Growing up at Poovathur

The sudden burst of the breeze slipped a soft feather from the shell of my private library… My library… Memory… Memories are forever.

I remember the red sky at the night, and the gently wind that blew from where I have come from… I’m an Indian… I belong to a picturesque village where the farmers used to live their life in utmost simplicity. Poovathur – 13 kms from Tiruvalla.

Today, as when I scribble this note on my laptop, my memory takes me away to the grand Eighties. I am not too old, and I don’t need to be told. There was I, and my friends, and a field where we used to fly kites. The green field always tempted us. I was close to my grandfather. He is my inspiration. He used to say, “Hard work can conquer anything under the sky”.  And my mind craves to pick a shell from my memory lane. Now, I remember those endless nights where I used to carve such beautiful pictures of a place that I can never forget. We were a bunch of young blood. At dusk we used to meet, to share about the incidents that took place in school. I remember the times we shared food with each other. In life the biggest asset is love. I am pleased to feel the endless love at a very early age. But it was from my friends, and of course my grandfather.

My grandfather was into politics, and once when he won the election, he was awarded an amount as an appreciation. He didn’t use it for anything. And I remember the amount wasn’t too huge. But it was for me. He received 1000 Rs as a reward. He didn’t use it. Instead, he bought me a cycle. Have you heard of bicycle days? Oh, yes… I have… Years passed by… Life changed drastically… I drifted apart from that beautiful world… to the world of agony and hurt… But on my mind, I kept this shell… My private library… Memory… Memories never die…

I visit this place every year… Whenever I visit this place, I walk through the same pastures once we played at… The same place where we attented tuitions at… The same place where we exchanged our first smile… The same place where my grandfather used to teach how to ride a cycle… Today, he is not in this world… But at a distance, he stares at me, smiling, and saying “Go ahead… the route is clear for you…”.

Nithin Jacob.

Nithin Jacob works in Saudi Arabia in the software sector and is on his way to becoming a published writer soon. Read more of his writing  on http://www.njzlife.blogspot.com/

Smells & colours of home at Eloor

It was a summer evening. I had finished playing cricket with my companions. That day we played in children’s park. I bid adieu to ‘the dwarf’, which was a bushy mango tree which never grew tall, on my way back home. May be it preferred to maintain status quo, because of deep compassion towards the young ones who used to play on it. Sky was clear, with light indigo shade blending with sky blue, indicating sun was bidding farewell to that day, after giving as much light as it can for the nature to blossom. There was a small pool of water near the overhead tank. Two myna’s were busy taking bath, and, it looked as if it was a rendezvous for them.
Bunch of white cranes were flying back to their resting place as part of their daily routine. They spent their day time near the banks of Periyar and adjoining paddy fields. Tall grass which grew in the park had turned brownish and dry, because it was latter half of summer. They swayed as the mild cool breeze which filtered through the giant mango and gulmohar trees blew across the park. I lazily walked towards my house. I could hear the melodious chirp of a cuckoo, which perched on one of those giant mango trees right across the street. I stepped out of the park onto the street. Street had turned into a carpet of flowers which fell from the canopy of gulmohar (vagaa) trees.

I reached the arched gate of my house and observed that our white Pomeranian dog was amidst an evening nap, lying peacefully on the tranquil courtyard of the bungalow. As soon as, I opened the gate he instantaneously stood erect and darted an arrogant gaze towards the gate. When he comprehended that it was me, he reverted back to his resting position. I advanced towards my house by walking along the road within the compound which curved towards the car porch. Road was along the side of a lush green lawn, which was surrounded by a variety of flora. There were mosantha which had blood red flowers, shoe flower plants with red, yellow and orange flowers, the jack fruit tree, and so on. The three tall drooping ashoka trees stood majestically, revealing its humility by giving way to the wind.

My nose could filter out odour of eucalyptus which the wind carried from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree which was one of it’s kind in the near vicinity. As I was taking a turn along the curve, a squirrel scurried across the road. He was not convinced of my friendly gestures, and, did not venture to my proximity. As I took the turn towards the car porch there were many gorgeous looking roses welcoming me home. It was delightful to watch them. My mother was plucking the dry leaves on them, and, she was doing it meticulously. As she took care of them with her tender hands, her endearment towards them was lucidly portrayed.
As I started climbing up the stairs in front of the bungalow, somebody called me. I opened my eyes and realized, I was deeply immersed in a dream. I dreamt about the bungalow and its surroundings, where I was extremely fortunate to celebrate my childhood. It was located in Eloor village near Cochin. I will cherish those memories for ever. Era in my life when every day was ‘Another day in paradise’.
 
 
Vinod Menon works in the software industry in Bangalore.

Summers at Thiruvilwamala

When I started writing about those old holidays at Ammamma’s place in Tiruvilwamala, a whole lot of things came to my head… a million memories but there are some I remember as highlights.

– The mornings, when Ammamma would wake my brother and me up and chase us to the veranda with a toothbrush with paste on it. The water in a copper vessel. Both of us would keep brushing, bored till the spirit to compete in a toothpaste spitting championship would overtake us. I am sure if Ammamma noticed she would have asked us to stop 🙂 And I remember the end of mundu was the hand towel for me. Also remember her telling me to press my teeth hard so that my protruding front teeth would stop showing so much and I would become a pretty girl!

– The food… breakfast to mid morning snack (mangoes!) and lunch (I remember the big tall pappadum box the most) and so goes the list. Ammamma used to make this super tasty chicken (even though she is a vegetarian) and also an awesome masala curry.

– My brother Vinod, elder to me by four years, was a skinny child and I was a nice round healthy kid. So Ammamma would take ghee in a spoon, sprinkle it with sugar to make it attractive and chase Vinod to eat it. Most of the time he would run away and I would be right behind her, ever ready to gobble the yummy spoon of ghee! 🙂

– My favorite things were the trip to Tiruvilwamala downtown (Chungam) with Chinammu (the maid at home at that time) with a bunch of pocket money. I would end up buying all the girly things like dolls and bangles and fancy necklaces and paint.

– I remember once Vinod dreamt of a snake or something of the sort and Ayyapesan- the local farmhand- had to do the thing where he holds something in his palm, murmurs something and moves it around Vinod’s head and asks him to spit into his hand after every 3 rounds. I was so sure Vinod was having too much fun doing the spitting part!

– Once I got my leg stuck in one of the window grills and cried so hard till Ammamma came and rescued me.

– My high point on some days was to go with Chinammu to the pond where she would wash the clothes and I would return with some floating plants in a little copper bowl filled with water.

– Vinod once took an adventurous trip to Palakkad and went to a toy store and bought Scotland Yard (the board game). Since we needed 3 people to play this game, anyone who visited was forced to play with us. The servants, the neighbours, the occasional visitor- no one was spared!

– I remember Ammamma’s trunk call booking process which would get her so stressed out.

– The watchman who would keep scolding us because he could not sleep while we watched some Doordarshan in the night.

– Vinod’s expedition to graduate from being the regular lantern expert to the petromax guru:) He was so fond of lighting it!

– There was a Gopalakrishnan Nair who would run errands for Ammamma. Everytime he had to go to chungam, he would spend at least 15 minutes in front of a little tiny mirror combing his hair.

– Watching Chinammu grind the dosa mavu effortlessly in the afternoons.

– Wearing mylanchee/henna on my hands… Eating chakka ….over eating chakka… Opening the old chest in the living room and looking at all the old pictures of Veliachan (our late grandfather), his clothes, his letters…. Taking out all of Amma and Uma Valiamma’s old clothes from an old suitcase and trying them on… Playing pulinkuru on the front veranda table.

– Evenings when Ammamma would bring out the lamp calling out deepam deepam and then smearing bhasmam on my forehead.

– The smell of the white sugandharaj flowers from the shrub in the corner of the front garden and many such impressions that remain etched in my mind.”

Lakshmi Menon is a software engineer based in San Francisco.

Bratty days at Vaikom

“Acceptance. Thats all what Vaikom was about. Tucked away between the Ithipuzha and Vembanad lake, little changes there. The drive from Cochin is breathtakingly beautiful. Green all around with the sun filtering through in green hue, green rays of light through the foliage! The old bridge across the Ithipuzha with luxuriant coconut palms lining the river on either side. The tiny patch of island right in the middle of the Murinjapuzha river with interlinked canals and canoes and people out on their coconut felling sprees. The tiny wayside shops with the smell of freshly fried fresh water fish. The drive has offered the same sights for so many years! The familiar feel of going home…. Country roads/ take me home/……

My earliest memories of this tiny town are about the school summer holidays when I would be packed off to my maternal grandparents’ place here. An old house surrounded by thick green vegetation, and paddy fields a little across, this became a fertile field for my imagination to run riot in my childhood days. Joined by two other cousins, we would find endless sources of inspiration and entertainment here. Since we girls were the majority, the other hapless little fellow would have to tag along and join us in our girlish games!

If it was a lucky day, ammumma would allow us to bathe in the pond where Shanta, the house help would be washing clothes. By the time we would finish, it would be mid morning and Shanta would have finished her laundry by then and hung up ammumma’s and appuppan’s mundus all white and starched crisp. During the holidays ammumma would have a nice little swing put up for us in the compound. The swing was always a centre point of most of our games. It would be the mango season then and raw green mangoes with a dash of salt and chillies and ripe golden yellow sweet ones always found eager takers in us.

So too the juicy pink chambakkas on the huge towering tree right in front of the house. Ammumma would not be totally happy with us just frolicking around all the time. So she would get us Amar Chitra Katha books from the local library and reading had to be part of the holidays. So too, much hated sessions of Maths and English taught by the college student next door! Thus we all got hooked to reading. Later on when we were much older and would be found sitting absorbed in books in various parts of the house, she often had to reprimand us saying, “this is a home, not a reading room and library!” Appuppan was a quiet person who would very stoically put up with three noisy children (the rest of us were abroad then!) running around and upsetting most of the curios in the house. At 4, every evening, Krishnan the man friday would bring the cows back to their shed from the various parts of the compound where they would be grazing. I remember one particular cow ammumma called Rambha!!! It was always an awesome sight for us, watching Krishnan mix their feed in huge bowls with a huge ladle. We would stand and watch till the cows had their fill slowly, their tails gently driving flies away! After that we would help ourselves to ammumma’s cutlery and conduct our cooking experiments using the powdery white sand. Of course we weren’t disciplined enough to put them back and she would come scurrying at dusk and dig out spoons and plates and knives shooing us away for our evening baths.

Those days in Vaikom, late evenings were dimly lit due to the voltage problem and we had to finish all our reading before that! My imagination would be a source of endless agony for me with every little corner seeming awfully spooky. We would have to gather flowers then for the evening puja, which we would do most happily. Ammumma would then sit in the front verandah and string garlands using vazhanaaru and tell us stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. She would try to teach us how to string them as well, but the flowers would only clumsily fall from between our fingers!

Once after repeated requests from us, Krishnan built us a tiny thatched hut with two rooms in the compound so we wouldn’t have to trouble our imaginations to create our own ‘house’! We were terribly excited and after thoroughly cleaning up the place and arranging some of ammumma’s cutlery in there, we proudly invited them to ‘visit’ our ‘house’ the next morning. It was to be our ‘housewarming’ ceremony. We insisted that they come in their best clothes and most obligingly they did so. We had arranged a few toffees to give our ‘guests’ and we all walked in, in our best attire. Appuppan and ammumma very kindly made some polite noises and we beamed happily. Right then an army of red ants started charging at us from all sides sending all of us scurrying out of the house in great hurry. The housewarming and the house were happily abandoned then and there and Krishnan promptly demolished the house.

A very colourful and happy memory of Vaikom is the talappolis that we girls had to participate in. Local little temples would have these little festivals which would include talappolis, or women’s procession from one temple to another to the beat of instruments and chanting. Ammumma would have prayed that she would make us participate and we would go gaily dressed in traditional pattu pavadas carrying a lamp in broken coconut kept in a plate which would have sacred rice in it along with flowers. Women would chant, occasionally come to say hello, little children would scamper about enjoying the sights and sounds of it all. Temple visits were a very integral part of our holidays. The Vaikom temple with it ancient oily stone walls and the huge compound with banyan trees and an occasional elephant were major attractions. Visits at dusk were most peaceful and we sat in the compound enjoying the breeze carrying the fragrance of agarbattis, oil and sandal paste. So also the Udayanapuram temple close by which totally captured our imagination because of the presence of peacocks there, a rare sight in Kerala. Our visits were mainly to watch them with awe, rather than to pray, and go and brag about it later in school!

The simple sight of grandmothers with their silvery white hair, content faces with sandal paste on their wrinkled foreheads, dressed simply in fresh white mundus with the smell of the sun and wind in them, going about their chores silently – something we so easily took for granted those days – is such a rarity in today’s times. Contentment too has become such a rare quality! These days we have them removed from their natural environs in such tiny villages and moved to small apartment rooms, captive in our worlds.. I guess we are the last generation to have had the luxury of a childhood close to nature and a natural world. It was pure joy to get dirty playing in the mud, not have computer games and gizmos to keep one company!

Memories of Vaikom are about all these things… A noisy, bratty, naughty childhood in the best possible setting for such qualities to prosper! Grandparents who have always been epitomes of tolerance! Cousins who’ve spent all our summer vacations with me messing up in the sand and catching fish in tiny streams, ‘running away’ from home to the nearby paddy field when someone scolded only to be caught and beaten mercilessly with flimsy sticks of eerkali from coconut leaves! And about a strong sense of security that comes from belonging, being part of a large family.

So thats Vaikom. Acceptance with a big letter A.”

Sulini Nair is a classical dancer with a flair for writing & design.

Greens & Blues at Andathode

Green was life, blue was heart but the presence of water made a mixture of it all…“The generation to come is going to miss it all”. This was the first thought I had when it was decided that my maternal grandparents would stay with us. If there is any societal tolerance and patience in me then it is gained from Andathode – place I have had my encounters with nature and different cult of people. There are just not enough words to express my attachment and memories with this place.

Let me give you a small introduction to Andathode – a place where every human being knows the other man’s bio-data blindfolded, everybody is by heart with the registration numbers of different cars moving around with the details as to which car belongs to which house, people go to towns and for purchases according to the bus timings and the list goes on and on. And how I got introduced to this place (atleast when I started recognizing places as a kid), at Altara (the closest bazaar) just ask for Gouriamma’s house and you are there. Gouriamma a good built figure and highly fashionable, my grandmother. A very able lady and smart to the toe was a small time politician. During her times she was among the few who had traveled all alone to Madras to study. Andathode is not actually my native place, its Kanzhara Mookha. It is about 10kms from Andathode. My grandmother’s family ultimately settled in Andathode.
A huge house with 8 bedrooms with attached bathrooms, long corridors, huge dining area, and my favorite place the kitchen and the storerooms. The main entrance was from the never ending lush green fields, the snake width paths and the muddy water. I should admit here I was very proud as a child to say, “this is my house and I own it”. It had a path from its backside for the cars, crossing two ponds – the public and the personal.
I was treated like the prince of the house. People who think I carry attitude that’s from there, the first child of the only child. To go further into the house I need to introduce you all to Latha and Savithiri, two of my best friends forever. They are the two people in my life I can never say a thank you for the endless joy they have given me. Latha would have been around 14-15 years of age and Savithiri around 30 years. I used to come to Andathode not to meet my grandparents but them. They used to take care of the households. I wanted to do all that they did from sweeping the floor to fetching water from the well to washing cloths in the pond and everything. They are the people who have inspired me to put down these words of my childhood. Today when I see them with their kids I am jealous. I used to wake – up very early in the morning it being my holidays; I loved the mornings in here. I wished for longer days. The morning dew, the prayers, the temple bells and the black coffee specially made by my grandfather. A handsome looking grandfather with all that talent I wish I had got myself indulged in. He is a good cook, a great tailor, my first driving lessons teacher… an electrical personnel by profession. What used to wake me up early was the sound created by the brooms sweeping the grounds around the house. The stick brooms gave me the signal Latha and Savithiri are in. My first task of the day would be to pluck flowers for the pooja with Latha. Next were the most exciting adventures of my childhood, run across the field to get milk. The steel containers with a noisy handle used to be my responsibility as Latha had to carry me to run across as I was too small to catch up her speed. Some days she plans to skip me as an option to carry but that was too difficult a task as I would be ready to run behind her and jump onto her. I don’t know what kept me so alive those days, these days are too sad. I think I calculate too much. I would hardly be seen in the front side, backside was my territory. A swing tied up by Sukamaran uncle the man Friday. He was the bodyguard as well as the local newspaper for my grandparents. The easy entrance to the kitchen where I could enter anytime increase the fire by inserting more wood and disturb the preparations that was fun. Helping to fry papads. The silent afternoons when everybody is fast asleep but I am up to exploring the house. Then and now I have a fetish towards antique articles, I just love to have them around me. And this house was a real khazana.

A month of just laying around, too much time to sleep, play, eat mangoes, suck mangoes, to cycle Sukamaran uncle’s cycle which had a headlight. And how can I forget the exciting and wonderful stay of two days at Guruvayoor. I don’t know how much people would believe this but the nights in Guruvayoor have something special in them. The evening shopping of cheap finger rings, variety of one-day useable toys, the decorated elephant figures, all similarly decorated shops with similar articles for sale. What has put strong impressions is the loud traditional music even in the nights and yes the elephant processions. I love Guruvayoor for just its night vision. Even today when I write about Guruvayoor I can smell the place, the only lodging (Nanmini), the only restaurant (Sri Krishna Bhavan). They were all family friends; the closeness still twinkles in each of our eyes.
The last ever question I asked my parents as a child with the ultimate innocence was a month ago; will Andathode get alive again? Will Latha and Savithiri still work for us? Will the paddy fields turn green again? Will the storerooms get filled with mangoes? And last will I be going back to my childhood? I end this note with a special mention of my parents – a pair of human beings who made it possible for me to see and experience all that is above. And not to forget my little sister who once in this world shared all that I had and respects the same. This is just the maternal part of my life, the paternal side is another book, do wait for it and you would realize how different the two worlds are but still they co-exist.

Arvind Ashok Kumar

Arvind Ashok Kumar lives in Mumbai and works in the art  & design area of filmmaking.

Poppins at Chandrettan’s Peedika

“I don’t write much these days, but I want to write more.”

http://chall-dhanno.blogspot.com

“Anyone for Poppins Muttai? I picked up two stacks of it which have multiple tastes and multiple colors. mmmm Yummie. And finally when I crush it on my teeth..oooosh a mix of salty sugary taste. I am on Cloud Nine. Wonder what it costs Rs 2 only still over the years.

School Days..
Mummy would pack me to Chandrettan’s Peedika(shop) to buy groceries and vegetables. Chandrettan gives a bill, so I need to reproduce it at home. Bug the Veggie guy won’t. Somewhere I would adjust to get in a Rs 2 so that the 1 Kg Tomato or a 500g beans would cost 2 rupees more or 1 each 🙂
And on way back from Kittettan’s Shop I would get the poppins, then I would take a longer route, to finish the whole stack so that poppins is history before I reach home.
Mummy after collecting the bills and tallying would say , with a deep sigh, “Thakkalikokke Ingane Vila Koodiyaal Entha Cheyya” (What will happen if prices go high). I will rush to wash my mouth to remove the colors of poppins on my toungue.

One more stack to finish, still tastes the same.

Parle Poppins!!”

Dhanush Gopinath is a software engineer based in Bangalore. Find his photo blog on http://pintspics.blogspot.com/

ഹോട്ടലാണെന്ന് കരുതി ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പില്‍..

സ്കൂളില്‍ പഠിക്കുന്ന കാലത്തെ എന്റെ ഏറ്റവും നല്ല ഓര്‍മ്മകളില്‍ ഒന്നാണ് മുടിവെട്ടാന്‍ പോക്ക്. ഞാന്‍ താമസിക്കുന്ന വടകര ടൌണില്‍ നിന്നും 5 കി.മി. ദൂരെയുള്ള അച്ഛന്റെ തറവാട് വീടിനടുത്തുള്ള രാഘവേട്ടന്റെ ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പിലാണ് അന്ന് സ്ഥിരമായി മുടി വെട്ടിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരുന്നത്. ഇത്രയും ദൂരം പോകാന്‍ കാരണം മറ്റൊന്നുമല്ല. ഒന്ന്, രാഘവേട്ടന്റെ കടയില്‍ ചെന്നാല്‍ എല്ലാം എനിക്ക് പരിചിതമാണ്. എങ്ങെനെ മുടിവെട്ടണം എന്നതിനെ കുറിച്ച് നമ്മള്‍ ടെന്‍ഷന്‍ അടിക്കണ്ട. ഒക്കെ പുള്ളി ചെയ്തു കൊള്ളും. മറ്റൊന്ന്, അവിടെ വരെ എനിക്ക് സൈക്കിള്‍ ഓട്ടാം എന്നത് തന്നെ. അതിന് ശേഷം തറവാട്ടില്‍ പോകാം, വേണമെങ്കില്‍ അവിടെ തങ്ങാം.

രാഘവേട്ടന്‍ എന്നെ വളരെയധികം സ്വാധീനിച്ച വ്യക്തിയാണ്. പുള്ളിയെ ഞാന്‍ എന്റെ 2-3 കഥകളില്‍ ക്യാരക്ടര്‍ ആക്കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. അതു കൊണ്ട് തന്നെ ആ ഓര്‍മ്മകള്‍ അത്ര പെട്ടന്നൊന്നും വിട്ടു പോകില്ല. രാഘവേട്ടന്‍ ആയിരുന്നു കുരിക്കിലാടിന്റെ ആസ്ഥാന ബാര്‍ബര്‍. ഇന്നും അതിനു മാറ്റമൊന്നുമില്ല. എന്റെ അച്ഛാച്ഛനും ഇളയച്ഛന്മാരും മുതല്‍ ഞങ്ങളുടെ കുടും‌ബത്തിലെ ഇളം തലമുറക്കാര്‍ വരെ അവിടെയായിരുന്നു ഒരു കാലത്ത് മുടിവെട്ടിച്ചിരുന്നത്. പുള്ളിയുടെ കടയ്ക്ക് ഒരിക്കലും പേരിട്ടിരുന്നില്ല. “ഏട്ന്നാടോ മുടിവെട്ടിച്ചെ” എന്നു ചോദിച്ചാല്‍ “രാഘവന്റെ ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പില്‍” എന്നല്ലാതെ, അന്ന് ആരും പറയില്ല.

കുരിക്കിലാട് ഗ്രാമകേന്ദ്രത്തില്‍ വായനശാലയുടെ അടുത്തായി ചോറോട് സര്‍വീസ് സഹകരണ ബാങ്കിന്റെ കെട്ടിടത്തില്‍ താഴത്തെ നിലയിലാണ് രാഘവേട്ടന്റെ ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പ്. തൊട്ടടുത്ത് അനന്തേട്ടന്റെ വളം കടയും അപ്പുറത്ത് വാസുവിന്റെ ചായപ്പീടികയും. കൂട്ടത്തില്‍ ആ ചെറിയ വരാന്തയില്‍ കേളുവേട്ടന്റെ തുന്നല്‍ മെഷീനും. കെട്ടിടത്തിനെ അങ്ങേയറ്റം പോസ്റ്റാപ്പീസ്സ് ആണ്. കുരിക്കിലാട് പി. ഓ. 673104.

അന്ന് ആകെയുള്ള ഹെയര്‍ സ്റ്റയിലുകള്‍ ക്രോപ്പും, ബച്ചന്‍ കട്ടുമാണ്. ക്രോപ്പ് എന്നാല്‍ സാധാരണയിലും വലുതായ നമ്മുടെ മുടി നന്നെ പറ്റെയായി വെട്ടിച്ചു തരും പുള്ളി. ബച്ചന്‍ കട്ട് എന്നാല്‍ പഴയ അമിതാഭ് ബച്ചന്‍ സിനിമകളിലെ പോലെ ചെവി മൂടികൊണ്ട് വെട്ടി തരും. അച്ഛന്റെ തല്ല് പേടിച്ച് ഞാനൊരിക്കലും ബച്ചന്‍ കട്ട് ചെയ്തിട്ടില്ല. ട്രിമ്മറും മെഷീന്‍ കട്ടുമൊന്നും അന്നൊന്നും വന്നിട്ടെയില്ല. എല്ലാ രസങ്ങളുമുള്ള ഒരു തനി നാടന്‍ ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പ്. അവിടെ ചില സമയങ്ങളില്‍ സംസാരിക്കാത്ത വിഷയങ്ങളില്ല. രാഷ്ട്രീയം, സിനിമ, കുരിക്കിലാട് നടക്കുന്ന ദൈനംദിന കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ എന്നങ്ങിനെ എന്തെല്ലാം. വിഷയദാരിദ്ര്യം എന്ന ഒന്ന് ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നതേയില്ല എന്ന് വേണം പറയാന്‍. അവിടെ എല്ലാര്‍ക്കും എല്ലാരെയും അറിയാമായിരുന്നു. ഇതൊക്കെ തന്നെയാണ് എന്നെ വീണ്ടും വീണ്ടും അവിടേക്ക് പോകാനും പ്രേരിപ്പിച്ചിരുന്നത്.

പത്താം ക്ലാസ് വരെയെ നീണ്ടുള്ളൂ അവിടത്തെ മുടിവെട്ട്. പിന്നെ പഠിപ്പിനനുസരിച്ച് അതാത് സ്ഥലങ്ങളില്‍ നിന്നായി അത്. തൃശൂരില്‍ പഠിക്കുമ്പോഴാണ് ആദ്യമായും അവസാനമായും തല മൊട്ടയടിച്ചത്. ഞങ്ങള്‍ മൂന്നു പേര്‍, ബാബുരാജ്, സന്ദീപ് ഞാന്‍ എന്നിവരാണ് അന്ന് ആ സാഹസത്തിനു മുതിര്‍ന്നത്. അതിന് അമ്മയുടെ അടുത്ത് നിന്ന് കണക്കിന് ചീത്തയും കേട്ടു. പിന്നെ തിരിച്ച് വടകരയില്‍ വന്ന ശേഷം വീണ്ടും എപ്പൊഴോ രാഘവേട്ടനെ അടുത്ത് പോയി. അപ്പോഴേക്കും അച്ഛാച്ഛന്‍ മരിച്ചിരുന്നു. അച്ഛമ്മ ഞങ്ങളുടെ കൂടെ ടൌണിലേക്കും മാറി. പിന്നെ പിന്നെ ജോലിത്തിരക്കു കാരണം മിക്കവാറും വടകരയില്‍ നിന്നാക്കി മുടിവെട്ട്.

ബിന്ദു ഹെയര്‍ സലൂണ്‍. കോണ്‍‌വെന്റ് റോഡില്‍ ഗിഫ്റ്റ് ഹൌസിനടുത്തായിട്ടാണ് ആ ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പ്. അവിടുത്തെ ആളെ ഞാന്‍ ഒരിക്കലും പരിചയപ്പെട്ടിട്ടില്ല. ആളുകള്‍ മാറി മാറി കൊണ്ടിരുന്നു. എന്നാലും താടിയുള്ള ഒരാള്‍ സ്ഥിരമായി ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. അയാളുടെതായിരിക്കും ബിന്ദു ഹെയര്‍ സലൂണ്‍ എന്ന് ഞാന്‍ ഇന്നും വിശ്വസിക്കുന്നു.

ഐ.ടി. ജോലി കിട്ടി ബോംബേയിലെത്തിയപ്പോള്‍ നേരിട്ട വെല്ലുവിളികളില്‍ ഒന്നായിരുന്നു മുടി എങ്ങനെ വെട്ടും എന്നത്. സഹപ്രവര്‍ത്തകനായ നിതിന്‍ എന്ന ഹിന്ദിക്കാരന്‍ പയ്യന്‍ ആണ് ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഹിന്ദിയില്‍ “നായീ“ ആണെന്നും ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പ് “നായി കി ദൂക്കാന്‍“ ആണെന്നും പറഞ്ഞു തന്നത്. ആ നല്ല മനസ്സിനു നന്ദി. ഞങ്ങളുടെ ഫ്ലാറ്റിന്റെ തൊട്ടടുത്തുള്ള ഗലിയില്‍ ഒരു ഇടുങ്ങിയ നായീ കി ദൂക്കാന്‍ ഞാന്‍ കണ്ടു പിടിച്ചു. കണ്ണഞ്ചിപ്പിക്കുന്ന വൈദ്യുതി വിളക്കുകളും ഒന്നിലധികം കണ്ണടിച്ചില്ലുകളുമുള്ള ഒരു ബോംബെ സ്റ്റയില്‍ ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പ്. അറിയാവുന്ന മുറി ഹിന്ദിയില്‍ എങ്ങനെ വെട്ടണമെന്ന് അവനെ പറഞ്ഞ് പഠിപ്പിച്ചു. അയാള്‍ ഉഷാറായി വെട്ടിത്തന്നു.

മുടിവെട്ടൊക്കെ കഴിഞ്ഞ് അവന്‍ അവന്റെ കൈകള്‍ കൊണ്ട് എന്റെ തലയില്‍ കെടന്ന് എന്തൊക്കെയോ കാട്ടി കൂട്ടാന്‍ തുടങ്ങി. അവന്റെ നീണ്ട വിരലുകള്‍ കൊണ്ട് തലയില്‍ നല്ലവണ്ണം ഉഴിഞ്ഞു. പേടിച്ച ഞാന്‍ ഞെട്ടിയെണീറ്റു സംഭവം നിര്‍ത്തിച്ചു. മാലീശ് മാലീശ് എന്ന് എന്തൊക്കെയോ അവന്‍ പറഞ്ഞെങ്കിലും കാശും കൊടുത്ത് ഞാന്‍ അവിടെ നിന്നിറങ്ങി. പിന്നീടവിടെ പോയില്ല. നിതിന്‍ തന്നെയാണ് മാലീശ് തല ഉഴിച്ചിലാണെന്നും അവിടങ്ങളില്‍ മുടിവെട്ടി കഴിഞ്ഞാല്‍ അതൊരു സാധാരണ സംഭവമാണെന്നും പറഞ്ഞു തന്നത്. എണ്ണയൊക്കെ ഒഴിച്ച് ചെയ്യുന്നത് നല്ല സുഖമുള്ള കാര്യമാണെന്നും അവന്‍ പറഞ്ഞു. എന്റെ തലയോട്ടി പോട്ടുമോ എന്നുള്ള പേടിയാല്‍ ഇന്നും ഞാന്‍ അതിനു നിന്നിട്ടില്ല. എന്തായാലും അതിനു ശേഷം മാലിശ് നഹി നഹി എന്ന് ആദ്യമേ പറഞ്ഞുറപ്പിച്ചിട്ടെ ഞാന്‍ കസേരയില്‍ കയറി ഇരിക്കുമായിരുന്നുള്ളൂ. ഇന്ന് ഇവിടെയും അതാവര്‍ത്തിക്കുന്നു.

വളരെ നാളുകള്‍ക്കു ശേഷം ഈയടുത്താണ് ഞാന്‍ വീണ്ടും ബിന്ദു ഹെയര്‍ സലൂണില്‍ പോയത്. ചെന്നു കയറിയപ്പോള്‍ രണ്ട് കസേരകളിലും ആളുകള്‍ ഉണ്ട്. മുടിവെട്ടുന്നയാള്‍ എന്നോട് ഇരിക്കാന്‍ ആംഗ്യം കാണിച്ചു. അയാളെയും കൂടെ നിന്ന് വെട്ടുന്ന ആളെ കണ്ടപ്പോഴെക്കും‌ എന്തോ ഒരു പന്തികേട് തോന്നി. അവര്‍ മലയാളികള്‍ ആണോ എന്ന് ഞാന്‍ സംശയിച്ചു. വേഷം ഇറുകിയ ഷര്‍ട്ടും ജീന്‍സുമായിരുന്നു. താടിയുള്ള ഓണര്‍ എന്ന് ഞാന്‍ വിചാരിച്ചിരുന്ന ആളെ ആ പരിസരത്തെങ്ങും കണ്ടില്ല.

ഒടുവില്‍ കാത്തിരുന്ന് എന്റെ ഊഴമായി. മുടിവെട്ടെണ്ടതെങ്ങനെയാണെന്ന് മലയാളത്തില്‍ പറഞ്ഞു കൊടുത്തപ്പോള്‍ അയാള്‍ അന്തം വിട്ടു നിന്നു. എന്നിട്ട് ചോദിച്ചു -“കൈസെ കാട്ട്നാ ഹെ സാബ്?”

ഇത്തവണ ഞെട്ടിയതും അന്തം വിട്ടതും ഞാനാണ്. കേരളത്തിലെ വടകര എന്ന ടൌണിലെ ഒരു ബാര്‍ബര്‍ ഷാപ്പില്‍ മുടിവെട്ടാന്‍ വന്നിരിക്കുന്നത് വടക്കേതോ സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ ഒരു മനുഷ്യന്‍. നമ്മുടെ നാട് മറ്റുള്ളവര്‍ക്ക് ഗള്‍ഫ് ആവുകയാണെന്ന സത്യം ഞാന്‍ മനസ്സിലാക്കി. മുമ്പ് കളമശ്ശേരിയില്‍ “ഇപ്പോള്‍ ഹിന്ദി മാത്രമേ കേള്‍കുന്നുവുള്ളു“ എന്നു അഭി പറഞ്ഞത് ഞാനൊരിക്കലും വിശ്വസിച്ചിരുന്നില്ല. ഇപ്പോഴാണ് അത് അസംഭവ്യമല്ല എന്നു ഞാന്‍ മനസിലാക്കിയത്.

എന്തൊക്കെയായാല്ലും ഞാന്‍ എന്റെ മുറി ഹിന്ദിയില്‍ കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ വിശദീകരിച്ചു കൊടുത്തതിനനുസരിച്ച് കക്ഷി നല്ല ക്ലീനായി മുടിവെട്ടി തന്നു. ഇട്യ്ക്കിടയ്ക്ക് അടുത്ത് നിന്ന് മുടിവെട്ടുന്നവനോട് ഹിന്ദിയില്‍ സംസാരിക്കുന്നുമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. എന്റെ മുടിവെട്ടല്‍ കഴിയാനായപ്പോള്‍ അടുത്ത കസേരയില്‍ ഒരു പ്രായം ചെന്ന മനുഷ്യന്‍ വന്നിരുന്നു. നല്ല വടേര* ഭാഷയില്‍ പുള്ളി താടി വടിക്കുന്നതിനേയും മുടിവെട്ടുന്നതിനേയും പറ്റി പറഞ്ഞ് കൊടുത്തു. മുടിവെട്ടുന്നവന്‍ എല്ലാം കേട്ട് തലയാട്ടി നില്‍ക്കുന്നുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. മനസ്സിലായോ എന്തോ. ഒരു പക്ഷേ മനസ്സിലായിക്കാണണം. അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ പിടിച്ചു നില്‍ക്കാന്‍ പറ്റില്ലല്ലോ. “മുടി പറ്റിച്ചാളാ” എന്നോ മറ്റോ അയാള്‍ പറഞ്ഞാല്‍, ഇനി അവന്‍ അറിയാകുന്ന മലയാളത്തില്‍ മുടിയെ എങ്ങനെയാ പറ്റിക്കുക എന്ന് ആലോച്ചിച്ചു നില്‍ക്കുന്നുണ്ടാകുമോ ആ പാവം?

*വടേര – വടകരയെ ഞങ്ങള്‍ വടകരക്കാര്‍ പറയുന്നത്.

Dhanush Gopinath is a software engineer and avid blogger  based in Bangalore.

His writing can be read on :

http://kiniyum-eeran-thushaaram.blogspot.com/

Those folios of transition…

The memories and happenings in life are like the sand in a beach. Its infinite. It comes and goes with the waves. Sometimes some linger on, changing hands, changing forms. A handful is all what my little hands could collect…and I present a day from my album of vision for a nostalgic remembrance.

http://rejoiceme.blogspot.com/2007/08/those-folios-of-transition.html

Gazing through the misty morning’s impressions of rain, reminiscing the days of yore, my shoes kissed the cemented platforms of Vadakara railway station. A Beedi (hand rolled cigarette) stub lay quarter burned and doused by yesterday’s rain. Some traveler would have thrown it in his haste to board. Memories reinvented or did the Beedi rekindle it? Symbolization of a mass movement of the communist prowess of the early 1960’s. AKG holding forte for the enactment of a national law for the protection of cigar and beedi workers in 1966, making Kerala Dinesh Beedi(KDB) the fourth largest beedi firm in India today.

Graying memory searched for the hot brewing cup of tea. The artistic ease with which the 60 year old Kanarettan, used to pour it back and forth from the mug to my glass. Never a drop spilled. “Perfect!!!” I used to compliment him in English. My eyes searched the locale, for no sign existed of a tea stall. On the steps of the nearby shop was squatting an octogenarian. His droopy face obstructing my question to come forth. The puff of smoke rose intermittently above his baldness. His gaze now questioned my stand. His answer was cold. Kanarettan is no more.

My gaze wandered in the loneliness around him. My ears echoed the thumping sound of his tea-glass on the wooden table. It’s only after that I used to sip the brownish hot liquid. The morning gossip of how the government should be run between the sipping mouthfuls of tea and more were vacuous.

I thanked the old man, who had already opened his packet of Beedi for a better puff. The lighter was a coir rope hanging near, its tip burning slowly to a certain death. He rose with the definite difficulty of senile decay, evident from the dragging gait of imperfection. I dare didn’t advice. Every individual needs a reason to die. Some find on their own, someone else is gifted. Deep inside a corner of my pocket lay the 2 rupee coin, worthless today for the tea will never taste the same again.

Only the STD counters had opened shop. The red and yellow ISD on the dangling boards pronounced the reach of the Malayali ‘conglomerate’ to every corner of the globe. The engines of the private buses were already raring for a speed trial. Empty morning = A comfortable seat. In B & W script – Ladies only. Feminism ruling the roost. But they know not that gender inequalities are mocking convincingly at me. Will we change? Isn’t it time for another revolution!!! Who cares? Questions knocked my mind. The cold air was dancing duets with my hair. I get down at the bus shelter. It reads – In memory of the Koothuparamba martyrs. Carved in cement are the letters I yearn to read. DYFI – Democratic youth federation of India. The youth organization of Communist Party Of India (Marxist) found in 1980. A reminder of the long and chequered history of student activism and struggle in Kerala. Comrades, I salute you. The world survives on martyrs. “Jesus Christ being an authentic communist, anti-imperialist, enemy of the oligarchy” -Quoting Hugo Chavez. The first martyr – quotes my thoughts. 

My countryside. Not a speck of tar. Red soil. Enough of rain to seep. My bladder urges to take the liberty of open air urination. Gals please excuse. Don’t be jealous of my freedom. It’s a boyzone. The dew-wet grass smokes as the freshness of warm drops bathe the leaves. Alarm to wake up for a new dawn. But the touch-me-nots shy away in silence. Zippers in. Home welcomes me, fern filled and slippery. Dry leaves spread lavishly as a cushion for the rain. Does the house face the ignominy of being forgotten? Our urban lives are taking the toll. Yet my Malayali soul yearns for another independent villa. I left for my aunt’s house. Nostalgia followed me here like a faithful dog. Let me brush. Colgate toothpaste. The stand-up tube remains synonymous with the early cock-crows of yesteryears, of the days as a kid and more. I used to wonder. Why are all the thrown away tubes in two pieces? Grandma put the brush inside a half section and an elegant twist. The whole paste kissed the bristles and came out white. Now I realize the value for money. Uncle complaints, “The plastic tubes of today are not fully filled. Air reduces the weight.” I leave no room for debate. The easiest way being silent.

Brushing finished…. I search my bag frantically for the tongue cleaner made of steel. It’s missing as usual. Forgotten. Back to nature. The midrib of a specific part of the coconut palm did the magic again. How skillfully did my uncle split it making a perfect use-&-throw double-tongue cleaner!!! Mythology too had the analogy in my maddening world of ideas. Equated my uncle to Bhima and the midrib to Jarasandha. Split open to an assured death.

Breakfast is ready. Appam and stew. Mind meanders. Those breezy evenings used to bring a cycle bell ringing. Chandran – The toddy-taper. Cuter, childish & fair like the toddy. He hands over a glass of toddy. I sip a little out of curiosity. Tasting sweet!!! So now I too can proclaim after the vacation- “I too have boozed”. An insurmountable achievement among the 4 th standard guys. But what was toddy really for? It acts as natural yeast added for the fluffiness in the delicacy called Appam in Kerala. What was it this time? My aunty too has gone Yeast, when everyone else is heading west. No more cycle bells. Chandran has left for the hidden fortune in gulf. The dream abode of Malayalis. He said he never found a treasure atop the coconut palm.

Knock on the door at 9am. A man draped in a brilliantly orange hue below his waist. Tied so stylishly around, the muscular legs tend to shiver in might. The huge moustache adding glamour to the chocolate-brown skin he is gifted. The sharpest of his knifes kissed his buttocks, yet a smile adorned his face. That’s Kumarettan. The coconut-climber. The ease of his task leaves me gaping as always. How do his legs grip the palm with a single piece of coir? Magnificent sight he must be having at the top. I go green. I dream. I forget it only when my tongue is pricked with the fizz of a tender coconut. The pyramidal top of the cut coconut. Craft indeed. He leaves taking his due & two coconuts. I tried climbing once. The failure was in getting down. Beaten black and blue – end to an ode. Now no more Kumarettan comes. Coconuts fall at the mercy of God. Some lucky passer by collects it. Its all coke and Maaza to quench my thirst.

My thoughts wandered like the lovely clouds. Those days when as a kid, I dreamt of a moustache. The ladybirds’ inquisitiveness to know who the city-kid tucked in pants and belt is!!! Reflected clear from the questioning eyes. My eyes felt shy and proud together, all bottled a kid head. I was alien to the world of colloquies in Badagara. Now I had a handicap to select an answer about my identity. Should it be in my dad’s name or the house name? My heart pumped ‘lubb-dubb’ every second. Sweat streaked my little forehead. The little hairs as young as my hands too get drenched cold. Finally I juggle my response and walk off by the canal side. Escaped. Now none asks. None cares. Effects of globalization?? I shrug it off as another odd joke.

Yet summer did have inviting glances at me. The small trucks that roared in the silence of the mornings. Empty bellied ones returning with truck loads of mangoes. It grumbled less in the evenings or did I feel so? Now one solitary tree remains. As souls departed from the indoors to a heavenly abode, the huge mangifera trees were taken for the pyre. May the souls rest in peace. This time I noticed the smaller saps have grown handsome & broader. For me and my loves ones. An inner voice whispered. Life is like that. A cycle of life and death. Merciless at times.

Evenings were fertile. Pazhampori (banana-fry) & kalathappam (type of cake) spread on the table. All home made by grandma. And today lures my buds with the bakery spread. They know not that it’s for the small village leisure’s and pleasures of yesteryears that I turned to wander-lust.
Those days of voltage drop by twilight taught me the skeleton of a bulb. The filaments in different hues, shapes and figures. A beauty so beautiful. Now none admires a bulb, for tubes & CFL’s have replaced the days of low voltage. My thoughts drift again. The suicidal flies that took wing around the bulb and were engulfed by the lit lantern. How will they have a reason to die now? Senile decay even for those who had a charming death in my vision. Longer life. That’s the positive outlook. The pitter patter has lost the freedom to cascade, yet the rains remain a vociferous spectator. Tiles and thatches finding roof as a possession of the deprived. The night gossips have ceased to exist. Television has taken the waterfalls to a trickle. Everyone glued like the Fevicol ad. Females married off. Older people called back to the pavilion. Some sudden deaths too… and the rest into a cocoon of their own. We have grown in size of our selfishness. The hearts have shrunk. Lives have changed. Time has its mutants. Transition.

Rejil Krishnan


Rejil Krishnan is an IT professional based in Goa and an avid blogger

Habitats to Homes – a story

Just felt nostalgic after reading your blog and thought to share a couple of the posts I wrote. Now, time doesn’t permit, but still, will write more..

http://rejoiceme.blogspot.com/2008/03/habitats-to-homes.html

Appu looked through his plastic aquarium. Finger sized fish swam in the transparent waters. Silver strips glistened at every swift manoeuvre.

Continuous days of June rains. Earth quenched her thirst. Then the streams took birth. Muddy brown water over-spilled and meandered, clearing paths for its own progress. Now was the turn of nature’s spring to take charge. Pellucid and with them came uninvited guests of a different genre. It was Appu’s favourite pastime to venture into those unchartered waters. Sometimes with Amma’s consent and mostly by evading her constant gaze.

Today again he ran down the cemented steps, forgetting in the hurry, his habit of counting the number of steps. Before mom came searching, the little fisherman had to populate his marine museum with five more of the little fish or fishes. He decided to try all mathematics while going back, two steps at a time, or to try even three by stretching his little legs to the maximum. His tiny body stooped enough to concentrate, lest his catch went missing. Magic stroke of luck and his heart leapt. There in the corner of the stream swam in attentive assembly a shoal of little fish, a young breed like him. Playfully some hid behind the submerged and dancing blades of grass; some turned around and the rest swam behind. Almost motionless he rested the polythene bag of water on the wall of wet earth. Appu had mastered arresting the school of fish. Every step as casual, but more careful, his breath unprepared to disturb the air, even the ripples found it difficult to get stirred. Silence of death prevailed, a ghost he inspired. The closer his steps, the more he forgot his surroundings. It was drizzling slightly. The little legs in one flash posed a footballer about to take a free-kick.

“ Apppuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…”- The shrill angry call swept him off his feet. Appu slipped and fell. The cutie buttocks hiding in the small trousers were wet. A visibly frightened Appu looked behind.

“ Who told you to come out in the rain?” – Divyechi stood stern in a questioning pose. Sky-blue skirt and white blouse as uniform, School bag in one shoulder, holding an open umbrella she came closer and pinched his ear lobes. Appu’s face twitched as if his tongue tasted something vinegary.

“ Hahahaha…” he heard the giggle and looked atop the mud walls. At the edge, stood Chakkara, his naughty neighbour, with a small umbrella in her shoulders, head posed to a side and clapping her hands in joy. The girl who always poked her nose in the unwelcome had shed water once again to all his plans. His archrival, she liked him getting punished. Appu read what traversed in between. Divyechi while returning from her convent was directed by Chakkara to his mischief.

He bore the ignominy since the only chances of escaping Amma’s daily reward was to plead Divyechi.

“ Get all the rain in your head and catch a cold…” – Divyechi murmured on and on while drying a naked Appu.

“ Echi (sister), don’t tell Amma, please” – He whispered reluctantly.

“ Let me see” – She was too demanding. Appu’s lips went in a half crescent grimace behind her.

“ Please Echi, I won’t go out in rain again, promise” – Promise was added to every sentence, a newfound term after last academic year’s progress.

“ In that case, OK” – Echi agreed.

Wrapped in the pink towel, he marched ahead.

“ Why did u take bath now?” – Amma came from nowhere and questioned.

Before Appu opened his box of lies, Divyechi interfered “ He slipped in the courtyard”

What a sign of relief he had. A naughty smile decorated him. One eye briefly closed and opened, he acknowledged the lie, another of the impish learning from the third standard. Divyechi smiled at Appu’s genuine innocence.

He planned to avenge the treatment and decided to pay Chakkara in full. He thought, his blood still boiling. I’ll dig a trench, make her run the way and she will fall. Appu laughed at the smartness of his ideas. Clever boy!!! He patted himself with the comment Lathika teacher used to confer for his marks in Maths.

Rain steered clear and Appu reinvented the plans to fish hunt.

Stepping into the stream like a cat, his vigilant eyes were ready to battle any adversity. In a split second he splashed a sheet of silvery water. Along with it lay on the side a handful of little fish. Struggling to adjust to the new conditions, they fought for breath. Appu ran and carefully palmed one by one and dropped in the mobile aquarium. Though within a freedom curtailed boundary, lucky enough to get their breath back, they swam open eyed and confused. Appu imagined them as searching their parents and friends; still his selfish heart didn’t long to let them free. He loved their fins and the manner they took breath in and out. There were nights when he woke to see how his little fish slept, but they never did. Appu concluded this for their melancholy minus their loved ones.

When the total population reached ten, the fish found it difficult to swim in the packed contours and fortunately Appu understood it. Summer vacations came to an eventful end by June end. Set to join fourth standard in yet another big city, his heart longed not to lose his precious collect. The impossibility of Achan (Dad) allowing fish in the suitcase looming large, Appu was upset. Tears brimmed the contours of those black lashes.

“ Appu, why are you crying?” A soft tone rang like the cold breeze of the sultry summer afternoon. Chakkara came closer and sat beside him.

Hearing his woe she smiled and said – “ Don’t you worry Appu, leave them in our well, they will have more space to swim and every year when you are here you can see how big they have grown.”

“ Ohhh, wow!!” exclamations upon exclamations studded the fluffiness that Appu felt deep inside. His wide-open eyes, for the first time looked at Chakkara in admiration. Days of pent up anger melted at the breakthrough idea.

Unable to contain the excitement he ran, took the self-designed aquarium, looked through as he always used to, but now for the final time and poured the contents into the tumbler. He requested Divyechi to lower the tumbler with his fish friends into the well. Appu and Chakkara leaned hard to see the tumbler hitting the water softly. Into their new home, a freer place the tiny fish could grow better, start life afresh; rear a school of fish and ultimately a big population. Appu’s mind crossed the boundary of imaginations. He foresaw the subsequent trips, where the fish grew as big as what ‘Salim mappila’ got them everyday to fry, but he was firm never to allow his fish into the frying pan. They would be his friends, thanking his Chakkara for the new life. He couldn’t find the tiny silver streaks anymore; still he felt their happiness knocking at his heart.

The fishes have grown, so has Appu, and a happily married Chakkara. Her kids play outside the silver painted gate, with permission, and without any steps to count. The tiny fishes swim ready to flow to the paddy fields. The kids have but a novel idea. Appu Maman’s white banyan cloth as a sieve as well as to see the fish clear, ‘Kunju’ held one side of the cloth and ‘Thenu’ the other. Both moved in the shallow waters like a four-legged monster.

“ Lift it” – Kunju shouted and Thenu did. Five tiny fishes struggled and Appu reclined in the armchair remembering the bygone days. 17 years shifted like a single shuffle of cards. His fishes big and dark enough haven’t lost the silver streak. Visible to the naked eye, they shy away to their own secret crevices, cursing him or blessing Chakkara, he never can contemplate.

“ Appu-mamma…, how tiny and beautiful they look, isn’t?”

“ Beautiful catch!!!” – He nodded along in appreciation, “ who caught it?”

Kunju took the credits and Appu saw his past reflecting through the transparencies. Silver strips glistened at every swift manoeuvre….

Rejil Krishnan

Rejil Krishnan is an IT professional based in Goa and an avid blogger.

Sapna Anu B George’s manjadi – Another 24th

Days go past us with winds of season,
Never gone past the days and years
Get stuck in some ear and age
That engulf us like mirage in deserts.

One such mirage , my Dad’ ,
Always in front of me,waiting for me,
Yet i never reach there in time be near,
So close to me yet so far away.

Never did he forsake me,in life
Never for moments,never for a day,
Always beside me when i needed the most,
A Dear friend,a true companion,a great dad.

He suggested,the best books for me to read
But never pushed them into my hands,
A mere suggestion about the inputs
Next thing i know,i have my hands full.

He sang tune’s that’s soothing,melodious,
But never forced me to listen those songs,
A suggestion about the notes in them,
Passion for music began with his notes.

His acquaintances,colleagues becomes friends,
Value of friends in life is enormous’ his cue,
Friends are like cool breeze in mornings,
Surround life with them’  and  I have endless no’s.

Life has ups and downs,but never fear them,
Face them and find solutions for them,
Life is too small for us to sit and fear,
So i tried, yet fear engulfed me.

He came back into my life in many forms,
Beating death, faced me through many  face’s,
As friends,note of music,verses from books
He never left me and my life, my Dad.

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Sapna Anu B George http://www.sapnageorge.com/

“Acceptance is your prerogative;being accepted is my wish.” I am like anyone you meet,across the street,down the lane,a normal, average person.I am a wife and a mother, about which I am proud of. Born in a family in Kottayam in Kerala. A Freelance Journalist,who possesses the attitude to approach every intricate topic with the ‘End in Mind’ has touch of taste too. ഞാന്‍ സപ്ന,സ്വദേശം കോട്ടയം,ആദ്യം ഖാത്തറില്‍ ,ഇന്ന് മസ്കറ്റില്‍ ,മണല്‍ക്കാറ്റും,പൊടിയും,മിനറല്‍വാട്ടറും, ജീവിത്തത്തിന്റെ ഭാഗം.പ്രവാസജിവിതം ജീവിച്ച്‌ 25വര്‍ഷം കടന്നുപോയി.എനിക്കുചുറ്റും നടക്കുന്ന സംഭവങ്ങളെയും,പരിചയപ്പെട്ട വ്യക്തികളുടെ വിശേഷങ്ങളും,വിവരണങ്ങളും സ്വരുക്കൂട്ടി മനസ്സില്‍ തോന്നിച്ച ഏടുകള്‍ എഴുതുകയാണ്‌.എന്റെ മനസ്സിന്റെ പക്ഷത്തുനിന്നുകൊണ്ട്‌ അവയുടെ ശബ്ദവും,വെളിച്ചവും ആകാനുള്ള ഒരു ശ്രമം