SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Many Connections Later...





Snippets of memories swirl through my mind...after all the past is retained in our neurons as impressions, chemical pathways that reignite as we browse back into the realms of our childhood, teen, adulthood, to extract those Real moments of being connected.

Flashback...
Lethargic Chennai summer spent with Paati in a one room tenement, in Tamil that was known as "ondu kuduthanam"; where a rich landlord would sublet rooms in his property to others from his same community/caste. (I am sure it exists even now in quintessential Mylapore)...
Thats where this story takes us as well...to Paati in her traditional nine yards, a widow, in her one room/ kitchen kept spic and span, in the by lanes of Mylapore near the Kappali temple...our summer retreat.
There was so much to do; playing Daya kattai (Ludo), or Palankhuzhi (I don't even know the English equivalent for this) with her in the afternoons, Paandi (hopscotch) in the evenings, jumping walls to play cricket with the  neighbor, or walking into the other tenements to eat with the aunties there....

Feeling very privileged to be allowed into the House Owners inner rooms. Like those houses they show in old Tamil movies, rooms used to pop out from nowhere...long winding steps to upper chambers, more rooms, big balconies. My sister and I have even got lost there once....

Vividly remember having to enter this house through their kitchen, we used to walk...nee...tiptoe through like we were untouchables....all because we felt honoured to be allowed to play inside...

The reason for that was that we had made friends with 2 girls (daughters of Family A and Family B) that lived in that grand house (there were so many who lived in that house, I never could figure out who belonged to whom...not that I cared for that too much!)

We played and played cards, endlessly....carrom too I think ...but I forget... the greater advantage was that we were allowed to sit inside and watch TV in the evenings...

Eating extremely sour buttermilk and rice at night, kept in special porcelain jars by Paati, as she did not have any fridge...

Trudging with her every evening to Kappali temple and Parthasarathy temple...to spend the whole evening watching the world go by, while she gossiped with friends...or sitting through Kalakshepams ( religious storytelling), hosted by the temple....enthralled by the music, the energy, the smells, the crowd, the stories.... 

Innocently tagging along with her as accomplices to watch latest Tamil blockbusters at the Kapali Theatre, matinee or noon show I think...eating whatever she bought us from the vendor there...

Parents blissfully unaware what we were up to, no cell phones or daily check ins...mostly if Father was passing by he would drop in to see if everything was ok or if we wanted anything, ...till he decided we had had a good enough break and took us back (break for us or for them??)...

Take us back to our 3 bedroom bungalow...Oh yes, my father was a wealthy man...and even had his own car!!...(and we were all of 6 and 7 years at this time, my mother having delivered her 3rd baby!!) 

Connected...real...no whining...no missing...
just experiences...living...adventure...
memories...strange maybe...but so alive

 More memories...
Of sitting on strangers lap while traveling on lugubrious Mail trains to Mumbai (nay Bombay).
Chattering, asking, questioning...boring them maybe...yet no feeling of doubt or lack of trust...so accepting and allowing...


Many many afternoons spent climbing the wall, throwing stones at gooseberries on the neighbors tree...scrambling to pick them up and jump back safely in...

Learning to cycle on a borrowed Hero (adult sized)...on roads that luckily had no traffic...

So many, many connected days...

 (A blog post for Kissan-Indiblogger; 100% Real experiences...Thanks Asha!