Monday, December 28, 2009
Nostalgic trip down memory lane
This Christmas I visited my mom’s home in the Thrissur – Palakkadu border after a gap of several years. The trip awakened so many memories and not in a way I expected too.
I had anticipated a barrage of sweet memories, which may or may not have been true, the moment I stepped foot on the ground after the long journey. However it was not to be so. First of all, I was exhausted after the long 10 hour-drive, which should have been shorter except for the mad traffic on the day before Christmas. It used to be fun when as children (me and my sister) our dad used to do the driving or when we simply had to hop off the train. The long drive made me exhausted and all I wanted to do when we reached was sleep. The food didn’t seem as good as I had remembered. And grandmother, who had made all the fuss which made me come, looked exactly the same as I had last seen her. Of course the old house with tons of wood and tiled roof had been demolished and a modern concrete terraced house had come up in its place which I whole heartedly welcomed. Instead of having to sleep in the red-oxide floor there were new beds. I happily fell into a deep slumber.
I woke up early next morning wondering what I was doing in a strange surrounding before I regained my senses. An occasional thumping sound awakened my curiosity and I went to the back door to check it out. I opened the door and stepped out into the backyard and for a moment was stunned by something that hit my face with such force. I almost lost balance before steadying myself and looked straight ahead and in that instant I knew that all the sweet memories and dreams I had in my mind were not imagined ones. For blowing through the mighty trees in front of me, shaking huge mango and tall palm trees with such arrogance, awakening the smell, music and memories of a forgotten childhood, I could feel the Palakkadan Kattu, the strong wind that blows through the Palakkadu-Thrissur borders in the mornings with such gusto you could feel the whole earth shake around you. The thumping of branches against windows and roof tops - the sound that had awakened me this morning – had been my morning alarm for all holidays when I was a regular visitor there. As children our favorite pastime in the morning was to stand against the wind to see how long we could withhold its strength.
And suddenly it felt like all my imaginations had come true at that instant. It was Christmas and its spirit had awoken inside me. The morning food with my favorite ‘Kallappam’ felt delicious. My brothers and sisters weren’t the tiresome brats they used to be but, just like me, they had grown too. The sound of cows and hens reminded me what we lost in the city. I suddenly found myself wistfully longing for the old house – with the thatinpurram and pathayam. And I felt sorry for my grandmother. She had indeed grown old and frail.
It felt so good to be back. Reminiscing now I could find no reason why I had deferred this visit for so long. Everything had changed and yet nothing had changed.