I was barely 3 when my parents shifted from Chennai to Kerala. It has been told that I was the naughtiest child in the colony in Chennai. Apparently I had a boyfriend my age and we used to create havoc in the house when we were together. (Please, we were 3. Kindly refrain from indecent thoughts at least once in a while!)
I am told we tilted buckets of flour onto us and looked like white ghosts one day. When my sisters recounted these incidents to me, I could actually remember them. I remember the helpless anger on my mom’s face. Obviously, rice flour is of great importance in a Malayalee household! I think my mom’s Murukku was (world-)famous in our colony. I somehow remember her making those round and round designs onto a white cloth. She was always beautiful, but she looked most beautiful when she was not angry! This I remember too well.
My mom’s anger is (world-)famous. ( It’s my memory and I am allowed exaggeration) . If my sisters were foolish enough to commit mistakes, she would give them the silent treatment. That is worse than the shouting matches I have with my kids at home these days. Imagine how many less throat infections I would have had over the years if I had followed her footsteps! SHE JUST WOULDN’T TALK to us for days together! My sisters always envied me, because she always spoke to them through me during those times. I guess I was the youngest, sweetest and cutest always. (Again, I am allowed exaggeration).
My first memories revolved around my Grandmom. My mom’s mother. We stayed with her for almost two years in Kerala before shifting to Dubai. Our ancestral home in Palakkad was a typical “Tharavadu”. I remember running around in that huge house from Thallam (Dining Room) to Adukala (Kitchen) which was the center of the house. On both sides were verandahs and rooms on two floors with a staircase on each side to access the respective rooms. If my memory serves me right, that house had 8 bedrooms excluding the grain rooms and the rooms in the attic.
We had cows and goats in our sheds. Swaying coconut and beetle nut trees in the “parambu” around the house made those swishing sounds in the winds. Different varieties of mangoes and jackfruit trees everywhere. Plenty of vegetable patches neatly planted on acres and acres of land. I used to accompany the help when she fed the cows and the goats. My aunt used to force feed boiled fresh cow’s milk to us every night. I think that is when I started hating the smell and taste of milk!
I remember waiting for everyone to finish off their meals, I would gather all the banana peels and take it to Lakshmi , my favourite cow. She would moo at the sight of me, the help used to say. She knew her food was on its way. The help would then carry me towards Lakshmi and help me feed those banana peels directly into her mouth!
It is an amazing feeling when we try and think back to the very first memory that we have of our lives. It makes everything else around us seem so strangely unfamiliar. As I came out of the thoughts about these incidents, I felt misplaced in this apartment. Miles away from where I was born, and from where I first started my conscious life.
I wish my kids could run around and enjoy those gardens and plantations. That house has been taken down. All that remains are the foundation of the house , the wells and the animal sheds. Most of it in ruins. None of us have the time or the resources to go back and rebuild that lifestyle. I see that desire in my mom’s eyes even now. If there is one wish that I have that I know will never happen, it is to build a farm house there. To lead a life that I had seen with those young eyes at the tender age of 4. Carefree and in the lap of nature and its bounty. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh grains, fresh milk and lots and lots of fresh air to breathe.
This is a part of a tag in our Facebook Write Tribe Group.
I was tagged by Aditi.
And I tag Sheethal.
Take it away Sheethal dear. 🙂
Also adding this to the Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt which I have used in this post coincidently. 🙂
And the prompt “She looked most beautiful” comes from Shiva Kapoor who blogs at Where The Mind Is Without Fear.