THE SUMMERS OF CHILDHOOD…..

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My childhood was spent in Delhi – the Indian capital. Having been brought up there, I have a special place for it in my heart,like any other Delhite..But, the concrete jungle that it was,as a school going kid,I looked forward to my summer vacations ,when we would go down south, to my native state –”GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”, Kerala…There were many reasons for our excitement ;firstly, that was the time we got our ”annual stock” of new clothes and other paraphernalia   ; secondly,we got to buy bangles and bindis (the colorful stickers  used to decorate foreheads  of women and young  girls in india),because in Kerala it was common custom for young girls to decorate themselves so ; thirdly,the eagerness to meet our grandparents and a housefull of cousins ,to play and chat around with ;and last but not the least,the gorgeous landscape of the region,the green fields and wildlife (esp. snakes…lots of them !!!…CREEPY ISN’T IT..?? 😉 )..So you see, these were the reasons ,that more than justified, our elated state during the trip…and yes..i forgot the train journey !!! that was very much a part of the tour package ,and all the screaming we did ,whenever the train passed over a bridge, overlooking some river ……. Once in Kerala,time flew…There was so much to do and so many places to go to…My maternal grandmother’s house was a traditional ” naalu kettu”.- the literal meaning of which is,a construction comprising of four blocks,built around a ”nadu muttam” or a central courtyard…. .557563_10150649803905812_1464284938_n IMG_0424 After having stayed in flats back in Delhi, such space to move and play around ,only added to our exteme jubiliation.But, we were not allowed to step out of the house,till we finished a certain section of our ‘‘holiday homework” , one that we considered to be our worst enemy those days..Personally for me,solving the equations in the ”mental maths” book ,actually ended up driving me nuts (or mental !!!  ;no offence meant to the maths lovers !!!) but  mathematics was a nightmare for me ,and I did get rid of it years later when I opted for ”ARTS”  as my subject in the 11th and 12th…good riddance, I say !!! ;171298_1875784454799_4366508_o Kerala, looks its best when it rains..the beauty is breathtaking. Though monsoons ,especially the torrential downpour, are considered a curse by the adults;as children ,me and my sister enjoyed it,thoroughly.  I still remember watching ,the raindrops hit the rooftops and then land  with a splash into the ”nadu muttam” from all the four corners…It was a sight to watch…But monsoons also introduced us to the creepy crawlies of all sorts…earthworms,centipedes,and a zillion other creatures of the land…eeewwww….!!! What we also enjoyed were our trips to the the ‘pond’ behind the house along with our cousins..Though we couldn’t swim (our parents tried their best,tying dry coconuts around our waist) and haven’t managed to learn till now !!;we loved getting into the cold water and splashing on it hard…Once,my sister while doing so,came face to face with a grass snake or a water snake ( ‘neerkoli’ in malayalam) but all except her saw it swim upto her…As soon as we all spotted it,we ran for our lives by climbing up the nearest rock and my poor little sister,whom everyone (including my cousins ) forgot to warn and was still oblivious of the danger lurking nearby, stood quivering like a leaf,when good sense finally prevailed and we all let out a shriek !!! But,when we got home that day, all of us laughed our lungs out ,recalling the incident and the way we abandoned our younger sister …. ‘IMG_457919401402438 ‘ Theyyam”,is also something that attracted me to Kerala ,ever since my childhood. IMG_490494146987923 A ” THEYYAM” IS A TRADITIONAL,RITUALISTIC FORM OF WORSHIP,FOUND MOSTLY IN THE NORTH MALABAR REGION OF KERALA…. IMG_120042257808501IMG_1902492563247 It is representation of god and is hence worshipped ,like one would worship  a god..People seek blessings from ‘this human representation of god”.As a child I was always a little unnerved by the bright red colour and those glaring eyes…but as I grew up, I began to enjoy watching this ritual performance that required a lot of energy and strength to perform…Hence,when I think of Kerala,theyyam,is an integral part of it…and the two for me, cannot be seperated….. So our trip to kerala was filled with some of the best memories of my life…The getting together of all cousins,and all the dance,music and goodtimes, are which I will for ever cherish.But,the saddest part of our trip to Kerala was when we were to bid farewell to our native land and its people and get back to our routine monotonous life,back in Delhi…The first day in school,after the vacation was always so depressing …though soon we got over it and started to enjoy school life…(well,thats another story !! will write about it some other time ..:) ) Today this Kerala,isn’t the same to me….things have changed.There are no more ponds to go swimming in,or green paddy fields to walk through….My grandmother stays alone, in that ancestral house. ..and we cousins don’t meet that often. Life today has changed for everyone…it is not the slow life people led ,a long time back.Today everyone is busy with their personal and professional commitments and  even neighbours don’t like interferance… As for me, I know my childhood days and those summer trips will never come back…but their memories will remain etched in my mind forever and ever…… ”SUMMER WILL END SOON ENOUGH AND CHILDHOOD AS WELL...’‘ – George R.R.Martin

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2 thoughts on “THE SUMMERS OF CHILDHOOD…..

  1. Wow !!! Made me sooo nostaligic…n the “neerkoli” episode made me smile once again..miss those gud old days. .n as u said nothing is d same now .:(…well written dear

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