Snippets – I

Pa caught hold of me online and gently dropped the idea into my head. Now, it simply isn’t going away. He said that we could spend this Onam in Kerala. Now, I fail to recollect everything that had rushed into my mind when he mentioned the word “Kerala”. But, some of the thoughts have managed to linger on.~~~
The earliest distinct memory about Kerala, for me, is the airport in Cochin. There would be the sudden sticky feeling all over my body as soon as we stepped out of the aircraft. The result of air-conditioning inside the aircraft and the humidity outside. The harsh raindrops on me, like a tired girl plopping on a settee at the end of the day. Roaring giant machines, flags waving, and the uniformed personnel. Then there was the endless queue at the counters and Pa filling forms and Ma taking care of the baggage and us. We children were impatient because we knew somewhere in the premises of this airport, there stood a couple of men who bore striking resemblance to my father—his brothers. The trip home in an ancient yet sturdy Ambassador, with we three kids struggling for the window seats. Windows ensured wetting your face in the rain and also lapping up the green that sped by. However, all hopes were thwarted when the driver, in white mundu and white shirt, would wrap our luggage with waterproof canvas and then would tightly shut all the windows, except his.
~~~
Ma’s house is very far from Pa’s. It takes a little more than five hours by road, to get there. We would leave from Thrissur after breakfast. The same white-clad driver would be there. The drive was uncomfortable for some of us, especially because we were squished together with the luggage in the backseat, while my podgy brother royally sat with Pa and the driver. I envied the front view he got from his seat. The car went past brilliant green paddy fields with tender saplings in waterlogged squares of earth. It was as though God was trying to make a green patchwork quilt. The tassels of this quilt were made out of the tall coconut and areacanut trees. These trees had white and yellow painted strips across their barks. Ma never knew the explanation for this mystery. The car stereo belted out the latest Malayalam songs with Pa singing along, in spite of hearing them for the first time. I squabbled with my sister for something or the other until Ma would intervene and draw comparisons about how well behaved the little boy in the front seat was. My brother would preen with pride for a second or two, before returning back to picking his nose, silently.I liked to gaze into the ochre-coloured water that made puddles in collaboration with potholes on the road. This view was best observed when the car was stopped for refuelling, or for a break. If we were at a filling station, the muddy puddle would have a shiny layer of oil that could trap all the colours of the rainbow. I would drop a piece of paper, or spit into it when Ma wasn’t looking, to form the ripples in the tiny brown lake.
Pataambi-Manchery-Areacode-Mukkam!” Ma declared.
“What’s that?”
“That’s how I can reach home from your Pa’s!”
To me, Ma looked like a child for just that one second.
~~~
Twilight. We have completed a fortnight in Ma’s home. In spite of living a fairly modernized life, my mother’s family still follow quite a few routines that are more apt for times when there was no electricity in the region. It was only 7pm and the early dark had just begun to enclose the front yard. Dinner preparations were well on the way and the television was switched off. The day got over by 8.30 out here. I don’t remember a time when it has never rained while I have stayed at Ma’s place. Rains in the hilly region are heavy. It can sometimes present a scary sight to a child. The trees sway violently and the water drops fall with some unknown vengeance. And when the rain finally stops, countless tiny winged insects fly towards the light bulb that glowered beneath the picture of the Last Supper. The lizards followed suit in search of the multitudes of insects that had gathered. The open porch was wet with rivulets of rainwater draining off into the lawn. Our dog, Jimmy, dozed in the only dry spot. My brother was meddling with its tail.“Monae, athu kadikkum!” (Roughly translated as: It’s gonna bite you)
“No Ma. He is my pet. Pets don’t bite!”
“Come inside and wash your hands with soap. Do you know what is for dinner? Kappa!”
Fresh yam mashed and served with meat… He salivated. The dog was left alone and the boy pleased his mother.I was not interested to have dinner, I informed them. I was taking revenge for not giving me extra attention. That day, I remember, I was sulking about not having a special pet name like my friends. I said I was glad that Pa would be coming tomorrow to take us back to Thrissur where our other cousins awaited.
~~~

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16 Comments

Filed under Family

16 responses to “Snippets – I

  1. Saj

    First the facts. I never knew that Prad will pick his nose. Second I didnt knew that you are lacking a nick name, do not worry, mein hu na ? with in a day, I will come up with some cool names. Jokes apart It’s a piece of beautifully written memories in order.. Liked the expressions and the simplicity. Being a mallu and experience almost the same background by visiting my parents house , I can relate every line of your entry pretty well. Specially things like “The trees sway violently and the water drops fall with some unknown vengeance” and “The open porch was wet with rivulets of rainwater draining off into the lawn.” Crative…excellent …need more:-)

  2. Thank you, Saj! This is part one. The remainign will come soon. The comment box works… Cool!

  3. Hey, nice blog! Its well designed too!

  4. That was a lovely commentary. The little state has more beauty and ugliness than it can accomodate.

  5. Thanks a lot Adarsh and Silverine!*glee*

  6. Shivranjini Krishnamurthy

    “Daahling” you <>rock<>!! And, I couldnt have possibly changed it read: <>‘You pop’<>, <>‘You jazz’<>…or, can I?? :-p

  7. Shivranjini Krishnamurthy

    And, you LIE!! You are ‘Pritpaw’, ‘Pritpo’ and ‘Pritpaaaal’…remember?? <>*grins*<>

  8. Thanks a ton Madan!:-)

  9. SHEW!I wouldn’t have sulked years ago if I knew I would meet ya — The one who would christen me in college!Thanks for stoppping by, Chew.

  10. Anonymous

    hi ther.saw ur blog. cute reading. i am malayali, presently in bahrain, age 29. my hobbies include : reading, music, travelling,trekking,driving, party, etc. i seek a gud pen friend. incase u r interested pls lemme know.send an email at : happy2sing@gmail.comkeep on blogging. take care.jai.

  11. Hello, it’s Kim here. You can link to my blog from my comment.I hope you don’t run away from our e-mail pal writing after you have read on it (yikes! nobody I actually *know* has ever read it. It’s easier to be honest semi-anonymously). Once again, I will say I love your writing. You have a contemplative style that evokes a deep emotional world in the reader.I hope you write a novel one day. Yours would be the type from the heart of a true poet. The type you curl up with and transport to another world.

  12. Thank u Kim! Always great to hear from the “fan” in you. I have no intentions of stopping our chatter over email.Love.

  13. Leena

    You have a gift…n the next task that God has endowed upon you is to write a book n that too soon….so that I can read it..btw its not that I got nuthing else to do….I just love reading ur stuff over n over again….never gets boring or tired of it….maybe I shud just get married to u instead…..never a dull moment….sigh* if only I was a lesbian….darn it…!!

  14. Err… Umm…Got me tongue tied for a minute there! Not that I ever had any reservations about different orientations… but this is asking for a wee bit too much, dont you think??:o)

  15. vinu

    wat an apt way of describing kerala…the more you stay there the more you realise y its GODS own country…..and the family bondings as relfected in your writeup….is something rare to find here…….hmmmmm kappa and meat………cant stop drooling….a much better treat than the mcdonalds…..

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