Tuesday, December 27, 2005

CheriyaSerry - The little place

Two must-to-dos during my vacation at home are a trip to Guruvayoor temple and a visit to Cherussery, my mom's village. Each time I visit the village, I feel more and more nostalgic about the many carefree summers I have spent there with my counsins and this time it got me thinking. My kids would never get to enjoy all the stuff I had enjoyed as a kid in this place.

But like the whole of India, little Cherussery is changing too. The winds of change are slow but sure. Like the growing pains of a teenager when he grows his moustache step by step and after a few years, before you know it, there's a bush under his nose; And then you sit and wonder where did that come from! Just like that, Cherussery is slowly becoming more and more un-village-like, much to my dismay. Every visit I notice one more paddy field turned into a concrete something………..

Maybe my kids would get to know about life in villages only through the stories I'd tell them. Some of the things they are definitely gonna miss......

- Playing hide and seek among the trees

- Machinga (miniature coconut) toys

- Puddle plays in untarred roads flanked on either side with huge trees

- Snakes and frogs crossing the road

- Snails, earthworms, dragonflies, scores of cats, squirrels, fireflies – you make friends with all of them

- Paddy fields exist not just in those wallpapers and screensavers

- ‘Stoning’ mangoes down. Right now if you throw a stone it will most probably fall on another building

- Sucking on sweet kodappan (plantain flower) sap

- Absolutely no flats/high-rises in sight. It's just green all around. And simple happy people around who are satisfied with their simple lives.

- No public transport after 7:30 PM. You would sit at home and listen to those wild stories from your granny.

- A place where everyone would know you by your granddad's name
"Aha, aren’t you krishan’s granddaughter? You’ve become so big….remember I bought you sugar toffees last year?"

- A punjabi suit and short hair is all that it takes to make you famous in that small place. If a girl wears pants, it might even come in the papers the next day.

- Swings made of different parts of a coconut tree and tied on jackfruit tree/mango tree – your fav afternoon pasttime

- There are more trees behind your home than the number of people inside it.....well, squared!

- Your afternoon snacks consist of fruits and berries your pluck yourself

- You get enough toffees to fill your pockets for just 1 rupee

- The only households that own a car in the village are the rich ones and the kids include them in their everday roaming itinerary just to have a peek.

- Walking around can be a lesson in zoology and botany - if you keep your eyes and ears open

- You learn swimming in the temple pond with coconut husks tied to your body so that you don't drown

- You learn how to dive without hitting any of those evil rocks inside the pond.

- Touch-me-nots are the most touched plants.

- Summer holiday - jackfruit season. Dawn to dusk. Breakfast to Dinner.

- Your friends are the iron wala's kids, coconut climber's kids and the local tailor's kids. They all stay near your house and are you best buds.

- Lunch would be served in a big vessel, made into personalised balls by the granny for each kid and then mercilessly stashed into your mouth. Yummy!!

- You cant survive unless you know Malayalam - Hindi or Enlish won't get you anywhere in little Cherussery.

- Going to 'town' is a once month big thing and is a privilege if you are allowed to accompany the elders

- Women walk around in chemmeen style - lungi and blouse - both very colourful

- Cinemas would never be House Full, and it is a great experience watching your hero doing his thing, while you are sitting under the cool leaking thatched roofs

- Those long hot oil scalp messages that no one can do better than your great-granny

I lost my granny to heaven two weeks back and......

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Applies both to my granny and Cherussery.


jaguu said...


Sorry to hear about your loss.May her soul rest in peace. All my Memories from childhood is connected to my mom's hometown Pallikunnu & my awesome Grandma. She left as on October 30th 2001.I miss her so much.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry to hear ..let’s pray ur granny soul will be in peace…

Anonymous said...

- Sucking on sweet kodappan (plantain flower) sap

u know that the plaintain flower's kodappan is like it's reproductive organ? so u actually performed oral sex!! ewww...or yaay whichever way u look at it! ;-)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Thanks Jaguu and Anon1.

And Anon2, I am glad I don't think they way you do.

Good day!

Anonymous said...

pls don't take offence..just a joke, albeit in bad taste (no pun intended) ;-)

Prashant Kumar said...

a heart-touching piece... left me misty-eyed remembering the good old days of my own childhood... good work, priya... sorry to hear about ur ammamma... RIP.

Thanu said...

Atleast we have these memories that are priceless. I love my dad's place, small town in thiruvalla. Both my grand parents have passed away, so the house remains locked with over grown weeds. Breaks my hear to see the house like that.

I cud relate to all ur bullet points.
//Touch-me-nots are the most touched plants. - so true

jaguu said...


Hey Senorita...Happy New year to you .. your folks & Hope every one at CheriyaSerry has a wonderful year ahead.Was groovin to some Latin tracks and just remembered I had not wished da Salsa Queen *Grin*

VKM said...

Hey PTS,
Heartfelt condolences..

LI said...

Hey Priya , Wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year . Hope you will have a job of your choice :-D and a wonderful career ahead.

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Thanks Prashant and VKM.

Thanu, I know exactly what you mean. They tore down our old place at Cherussery. Sniff

Happy New Year to you to Jaguu. Hope you have a scintillating year ahead.

You too LI. Thank you for your wishes.

Bala said...

A post i can very well relate to!! My grandmom's place in Pachalloor, Trivandrum used to be exactly like that!!.. going to "town" was a gr8 event.. ours used to be one of the few houses with a TV and on sundays @ 9, it used to be flooded with the neighbourhood coming to watch Ramayan!!..

Alas today it has been literally devoured by urbanization.. my sleepy village is now part of the urban corporation!!

rocksea said...

i too miss machinga and all those memories :(

hey priya, grow a feeling that your grandmother is still around you,, you can talk to her, she'll talk back.. let she guide you always.

akemashite omedeto (happy new year),,

Rajesh said...

Everytime I come back to your blog, I am impressed with your writing skills. Ur memories are fresh and you have the ability to translate it into something very meaningful. If your placements are around the corner, allow me to be brave enough to ask you to think for a moment what exactly you want in life. Dont take up a job because it pays very well and its the hot pick on campus this year. Allow yourself the time to write in the future

Anonymous said...

hey priya!
I could relate myself to all that you wrote about your little town and feel for your loss as would for my own,more so because I grew up in a small town/village with my grandparents.You writing skills are par excellence and has the sincerity and honesty than mostly anything I have read so far...
All the best and take care...

Rahul said...

Hi Girl_With_Big_Eyes_Which_Are_Shut (coz u r sleeping)

As Rajesh mentioned, ur writing skills are just too good, keep it up and carry on.

I myself went back to my childhood. I grew up in chennai and summer vacations were the best time. Actually used to do countdown for the day we were to leave for kerala from day 60, ie 2 months!

And finally the fresh feeling of mid-may dawn when No 2 Madras mail enters kerala..aah getting nostalgic.

All the cousins hanging out in and around "thotham" and extended swimming sessions in the "kolam". And finally granny's regular dose of mahabharatham and raja harishchandran during power cut..
all of us cousins trying to outsmart each other by filling in when granny forgot something (like its vichitraveeryan, not chitrangadhan and stuff)

Those were the best days of my life...

Thanks a lot for bringing those memories back...

And yeah, keep writing.

m said...

hey,i too think about all the summer holidays i used to spend at my mothers house...sleeping in on room on the floor with a whole lotta cousins,getting up ,drinking the bournvita granmas prepared and raring to go...
roaming all around the rubber thottams,wetting feet in the streams,climbing trees,plucking champakka and perakka(guava) as if ur life depended on it..
those were some days!!my only wish for kerala is that the beautiful places like these remain just the way they are..