിന്ന് പള്ളിയിലെ അച്ഛന്റെ മുമ്പില് പോയി വായ പൊളിച്ചു നിന്നതും, അത് കണ്ടു അച്ഛന് അന്ധാളിച്ചു നിന്നതും ഒക്കെ ഇന്നലെ കഴിഞ്ഞ പോലെ ഓര്ക്കുന്നു.
അച്ഛന്റെ ഏഴു വര്ഷത്തെ rural service ന് ശേഷം ഞങ്ങള് ആ ഗ്രാമം വിട്ടു. വര്ഷങ്ങള് കൊഴിഞ്ഞു വീണതറിഞ്ഞില്ല. പഠിത്തം, ജോലി , വിവാഹം .. അങ്ങനെ ഇന്ന് ഞാന് മദ്ധ്യ വയസ്സിലേക്ക് കാലൂന്നി നില്ക്കുന്നു.
ഇന്ന് സാധാരണ ജനത്തിന് സ്വതന്ത്രമായി എഴുതാനും, അഭിപ്രായങ്ങള് പറയാനും, എല്ലാ അവസരങ്ങളും ബ്ലോഗിന്റെ ലോകം ഒരുക്കുമ്പോള്, മതം സൃഷ്ടിച്ച വിഭാഗീയ ചിന്തകള് ഞാനീ ലോകത്ത് തെളിഞ്ഞു കാണുന്നു. ആ കാഴ്ചകളെന്നെ തളര്ത്തുന്നു. നിസ്സഹായതയോടെ മാറി നില്ക്കാനേ എനിക്ക് പലപ്പോഴും കഴിയാറുള്ളൂ..
ഭൂമി ഉരുണ്ടതാണല്ലോ. ഇന്നും പല യാത്രകളിലും എനിക്കെന്റെ ബാല്യം ചിലവഴിച്ച ഗ്രാമത്തിലൂടെ കടന്നു പോകാന് അവസരം കിട്ടാറുണ്ട്. പണ്ട് ഞങ്ങള് വിറ്റിട്ട് പോയ വീട്ടിന്റെ മുമ്പില് വണ്ടി എത്തുമ്പോള് പറഞ്ഞറിയിക്കാന് പറ്റാത്ത ഒരു അനുഭൂതിയാണ്. അവിടെ വണ്ടി നിര്ത്തി പൗലോസ് വൈദ്യരെയും, ഖാദര്ക്കാനെയും, ദേവു ഏടത്തിയെയും ഒക്കെ കണ്ടിട്ടേ ഞങ്ങള് യാത്ര തുടരാരുള്ളൂ… ചുറ്റും കാണുന്ന മത വിഭാഗീയതക്ക് നടുവില് നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടു പോകുന്ന എന്റെ ഊര്ജ്ജം വീണ്ടെടുക്കാന് ഈ ഗ്രാമത്തിനെ കുറിച്ചുള്ള ഓര്മ്മകള് മാത്രം മതിയെനിക്ക്.
“Its amazing as I read your blogspot, how much it brings back the memories of us growing up in Dubai. We have since moved and went to UK and then now reached Singapore…where we found some amount of magic.
Our building/s in Singapore have a huge amount of land area around them and when Aryaman (my 7yr old!) was walking down this path between trees – his term ‘secret pathway’ little did he realise that he was going to start a new vocation – collecting these pretty little red seeds – for his mom and make her very happy. I was pregnant with Krishu (my second son, now 2+) then and I thought, wow, what a beautiful gift from my little one. I started collecting them in a crystal bowl and it became a bit of a competition within little Aryaman’s mind, how much more magic and love he could collect for his mom!
I have them sitting very pretty in a lovely crystal bowl and i love the feel of the smooth red beans. I have often wondered if I could have them transformed into jewellery or something that I could showoff more, but then each time I think of that I get a little selfish and think, I dont know if I would want any other hands ‘feel the magic’ that was passed on to me by my little chipmunk.
I did not know that these seeds grow their own roots but I dont think I would like to part with them as Singapore does have a huge amount of these trees around. We have loud proclamations to the fact as we visit different areas of this pretty island and see these gorgeous seeds strewn in gardens and ‘other secret pathways.’ ”
A trueblue second generation NRI who spent all her life outside her home country. Qualified in human resources management, today she lives in Singapore with her husband and two sons. Read more of her writing on ruchiruminates.wordpress.com
“പലരും എന്നോട് ചോദിക്കാറുണ്ട്, ഞാന് എവിടുന്നാണെന്ന്… അപ്പോഴൊക്കെ ഞാന് പറയുന്ന പേര് കേരളത്തില് ഒളിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന ഒരു കൊച്ചുഗ്രാമത്തിന്റേതാണ്.
ജനിച്ചത് അവിടെയല്ല… പഠിച്ചതും വളര്ന്നതും അവിടെയല്ല. പക്ഷേ, ഞാന് ആ നാട്ടുകാരനാണ്… ആ നാട് എന്റേതും.”
Palarum ennodu choddikyarundu, njan evidinaanennu… appozhokke njan parayunna peru keralathil olichirikyunna oru kochu gramathintethaanu.
Janichathu avideyalla… padichathum valarnnatthum avideyalla. Pakshe, njan aa naattukaaranaanu… aa naadu entethum.
These are the first words in my film Manjadikuru.
When the movie released, I was flooded with long messages from strangers about their memories of Kerala. Those notes felt far too special to simply sit quietly in an inbox. So we strung them together on this blog site and it continues to grow.
The journey of Manjadikuru brought me close to my roots and I learned how some the best homegrown experiences were fast disappearing. It set me on a trip to find people who thought similarly and some of us have come together now to make LORE trails, a cultural travel venture that helps to explore Kerala more deeply and work towards conserving our heritage, arts and nature.
This blog continues to be that little hub for folks bitten by the Kerala memories bug. Perhaps more of us live far away from our roots today, running after our destinies, in crowded cities and foreign countries. So what is our relationship with that old Kerala village or town that we are originally from? There are others who have arrived here as travellers and yet felt at home in the warmth of the soil here. We treasure those special moments in Kerala that throb on our minds but have disappeared from everywhere else… I invite you to walk along those old paths and share with us your stories, your Manjadi*
* Manjadi refers to the lucky red seeds (Adenanthera Pavonia) that children traditionally gather as a keepsake in Kerala.
A few days back, I happened to go through a link that popped up on Anjali Menon’s wall – sharing one’s childhood memories. I was surprised and amazed by the response, more importantly the memories each one associated with their own. Surely we are nothing but a bunch of memories!
Now how could I resist writing on this? Childhood is one phase that I have always loved reveling about! Though for today, I will limit myself to just the manjadikkuru episodes in my rather eventful childhood days!
I found them huddled on my doorstep!
Well to begin with, I had those naughty prank filled years sandwiched between Kerala and Nagaland and Mumbai, and it was during one of those getaways from Nagaland that I first got acquainted with manjadikkuru.
I had to sit through a Malayalam school for a week’s time (my parents thought that would enlighten me), and among the 20 odd classmates, I should say manjadikkuru was like an (invisible) celebrity! It was a prized possession that they even disliked showing let alone sharing with!
One day on a walk through those kuchha roads, I got this tiny shiny red and black seed.By the time I reached home, I had managed a handful. You could well picture me smiling like a king who had conquered a kingdom. I showed it to my grandma very proudly, but Oh! I was in for a shock, for she said this was not manjadikkuru , it was kunnikkuru. Angry, I rushed out to the muddy road and threw all of them there. It lay there to be tumbled, scattered, flattened, transported!
Probably the next time I was home, my cousin was ready with a gift for me. It was a tiny red seed moulded into a beautiful shape. At last I had one of them right there in the valley of my palm! I kept staring at it, wondering, how it acquired this shape? With little time left, I had got on a vain pursuit to find the tree that bore these beautiful seeds!
Before leaving I was forced (as children usually are) for a visit to the village temple. The kodimaram , surrounded by a grill, had 1000s of my prized possession scattered all around. It had always been there. And it is only now that I notice! It is surprising- you don’t really start noticing things unless you are aware of it, or unless there is a story behind it! There I was, straining against the iron bars to get hold of a bunch of manjadikkuru. And there was Ma too, taking me by the ears for stealing the prized manjadikkuru from the temple complex!
Post 20 years….
The thirst to experience the real blobbed in my head again, and the thought of the long forgotten hunt for finding the Manjadikkuru tree surfaced (thanks to Ms.Menon’s movie)! I was on a 2 day visit to the pristine village of Kanjhangad and I made arrangements to spot one there. Unfortunately, with my temporary memory loss, I forgot about it until I reached home. So there I was, on my bed at 10 in the night, talking to my parents, when I suddenly remembered- the Manjadikkuru!
‘Okei, Pa do you know of any manjadikkuru tree nearby?’ Pa scratched his head, searched the realms of his brain and said, ‘oh yeah there was one near the kizhakketheile veedu near nammude swantham john achayan’s…. you don’t know john achayan, molly kutty’s…’Ma cut the conversation by piping in-mole deepe, it was felled years back…! End of conversation!
All these years I thought I was living in a village, and god there is no Manjadi here…!!!!
My friend from Kanjhangad while all ears to my complaint that he did not show me one, quipped in- there is one planted at Museum, or better still there is one at our college (oh I know they are part of an arboretum) But my dear, what I want is the magnificent tree in the midst of a village, children playing around, elders engaged in conversation, children and elders alike competing each other while gathering the red seeds… Oh how do I make you understand?
Heights of madness!
One of these days, back in Trivandrum, I even dreamt- I was travelling to Kattakkada (a friend lives there, and my fantasy prone brain has already visualized it as a place shining in the glory of a village) and found the tree, all robust, the branches, some looming high to touch the sky while some bending down knowingly, just so much that I could break away one of those pods containing the seeds!
‘I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately….’ Susan Orleans, Adaptations
Based in Trivandrum, Deepa Sasi’s words about herself : : After so many years did I discover…photography and writing capture moments…and so when I aint architect-ing, they keep me occupied!”
Read more from Deepa Sasi on http://ddzinz.blogspot.com/
“Crystal path was full of crimson pearls
And that I was once a witless wanderer
Clustered by the rusty spears as shelter
For my heart was placed upon the hills
So I focused on my dream to see it real
Then the blue bells lured my lone way
With colors of gleam risen from azure
So I tried to climb the hills in fortitude
But the path bore the greasy pebbles
So I slipped through the nights in vain
And the days seized the sun in wilds
And I kept my hope close to my heart
Soon an angel flew so nigh, at night
And rubbed her fingers upon my hairs
And said, “Path is full of crimson pearls”
“All you want is what you see, feel it”
And then I shuffled towards the hills
While the sun trailed from the woods
And the brook rushed from virgin rocks
For the path was full of crimson pearls
And each of them had a hearty tale.”
a poem from NJ, who describes himself thus:
“I believe in simplicity and see that every person has a tag on their neck saying ’I am special’. All of us are… Keep smiling… Love & Peace, N J
My earliest memories of my Ammamma (maternal grandmother ) is that of cuddling by her side in the darkness pleading for a story. She tells me that I never tired of hearing about Prahlada. Another memory is of a long winding rhyme about a fly who goes around asking different creatures if they knew what its name was. On each visit to a different creature the list of the previously visited animals have to be recited in the correct order before the question is asked. Finally at its last stop , upon being told of its name as “eecha eecha ponneechha”- the fly is so delighted that it laughs to death! But of course the rhyme story does not sound gruesome at all when recounted.
We used to live in Bombay then and I would wait eagerly for our vacation trip to Kottakkal to my grandparents home. Ammamma would’ve kept ready the blouse and munduensemble for me to wear when accompanying my appachhan to the temple nearby.
Vacation also included the not so pleasant task of learning the Malayalam script. Schooling in Bombay meant no Malayalam in academics. However it was this routine inculcated by amma’s and ammamma’s insistence that helped me learn to read and write in Malayalam for which I’m immensely grateful today. (And today, we grandchildren faithfully ensure that our children also learn the Malayalam script during the vacations much to the latters’ chagrin.)
Afternoons were not meant to be slept away and it was time for sewing, hand embroidery. Reading was another habit which was gently enforced but that was a delight anyway.
The tri-sandhya neram – twilight hour would be ushered in by – ‘naamam chellal’ -the loud chanting of shlokas by us grandchildren sitting crosslegged in front of the ‘vilakku’- lamp in the puja room. The then youngest would also lisp along the complicated Sanskrit words enthusiastically. Ammamma made me learn a couple of chapters of the “Narayaneeyam” and the “Mookambika sthothram” . She would ask me to write the shlokas down along with the meaning and then chant it until I had it by heart.
Ammamma would write to me in English in the beginning until I learnt to write in Malayalam. Those days of no internet , email and even limited phone access, amma saw to it that I kept in touch with my grandparents and cousins by making me write letters to them.
When I joined college in Kerala, it was to my grandparents’ house that I came down from hostel. Ammamma used to be very protective and took care of all my needs. She would share her life experiences and taught me many things about life and people. She would talk about books, authors, poets. She had met many famous people in her time and she would share snippets from those memories. She maintains that Humility is the most important quality that one should posess. She often reminds us that Vidya- Education should beget Vinayam- Humility.
One of her morning routines included churning buttermilk in a brass ‘kutam’- a pot shining like gold. It was a pleasure to sit by her listening to her sing softly about the exploits of baby Krishna as she churned the buttermilk. She taught me to churn as well in the traditional way.
She tells me that one recurring memory she has of me is that of me as a baby crying out piteously for her from my mother’s arms as the train chugged out of the Tirur railway station when we were returning to Bombay after one vacation.Some bitter experiences have made her cynical in some aspects and she tends to be skeptical of new fangled modern ways. She can be quite acerbic in her reprimands.
Ammamma has been a very strong influence in our lives . She is well read and keeps abreast of current affairs and has a strong opinion on everything and does not hesitate to express it. She takes good care of her health and follows a disciplined routine. People who know her come to her seeking advice and Blessings. She gets invited to grace and speak at functions in our village. She commands a lot of respect from everybody around her. She does have a somewhat strict countenance which makes some people a little wary about approaching her. However once the ice is broken they realize that it is just a veneer.
After I got married and set up my home she has come to stay with me to help me out many times . First time was when I went back with my first born . The last time she stayed with me for an extended period was in ’98. I remember how desolate I felt after she left that time. Nowadays, she doesn’t travel too far due to health issues. I cherish the bond that I feel with her. I feel warm when people remark about how I resemble her in my looks.
( At this point, I stop trying to recollect about my ammamma and impulsively pick up the phone to speak to her. Her voice at the other end gives me a sense of warm reassurance).
An avid blogger who was a “Gulf Kid” herself. Now based in Trichy, she works for The Hindu Newspaper as a Resource Person in their Newspaper In Education Programme. Read more of her writing on http://ardramaamsandhyakal.blogspot.com
When I look back to my life today, it feels I don’t know where it actually started. I’m only 18, I’m still a girl, and its only a life.
I made my first step to India when I was 4 years old. At that time, I was living alone with my mother, and we were here for a visit to some friends house in Trivandrum. I was French, I was white. It’s maybe the first time I felt so watched. People around me, hands, eyes, words… and me. But I was so charmed by all.
My dream? To become an Indian princess, in saree, with lots of jewelleries!
And then the lucky red seed came into our family. It was a man. The man my mum met at that time, at the French Embassy. Just 10 minutes maybe. She didn’t know at that time, that this same man would then stand by her for a lifetime. This man whom I call Appa today. The reason why I came back.
After their marriage, we used to come every year to our new family in Fort Cochin. We were always warmly welcomed. I met new people, got a little brother, two cute cousins, a great aunty and a strange uncle. I was so happy near my family. And when holidays were over, we would come back to France, for another year.
It was so cold suddenly. I can remember myself, 14, waiting in the cold for a bus which isn’t coming. When I breathe, it is like a gust of smoke. I join my hands, wait… keep waiting. Its not yet snowing… I reach school. Sit. I am a bit different. I can see those beautiful girls laughing, putting one more time some lipstick, and gossiping. I’m different. Getting a new boyfriend each week won’t help. I stay alone… look around. I got to learn so much. Silently. Watching, and waiting. Waiting the clock to ring.
If we look at it… it seems my life has been a long wait.
But not only that. One day… I came back home for lunch. My parents sat and told they must talk to me. Okay… That day was the starting point of today.
“We are going to live 6 months in India”
“Well well well” I said. “And what about me”?
“You decide” they answered. “Do you want to come with us, or not? But give your answer quickly. For the plane tickets, you know…”
Same week, I met a man. When I met him he had some cards in his hands. He looked at me… put the cards in front of me and told “take one”. I took the card. One near the middle, little hidden. (I am always trying to take the most hidden card). And I gave him. He told “The traveller. You are going to travel.”
I run back home. My heartbeats were too fast. My mother looked at me. I whispered “I’m coming” in a breath.
I had to leave all. The few friends I had, my comfortable life, my French family, my world, my school, the late bus, the cold air. I had to leave, to go forward. But it was so scary…
5 years have passed. I am still living between France and India.
When I came here, in Kochi to live, I was scared. Scared to be seen as the “French girl” only. It took time for me to meet some friends. My aunty’s family stayed in Iddiki. I was feeling quite alone. Not going to school as I was doing all my studies throught correspondance. Staying home…
Since 5 years, my parents have a charitable institution. My father is teaching yoga and my mother has a textile workshop to help some women. Their activities brought so many people to our home. More and more. Every day, coming and going. Always coming… but always going…
I started to dance. Bharatanatyam. I met some other girls little by little. I felt less and less different. I grew up… searching for the childhood I had lost.
You know, I have no place to be. No place to come from. I might be from France, but today, really, I feel my heart is Indian too.
Catching the culture, growing with it. Getting the manjadis, putting them in my pocket, watch the heavy rain falling, run, forget the umbrella, batting, making a 6… out!, dancing, feeling the drops of my tears, the smile on the face, the life in the heart, watching them, understand the complicated me, flying, dreaming…
The manjadis in my pocket are making a small “clipclip” when I walk.
I’m 18, and by the way, my name is Iris. Some will call me Shanti.
I’m shared into two, you know. That french girl, and the Indian me. Cohabiting in peace. Just like all the manjadis in my pocket. Making some “clipclip” when i walk, You know.I passed so beautiful moments here. I’ve seen so many sunrises; I’ve seen so many smiles. And here, it’s full of coconut trees. They say its “God’s own country”. May He will share it a bit with me!
I dont have siblings, hence very close to all of my cousins who used to visit us@ Wayanad, for summer vacation every year.
Loads of lovely memories… scattered though…
> my pretty sis who could’nt utter one word in malayalam but wanted to watch ‘mazha peyyunnu maddalam kottunnu‘ everytime she was in Kerala
> Grandma roasting coffee beans every morning, grinding it fresh, the fresh filter coffee aroma walking us up
> My li’l cousin Kavita wetting the bed every night but curiously she wakes up dry & am all wet!
> first love letter 🙂 this guy (he wud kill me for writing this) used to get me huge bars of chocolates (his dad worked in Cadbury factory)… I shamelessly ate all of them & said later that he is just a good friend!!
> running behind the elephant during temple festival
> running out hearing the ‘duggu duggu duggu’ sound of periyappa’s bike… to get the poppins he never forgot to get for me (without my dad’s knowledge 🙂
> all of us sitting together for dinner where dinner would be served in one big bowl along with ‘so called real ghost stories’
> playing seven stones in the large ground …
> playing carrom @ home when summer rains lashes out… my twin cousins who always are fighting for the silliest of reasons, throwing Bournvita on each other across the carrom board…It never occured to any one of us to get a new one…
> taste of first beer (stolen from dad’s shelf!)
> coughing over first smoke… that too sadhu beedi!
> the fun filled trips to Muthanga forest… bathing in the river… eating in the forest … sleeping in the cool shades…
> on the way to Muthanga the men used to break cocunuts in the ‘Gulikan Thara’ to see wild elephants…while the moms & aunts light lamps ‘not to see elephants’… 🙂
> The night when a black panther from Muthanga forest strayed in to our place killing a cow & a dog… Appa, Adu anna, Anand anna & Nambiar ettan going after it with guns… when Appa accidently tied both strings of his shoes together & fell in to the pond 🙂
> the panchayat elections when the local leaders would assemble @ our place and discuss international politics 🙂
Ø My brother Anand anna, who introduced me to the world of books – he bought me my first books wen I was 6 or 7 – ‘Kabooliwalah’, ‘Panchatanthram tales’ … soon I graduated to Vaikom Muhhammad Basheer.
Ø The ‘porattukali’ by paniyar tribe & Kolkkali by ‘Kurumar’ tribe during vishu. The Porattu kali would invariably end with the song “pappadom chuttathum innu thane… Appane chuttathum Innu thane J
Ø My dad was majorly in to politics – a congress member…We had this ‘Rowdy Raman’ who was a communist party supporter…Raman had a dog ‘Tippu’. When the political differences reaches burning point Raman would take Tippu for a walk (after his quota of ‘naadan vaattu’) through our road & sing “ Eda Tippu… Congress Tippu” 😀
Ø Vishu always was a huge celebration – we kids would hold on to ‘our’ allotted boxes of crackers like holding on to dear life… we would dry them in sun (Edavappathy would have dampened the crackers a bit…but not our spirits)….the Vishu eve would start with wearing new dresses. Appa always inaugurated bursting crackers by lighting the 1000 mala… then there wouldd be competition with the neighbourhood people… every Vishu of mine ended with me having Sulfur allergy!
The Vishu day is the only earning period for us kids… so we take all the tactics – beg , borrow, even steal kaineettom ! Vishu lunch is special with ‘kappa sambar” Later in the evening dad would hand over tobacco, vettila & clothes to our workers. Once I tried eating the tobacco & puked all night.
Ø Another memory is of death anniversary of my Grandfather when we all would gather & priest (vadhyar) from Calicut would come for the pooja. For help with cleaning we used to have the tribal people. But that day the tribals are not supposed to be given food. The priest , bathed in ‘Vibhoothi’ would call out to the crow (considered the deceased) “ka ka ka”…I once heard the tribal help comment “ vadhyar pappan venneeril kulicha Nai thane… kaakene vilipparu… poochene vilipparu… ennalum namukkonjum thaararu (in tribal slang)
Ø Those summers when sprinklers would be watering our estate… the wonderful smell of wet mud… the mangoes & tamarinds… the inevitable loose motions every summer!!!
Ø During the coffee crop season we kids also would work along with the workers – we had our own small baskets for harvesting… the money we ‘earned ‘ we splashed during ‘valliyoorkkavu ulsavam’ buying snake & ladder game, bangles, water pistols, colorful bindis…what not!!!
Am so happy that My Manjadi triggered off these sweet memories!!! There are loads more!!!
My memories aka manjadis are mostly the ones from the days I spend along with my cousins at my Grandma’s place in Elathur, a small village in Calicut. Don’t know why the below ones are so distinctly alive in my mind. Sharing some of them with you …
-In my childhood days my real fun days starts when all the cousins get together for summer holidays at Ammamma’s house. The mornings start by brushing your teeth with “Colgate tooth powder” (which I use to personally love because it was sweet!) or with Umikari (used to love that too because our mouths would look like somebody just lit a fire inside and it and whole mouth was filled with black ashes) or the option was to pick up a Guava leaf. One of the things we loved doing was to climb on the gate of Ammmama’s house and we used to sway the gate to and fro .The momentum of the ride increased with every sway till one of our mom’s used to yell at us and bring us down. I think we used to imagine that the gate was a bus and all of us enjoying the busride.
-Then there was this little gal who used to sell homemade sip-ups bonda and parippuvada. We used to gather all the “chilllaraas” we get from every nook and corner of the house, gather the little pocket money we had and if we fall short would run to our mothers to lend us 50 ps to buy those. Icecreams were a luxury then so we used to be content with the sip-ups the little girl brought.
– One thing Ammamaa loved doing was to give us Oil baths. She used to smear kuzhambu on all of us kids till all of us looked like some shiny alien kids. The oil baths were never complete without washing our hair in Thaali . So as soon as we were done with the oil smearing the next action was to run to pluck the leaves and flowers of chembaruthi in order to make the thaali . Used to take turns to grind the leaves on the ammikkallu and this was a good way to spend the time needed for the oil to soak deep into our skins. Used to make so much, that we had so many bottles of it and the leftovers were stored in our fridge for later use. Of course we were generous so all the ladies in the family got a portion of our hard earned work!
-Now coming to food!! Being near to the coast side we used to get the best fish in Elathur. Today if you ask me, I would be more interested in eating the fish than admiring it in its lively form! In those days the fishermen used to bring home humungous crabs in buckets. When they open the lid and let the crabs out, they moved around in all directions. Some of us ran as further as we could and some of us loved to tease the crabs (of course not with our hands, don’t think we were that brave then) but with long sticks. I was so amused to see the crabs running around . Wonder if they knew that they would be in the curry chatty soon, or maybe they did and that’s why they were running as fast as they could…
-Ammama’s house had a lot of backyard space where there was this lovely jasmine plant that gave us flowers anytime of the year. Every evening we used to pluck the jasmine buds and Ammamma or aunty used to tie them with vaazhanaaru and all the gals used to keep them on our hair. Soon after this did we sit in the front kolaaayi to sing our sandya naamams and after that would play the game Pulinguru (tamarind seeds).
-Another place we loved to be was near the mango tree which was right above the small outhouse . Used to sneak out to the terrace to pluck mangoes and have it with chilli powder and salt.
We always would forget to get the accompaniments and one of us use to sneak right back to the kitchen to get them (who usually is the last one to reach the terrace) . The key, was to get them from the kitchen without the elders noticing because none of them approved of this!! Reason 1 – our tummies would go for a toss after eating this, and reason 2 – they thought it was dangerous to climb on the tree which was pretty high… Thankfully none of us have broken our bones in the act! Savoured every bite of those raw mangoes. I have water in my mouth just thinking about it…
-Another memory I have is from the night we heard Ammamma’s cow giving out a long cry and all of us ran to see what went wrong. To the kids’ astonishment we see the cow giving birth to a baby calf… All of the us waited near her with petromax lanterns for hours and hours… until the little wobbly one came out of the womb. It was kind of a ghastly sight! Next few days all of us kids were around the calf and the mother cow was so protective about its little one and wouldn’t let any of us near it.
These are few of my Manjadis that I treasure close to my heart. (sigh)