Friday, October 10, 2008
Somewhere far away!
Memories overwhelm me as I write this post! The pictures you see are that of my ancestral home Korajem (named after my late Grandfather Sri Kumaran) in Kannur (erstwhile Cannanore), Kerala. This was where I was born and 'kept' for 63 days before being 'shipped' off to Ooty which was my home for decades to come! Built in 1947, it has seen scores of births, weddings and stood mute witness to a number of deaths as well.
Back then, a typical day would begin with a dozen of us cousins foraging around the vast expanse of this behemoth while the women folk worked tirelessly in its massive kitchen to ensure that our perpetually hungry stomachs were addressed to without complaint. Considering the measureless plantation that grew around the place, it needed constant attention and upkeep, a job that required unimaginably superhuman efforts! Afternoons called for a quick siesta after which play resumed. Coming together here was a bonding like none other.
At dusk, exhausted after a days meandering, we were mandated to wash up and present ourselves for the evening prayers which were attended to religiously. The lighting of the Vilakku (lamp) while all of the family, young and old, gathered to pray, signified the human effort to connect with its Creator and call for peace, health and prosperity in a world that was steadily disintegrating!
Popularly known as Tharawads, across Kerala, these expansive edifices once hosted dozens of entire families who lived with each other without incident. Sadly, they are a passé thanks to the nuclear family culture that has caught up!
Kannur was always a source of immense pleasure to me. Come vacations, we were packed off to enjoy a two-month long sojourn with cousins. The lush green outers, the smell of mud when it rained, the endless supply of mangoes, jackfruit, guavas and pineapples to name a few, trips to nearby paddy fields to catch fish and a whole lot more cherished chores are very vivid in my mind to this day. I last visited here during the year 2006 and without any possibility of being able to do so in the recent future, wonder how quickly I have been overcome by the never-ending search for nothing that I continue to be engaged in day to day!
This post is a rich tribute to all my folks for having been such a wonderful lot and kept in touch all along and more importantly for having withstood the test of time and unconditionally supported each other. And Sandeep, thanks very much for these marvelous pictures!
In conclusion, I'd like to quote lines from Mahakavi Changanpuzha's famed poem Gramabhangi which aptly describes the beauty of the countryside in Kerala.
"Malarany kadukal thingi vingi
Marathaka kanthiyil mungi mungi
Karalum mizhiyum kavarnnu minni
Karayattoralasal grama bangi"