He arose from the alum-moodu and walked through the narrow village lane, with an unpainted mossy brick wall on one side and a labyrinth thorn fence, a mullu veli on the other side. There was a konna and a mango tree towering above which had abundantly showered their flowers on the path.. the yellow konna and the tiny cream coloured mango flowers ~ there were also few little new born mangoes that had dropped down in their infancy itself, among the fallen leaves. There was a moist fragrance of fresh mangoes in the air: the few coconut trees swayed in the winds. Gentle sunlight on the path cast mobile shadows. A cow mooed: A calf called back. The sparrows on the tamarind tree twittered in morning bliss. A stray local dog just lifted its right hind leg wondering whether to, but decided not to, sniffed grass as if it was new fragrance, then walked on ~ the way was long, endless.
Seamless nostalgia suffused into his seamless sensorium
The country boats, streams, banks of rivers, fields in green evading cool breeze, ducks, cows, roosters and hen~~ he wondered which other village path he should traverse along. .He walked past the giant hibiscus with innumerable flowers and continued through shadows in sunlight, towards the stream.
Further on, he turned to the left and found an old naalukettu. Meomries gushed into his being ~ the days he had stayed played and studied,.there. ~ his grandmother who made therattippaal and chakka varatti for him, to whom Chottanikkara Bhaghavathy was a visible Deity.. His grandfather who taught him music, the cows Gowri, Shantha ~ Radha who gave him jasmines everyday and roses when she could.~ her beautiful smile ~ memories crowding crowding repeating repeating ~ he inhaled the past all around him.
Suddenly the dawn sun fell into his eyes. He squirmed
and opened his eyes again. He walked through a mango grove walked onto the culvert: The water was clear, oozing with sunlight and trickling of liquid landscapes for local fishes.
An old woman came from the other side and asked, him
“From Kizhakke madom? ”
“Ah! Kanthimathi manni’s grandson Lakshmi akka’s son
Ramakrishnan ~ Right or Hari ?
“Do you remember this old hag Echechu I worked in Kizhakke madom for my whole life.Our life was your ancestors’ charity. They were so kind. Both Kanthimathi manni and Lakshmi akka~ Oh ! How Many clothers she gave us and every time she came she would give me lots of money. ~ Those days fifty ruppees was a lot of money.Your father got jobs for two of my sons Keshavan and Shivan and my daughter Shantha. I never forget good things done. I have even bathed your mother when she was an infant. Just wait a moment here:I will be back.”
Ramakrishnan watched the sunlight and sun blazing the cool waters. There were many types of fishes. A rooster from nearby made an unusual crow
Echechu returned with a bunch of just ripe jnali-ppoovan pazhams: He received it and gave her a hundred ruppee note from his pocket. She refused to accept it at first. But when he insistently requested her, to treat it as if it was his mother's gift to her, she accepted it.
“Please tell Lakshmi akka about me, Yes Kanthimath manni is gone to Chottanikkara Devi ~ How many great stories she told me. Daivame.”
He bid her farewell and walked back along the path
a cow was grazing
with a crow on its back ~
a woodpecker’s call
Sunlight and leaves weaved a floral canopy on the road in the cool breeze. His mind was filled with inevitable nostalgia for this village where his ancestors lived for five generations.
He walked on and saw three cranes pecking the green field, one on one leg. Crows were fluttering in random dreams on the blue sky. He crossed a stream with a stray dog. The sparrows made music in their inevitable mystic cosmoses. all around.
Then he turned the corner and discovered a swarm of yellow butterlies in their joyous ethereal dances
Two squirrels ascended the banyan tree seeking new perspectives and morning revelations.
He heard the late morning bell from the Shiva temple.
Burning lamps ~ camphor and agarbhathi fumes entered his being ~ He slowly walked towards the temple
shade of the banyan ~
dragonflies mused with
the local children
alum-moodu ~ the shade of the banyan: every village had an alum moodu those days!
mullu veli ~ thorn fence
konna ~ an auspicious yellow flowering tree that flowers arounf Vishu Malayalam new year!
naalukettu.~ the four sided ~ The classical architecture of kerala houses.
kizhakke madom ~ the eastern house
therattippaal ~ a sweet made with milk and sugar
chakka varatti ~ a sweet made of ripe jackfruit and jaggery
manni ~ elder brother’s wife ~ an address of respect to tamizh brahamin women.
akka ~ elder sister ~ name used by others to indicate respect to younger tamizh brahamin women.
jnali-ppoovan pazhams ~ a type of very sweet plantains special to keralam
Daivame ~ Oh! God!