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.