Sighting Wayanad

The start of this year has been unusually good for me! Mostly because I did something I have never done before for New Year’s – I took a trip with my family! And not just to any place but to Wayanad!

Wayanad is a beautiful hill station located towards the north-east of Kerala. The best time to visit the place is Dec-Jan because that’s when the temperature drops and you get to experience the awesome climate of Wayanad! Continue reading “Sighting Wayanad”

Bringing Etios Home!

It’s time to kick-start the year 2016!

I know, I know. It’s a late start. But a start nonetheless!

There’sย  not much to say in this post really. I am writing this to introduce you to the latest addition to our family – the Toyota Etios G!

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After ten years of driving the Santro around, (Yes, ten!) we finally decided to sell it and get a new car. No doubt that I am going to miss the Santro. But, I love the Etios! It’s got everything we need from comfort to style. I definitely suck at the technical stuff which is why I won’t even dare to comment on it!

To add to the joy, my elder brother came home to us after spending a good six months in Mumbai!

And so, we went on a three-day trip taking the Etios out for a spin; the details of which I shall be sharing shortly!

More to say later. I hope the new year’s been treating you well!

Cheers!!

Marthankali

I was just rummaging through some old files when I found this picture. Reading posts all over WordPress about childhood made me nostalgic I guess! So here’s one more post to my Childhood Diary.

marthankali
Taken last year.

That’s a handful of what we call Marthankali down here in Kerala. Wiki tells me its called the Black Nightshade apparently. But for me it has been and always will be Marthankali!

I must tell you that I spent the first three years of my life at my maternal grandmother’s home. This was owing to the fact that my parents were working in Cochin and they did not want their infant to be raised in a city breeding pollution.

My grandmother’s place was also our ancestral home. It was an old yet beautiful house (lets say fifty years or more) with a tiled roof situated in the middle of an estate spanning roughly three to four acres of land. We even had a cow-shed and three cows plus their calves back then.

Coming back to the Marthankali, I have faint memories of how Thaathi (Tamil for Grandmother) used to take me for walks around the estate. I would hang onto the pallu of her saree and trot along while she hobbled around inspecting mango trees, plantains, her vegetable garden and what not.

Depending on my nap time and Thaathi’s schedule, sometimes we would take two or three walks in the estate. My favorite part of the walk was when we would come to the areas of the estate where the Marthankali plants grew. They belong to the herb category of plants I think (if my bio is right) and Thaathi would always cut them to a certain height least the garden became a jungle.

This meant that I could help myself to pluck and eat as many berries as I wanted at my own leisure. I would stand in the middle (I was about two feet tall then) surrounded by Marthankali plants and choose the ripest black berries and eat them. While Thaathi expertly picked out a handful and held them out to me, I would fend only for myself; picking and eating one berry at a time.

This memory does not pertain solely to my childhood. As teenagers, my cousins and I crashed Thaathi‘s place for summer vacations. Though we climbed mango trees and Jambakka trees all the time, going for walks around the property hunting for Marthankali was a tradition we enjoyed. Yeah, it was kind of like a family thing.

Even now, when I visit Thaathi we try and find time to go pluck Marthankali. Usually this absolutely adorable lady (whom I callย Thaathi) plucks them beforehand anticipating a shortage of time. I am not going to deny it, I love the fact that she does what she does! A handful of Marthankali pretty much makes my visit to Thaathi’s place complete. Forever and always!

So.. that’s pretty much what I wanted to share with you guys!

More to say later. Cheers!!

Return of the Carrom Board

When things don’t go too well, you know its time to bring back the Carrom Board.

I am 22 years old and I live with my parents. This is expected to be a shocker for all my non-Indian readers. But, yeah I do! Anyway its been just me and my parents at home for the last six months owing to the fact that my brother is out of station.

Given that my parents are in their late fifties and still working, I am sure you will be able to imagine what things are like at home. Since I am finishing Post Grad this year, it is crucial for me to land myself in a good career. Its the typical middle class scenario sans the drama (except for every now and then). ๐Ÿ™‚

We all stay away from home for a good 10 hours a day atleast – me in college and my parents at work. The only time we sit and talk is during late tea and dinner. The conversations usually vary from what happened during the day to any current social issue or any impromptu matters that any of us may want to discuss.

But if this goes on for six months, it sure can get to you. Which it did of course. It was only a matter of time before we started snapping and tempers started raging.

“Keep Calm and Love Your Family” is easy to preach. However, it is very hard to practice. I mean lets face it. No matter how much you love your family differences in opinion never fail to spark a fight. Especially when you’re Indian!

As a result, in order to avoid fighting we started cutting down on the speech. Bad idea I realized in a matter of days. Because that only made things worse. I understood that we needed something to rekindle the love in our family.

I thought about various ways to make it work. We don’t really go out on weekdays. Basically because my parents don’t have the energy to stay out late after ten hours of work a day. There’s nothing fun about TV and entertainment. I mean who wants to stare a screen for hours together anyway?!

Things went on like this for a while. Yesterday morning, I went into my dad’s office upstairs to get a novel. And that’s when I found it.

It was sitting there in a corner, peacefully resting against the wall. Our Carrom Board. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just looking at it made me smile. All of us used to sit together and play carroms when my brother and I were little kids. Everyday after my parents came home from work and we had our late tea, we would call the shots on seats and play.

We would play in teams and against each other. The atmosphere in the room would change as the game progressed. It would go from a quiet game to a scenario where the winning team would be taunting and grinning at the losing team. All in good spirit. ๐Ÿ™‚

And so, I immediately brought the board downstairs. As my parents were not at home, I dusted it and set it up on the stand we had brought years ago. I called up my dad and asked him to buy some boric powder for the game. He was surprised and he asked me “Are we having guests over??”

“Nah appa.. Just the three of us..” I said.

“Oh okay..” he said though I could sense his amused smile.

And so yesterday evening we played again. Just the three of us. God knows after how many years! We did miss Gopu Anna without a doubt.

But what I had set out to accomplish was done. We are one happy little family once again (waiting for Anna to come back)! ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all for now. More to say later. Time for our next Carrom game!

Cheers!!

Another Jaunt

Life keeps getting in the way and its almost impossible to sit down and write whats going on. Because there’s so much to say and so little time..!!

The most recent update being the trip I took with my family day before yesterday.

I don’t remember the last time I went on a care-free trip with my cousins. The only memories I have of such trips are safely compiled in select photo albums. Like my cousins I am a school-going kid in all the pictures.

Yes, we do meet every now and then. When someone gets married, an uncle or aunt turns sixty, when a couple celebrate their anniversary, Onam, Vishu, Christmas and whenever there are such cliche yet special occasions. But there’s never been a time in the last five years, when we all just wanted to take a break from whatever we were doing and get out of home. Not until day before.

All the credits would go to my mother of course!! ๐Ÿ™‚

We decided to go to Ezhattumugham, a riverside picnic spot situated about 12 kilometres away from Nedumbassery airport. Even though I was a little skeptic initially about going to the place, what I saw as we reached there made me change my mind.

Set in a secluded area with pristine green vegetation, the location by itself was beautiful. The river was enchanting as it flowed through thick forests forming rock pools of crystal clear water which served as bathing banks for all. Plus, theย Ezhattumugham-Thumpoormuzhi hanging bridge only added to the beauty of the place.

As we reached the place, I was surprised to seeย Appa turn into a child! From all the times I remember, I have not seen him this enthusiastic and lively! The minute we crossed over a small rivulet to reach the main banks, my father went and sat on a rock so that the river water came up to his waist. I shall never forget how happy he looked as he took his shirt off and took a dip in the river, letting the water soak him. I shall never forget how he waded off to sit on a rock in the middle of the river, despite the fact that he couldn’t swim -stumbling but smiling. ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know how quickly time flew as we whiled our time away in the water. All I remember is how much fun we had. As each of us made our way to join my father as he floated in the river without a care in the world. As we helped each other get to the middle of the river one at a time, forgetting how none of us knew to swim, forgetting how treacherous the river was. I recall how we shrieked as we drowned ourselves in the water banging and bruising our arms and legs against the rocks. I remember amidst all this howย Amma was silently praying to the gods to keep her children safe – something only a mother could manage! ๐Ÿ™‚

By the time we got out of the water, the sun was high up on the west. After a quick snack and some ice creams, we headed out to theย Prakrithi Gramamย Park on the other side of the hanging bridge. The park was pretty big for its kind on a river bank. It had a beautiful garden with all kinds of flowers and plants.

My cousins and I became children again as we went inside the park. The swings, the see-saws and the slides brought back some truly happy memories we had shared a decade ago. All the more surprisingly, our parents became excited and took turns at the bigger swings. ๐Ÿ˜€ Here was a park where there were no boards for age limits, where you could use the swings and slides without having to struggle to fit in or fearing you would break it. I wouldn’t ever forget the smiles that flashed across any of our faces or the laughter which filled our ears that day.

As all good things come to an end, so did our day. At five in the evening, none of us wanted to leave the park. Tired and exhausted as we were, we did not want to leave. As far as I was concerned, I wished to take the river and the park home with me. Physically impossible though it is, I did! ๐Ÿ™‚

Maybe my moms prayers were heard after-all. After we reached home around seven, it rained cats and dogs. Needless to say, we coaxed my cousins and their parents into a sleepover – yet another blue moon in years. The night was again memorable as we cracked jokes, dined together, looked through old photographs and played pranks – all under one roof. ๐Ÿ™‚

Almost as if it was too luxurious, mundane life intervened again and we had to split our ways the next day. But, I am not complaining. That one day was sufficient to rekindle our bond and to bring us all together; to make us all realize how much we mean to each other as family. I hope we have many more such days together! ๐Ÿ™‚