Today I visited my native village after quite a while. Understandably, I was in high spirits this morning even as I could not grab much sleep last night. The visit sparked quite a few memories.
It was a very laid back place in the 80s and 90s. The charm of the village, the quiet Achankovil river, my grandparents’ home, the Sarpakkavu (the abode of snakes), the cricket matches with cousins all form some of the most indelible memories of my native village.
The early mornings were quite surreal. As I stepped out, I could feel an experience that is indescribable. There was the cool breeze and the sight of a neat courtyard. The temple just opposite the home would be open and the pooja going on there brought a heavenly atmosphere to those mornings.
Then there was the shed behind the home. It used to be so mysterious that initially I wondered what actually happened in there. Until my grandmother opened it one day and I got to see the inside of it, I was under the impression that someone lived there. I was pretty relieved to find out that no one did. That shed is where my grandmother cooked some of the most delicious banana and jackfruit chips I have ever had! It was also a place where, for reasons still unknown to me, my grandfather ‘stored’ his old moped.
My grandfather’s library was a treasure trove of books. Many of those were literary criticisms but there were a few classics too which I remember devouring voraciously. Grandmother’s chips and Vallathol’s poetry was my favorite – the combination was just scrumptious!
The cricket matches used to be daily affairs and often started in the mornings right after breakfast and went on until there was no light available. I was on the losing side more often than not, but enjoyed those matches immensely. T20 wasn’t around then but the excitement in the games we played reached the levels of crescendo associated with the shortest format.
The home is today unoccupied and is in a state of dishelvement. Once my grandfather passed away 8 years back, we really didn’t make those annual trips save for the odd occasion. Me and my cousins have grown up quite a lot from those halcyon days and I took a lot of pride in reminiscing the stories of those good old days to my sons – the elder one is old enough to understand so he paid rapt attention while the younger one is too young to grasp those things but nevertheless nodded his head. Time has flown by, but the memories linger to be retold to generations next who may not be as lucky as we were.