Sunday, March 18, 2007

Summers, Bygone, Forever...

Thank you very much, Silverine, for this wonderful tag. I have been itching to do a tag for a long time...even thought of doing the tags i forewent, but tags have this perishable quality of having to be done fresh, in sync with all the blog-pals.

When does summer start for people in trivandrum...4 buses loaded with brats from Loyola School shouting "Happy, Holidays" at the top of their young lungs all along the ananthapuri veethikal until the last kid is offloaded!!!

The Ugly...

The terror of having to wait a month till mid-April to know if i passed my finals. I was a touch-and-go student all through school. There was always a family trip to Velankanni to pray i pass. The worst part was having a sister whose big worry was getting the first rank or not!!!

The Bad...

Unarguably the best library in town, the Loyola School Library didnt lend books to us during summer. Until the Eloor Lending Library opened we had to be content with the slim pickings at the Public Library and the British Library.

The Good...

1. Flatmates
We lived in a housing colony with almost two dozen children, both small kids, big kids and college kids...all regardless of age buzzing with potential energy ready to implode if not exploded. Almost all of us had working parents and we kids had a jungle, 2 tiny parks,a 100 metre straight stretch of private road at Pattom Junction as our backyard for playspace. So many games, cricket, football, kabaddi, even hockey, and when the gals too insisted on playing there was hide and seek, lock and key, seven-tiles, eripanthe, badminton, kite-flying, etc, etc! We wouldnt come home even at night, and parents eager to catch atleast a lone glimpse of us for the day, had to venture out, chase us and herd us back into our cages...as we tearfully bid farewell to each other, like lambs to a slaughter-house.

2. Native Places -
Kattanam and Arakulam, my two lost native villages...one of the things i am most thankful to my parents are despite all our entreaties, forcing us to go there and live...the flavour of village life i got there, will i ever get to taste again...only time can tell. My sister always tells me, i have never written a post to outdo this one...it popped out somehow from my sub-conscious, i reminescent fondly of as my days as a fresh blogger, with no dearth of topics to write on, while nowadays i increasingly feel jaded, struggling to strike new ground with each post...and i concede i will never ever be able to write anything better. I have so much more to write on those places, had a selfish intent not to list some of the stuff we did there, as it is fodder for another post.

At Kattanam
- walking thru the paadam, looking proudly at my appachan toiling daily, but glad that my mom did good and bailed out
- earnestly looking all day at the lone village road which ended at our house for some guest.
- kanji in the afternoon made by ammachi, sitting alongside the farmhands, making sense of their chatter, a plaavila in hand magnifying the taste a million times over
- Huddle around the women at dusk...listen to them gossipping, telling old stories, etc, etc
- The varaal fish caught fresh from the small streams...had as curry with the kappa ammachi proudly nurtured
- a pleasure for now...feeling the coolness of the rudoxide flooring, imagining the layout of our old house and the farm and remembering all the things we did there

Well if you thought my ammachi was just a farmer's wife...be ready for this. Well my sweetheart is now an Internet Superstar...


At Arakulam
- Listening to the sound of the creek flowing by our thottam
- Hunting for kuzhiyaanas with mom
- Reading a year's balaramas and pumbattas which our cousins subscribed to, but denied to us back at home...coz pops believed comics and cartoons were no good...of course Misha was an honourable exception to the rule.
- Reading novels and short stories my dad and uncles studied in college
- Listen in rapt attention to ammachi's recounting of my dad's heroics, grandpa's villainy, great grandpa's enterprise and the mahakavi's fame
- Live in mortal dread of the rain, thunder, lightning and urulepottal which always seems to claim quite a few lives on every visit there
- A Silence which lets you hear, then see, then feel a Nature our kids might never know off again...

3. VenalMazha - Towards the end of April or beginning of May a totally unexpected rain showers on us trivandrum residents. With the sun in full blast, the dust in full flight, the sweatglands working-overtime as salt factories, comes a gift from the heavens on Ganapathi's wedding, more refreshing for the mind and body, if caught in this tender rain than any water-park of human devise.

4. Camps - A semi-mad, retired colonel in TVM cooked up this idea of a personality development summer camp...my sis and i found ourselves going reluctanly, but amongst a new set of boys and gals i saw all my latent talents in writing, elocution, quizzing and sports come gushing out...cloud nine and seventh heaven just become pale adjectives to describe how a sad, spindly, introverted boy on earth feels when catapulted to overnight stardom...i ended up best camper in my second year there, but continued as a cropper when back after summer at my illustrious school amongst my accomplished classmates. But the camp was a harbinger for life to come, college saw me break out of the last of my self-inflicted barriers. jibs...when down and out, never ever lose hope in fresh beginnings, dude.

5. Beer - Summers at college was a bad bad time. College closes in March for study-leave, but we neither studied nor did anything worthwhile, sat twiddling our thumbs at home, the exams beginning in mid-April and sometimes even overlapping to June was a time for hectic exam-eve study, xeroxing and sleeping blissfully. Yet we would venture out, sometimes to the movies, otherwise sweating on the cricket ground and savoring the drink that most symbolizes college-life, beer. Yummm...i still can relish the taste of hundreds and hundreds of kingfishers guzzled in those 4 years.

6. Coolness,A 2007 Story - A summer of 1992, when i first set unbelieving blinking eyes on the big home my parents had built, i realized i had been denied a lot of cool stuff other kids my age grew up with like toys, comic books, bicycles, video games, etc, etc all which my young but receptive mind assumed we just were not in a position to afford. My parents had turned me on the path of knowledge...observing people, reading encyclopedias, novels, newspapers...even today i fail to relate with swanky cars, new-age gizmos, designer wear, big money, etc, etc. In this era it might be a huge failing and i may be an odd one out...a constant struggle to define myself and my coolness quotient goes on...watching my life play out, waiting for the surprises in store. A whole new theater of activity awaits me this summer...before the curtain downs on a season of warmth, an incubation period goes on, i expect to be hatched a new person when Fall befalls. Wonder what's in store...

Well here goes the list of folks yet to be tagged with this one...Arun Hari, Dhanush, Flaash, Pappanabhan, Rajesh, Sarah and Thanu...Enjoy!

15 comments:

silverine said...

How rich are your memories...my tag pales in comparison! Just loved this one! I hope one day you expand the "At Kattanam" and "At Arakulam" into a book! I will be the first to buy it :)

"A Silence which lets you hear, then see, then feel a Nature our kids might never know off again.." I know! A silence that sort of washes you inside out leaving you in a state of all consuming calm!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, it's better for myself not to make a comment as it will/might dilute the richness of the post. At first, I wasn't going to, but then couldn't help it as I wanted to first say that your summers were lovely and I am a bit envious(sigh). I wish I could have had the experiences of country-life in Kerala. It's great that your parents were able to look at the long picture. That one was an inspiring bit, especially for these times where we in the west look at seeking instant satisfaction. And good luck:-)

-kajan

mathew said...

excellent detailing..we have amazingly similar upbringings...

Never had a penchant for electronic gadgets or other gizmos..i still sometimes have to aske how to operate some features in the current generation mobiles!! ;-P

Pattom..trivandrum..kottayam district..have we met before!! ;-P

I think we are lucky that we had a chance to enjoy the essence of a proper village life which I dont believe the next generation can really savour..

MC said...

When does summer start for people in trivandrum...4 buses loaded with brats from Loyola School shouting "Happy, Holidays" at the top of their young lungs all along the ananthapuri veethikal until the last kid is offloaded!!

amazing huh..i am just smiling sitting here,,shaking my head at the memory..remember the climb up to the gate from the school front..that was the area of peak decibel..

kuzhiyanas, mazhas...those were the days..

a-m-a-z-i-n-g post bro!

Jiby said...

silverine, thank you very much for this tag and the nice words.

kajan, i regret that once i started taking decisions for myself, i never went back to those places...now it feels too late.

mathew, we sure must have seen each other...two strangers in geographical proximity, its a wonder how the internet brings us closer!

mc, yeah ur right...that drive up to the gate...uhh what will it be like, to give that whoop once more.

ursjina said...

..inspiring...wat strikes me most is your photographic memory on past events...i find it almost unbelievable to comprehend that ability..kuch trick hai kya?..ennodu koodi parayuvo..arrodum parayoolla..:P

b v n said...

Jiby, its such a pleasure to be able to relate to everything you wrote except for say kattanam and Arakulam. the screaming school buses shouting happy hols, summer camps, the beer runs at almost every bar in tvm, the full gang around, summer rains, checkin the results. ha..i love vacations. and the striking part is the things you write in between the lines, thats an art man...like you said abt the new age gizmos :)Great !!

b v n said...

i was abt to comment yesterday, then i read pappanaban's review of 300 and was forced to catch some rest :)

Rajesh said...

Great idea for a tag. I have never done something like this before. So, it should be really interesting. And you redefine nostalgia. And make my mouth water for the kanji, chammandi and the varaal fish...Brilliant post!!

Rajesh said...

Sir,

I have taken up the tag. Cheers

Anand K said...

I see your tag and I submit! :P
Will do it soon Massssssttterrrrrr!

BTW, the terror of the exam results.... boy do I agree with you! I remember going through eaxh and every question paper with a fine comb even days into the hols. You remember those brown hued question papers with that crisp sarkari font? Those were the days....

alex said...

Jiby,

Only beer? ;)

I would have loved to catch varaal too. I remember catching 'uupa meen' with a 'thorthu' along with my appachan.

Yeal. So much good memories.

[Came here by the reco. by BVN]

Brijesh said...

nice one.

mathew said...

easter greetings to you..Jiby!! :-)

Anonymous said...

wht happened?
no posts?