My nanima's home was a tiny little shack.It had red floorings like most of the old fashioned homes built in the 50s.It had 1 hall,one porch and 1 inner room where the suitcases were placed.It was the changing room,store room and I remember it had a very dim light maybe 20 watts.You could hardly see your ownself.It has a kitchen area,tiny one which had such blackened walls with all that cooking over fire.It didnt have a toilet but later on thanks to my dad and our constant crying during our visits,he paid for a bathroom and toilet and a tap as well.
What I loved about this place despite its modest setting,was it was 2 minutes away from a river.Dont know which it is now,but it was a gorgeous river.Coconut trees growing all by its side and the abundant clams and fish and crabs.
I would wake up every morning,brush my teeth,wash my face and run to the shore.AN early morning visit is not advisable coz you see the whole village paying it a visit,the ones with no toilets at home.It took me a while to shake this horrifying images of uncles and aunties holding a small lota of water and doing namaskara,Ahem ahem ! As you must have guessed,I didnt know at first,so I paid a closer visit.
But despite it all,I loved the river a lot.I took so many baths in it(after being told tht things were buried and not left to sail),I went shell picking which was a big thing in tht village.The way the water shone when the rays of the sun fell on it,the sound of tiny waves hitting the shore,tiny kids playing by the beach,the feeling of sand between your toes,the coolness of the water during the summer season in the morning...It was amazing!
Breakfast was usually tea and rusks,sometimes eggs.Water was being pulled out of the well and put into the bath drums.I loved the well.Looking into,screaming my name into it,pulling the water out into kolsos.ANd many a times,I would tell myself that someday I will be thanking my stars for enjoying this life.This phase,this simplicity.
Women wearing nightgowns with sari underskirts and their high tight buns.They would walk into the fields to do their daily chores of planting and seeding and pulling crops out.We were the odd ones out cause with all the chocolates we had been choking on as kids,we had absolutely no energy compared to the local kids.One step into that water laden mushy fields and I would eeeeeee and Oooooooo n yuckkkkkkkhhhh.They would be bent on thier backs for hours doing their daily work and I could hear my joints and back grinding with each other in 5 minutes.I wasnt expected to do anything but I wanted to be a part of it.In the end,I would be sitting at the side of the field while my cousins mocked me and my healthy "never done a day's work in life" body.
You could usually see me running along the beach,sleeping over grass patches,watching the clouds going by.People who knew us dreaded us.Cant they even do one little thing? How lazy can they get? Excuse me people,if I never did the dishes,or pulled out water or walk barefoot or wash clothes.But I eventually did.I learnt to wash my clothes -thanks to hostel life,learnt to pull out water-thanks to hindi movies and Sri Devi,learnt to run barefoot -thanks to indian movies portraying village life.I gathered little wood for fire - thanks to my cousins who always did it.
Beedi making was another part of life in our Nanima's household.I sat with them sometimes,even though,by the time I made one,my aunt made 4.I would think that one day in future as I will drench myself in luxury and read in books that people used to do this and that,I could smile and say,I have done it.
Actually,living in that village taught me many things.To be humble,to be happy with what little you have and no matter how rich one is or isnt,family politics is just about everywhere.You learn you dont need every machine to keep your life going.I walk into households of friends and they have dryers,automatic machines,etc.They dont struggle that much at all coz if you can afford it then why not !
Back then I would sit and watch the beautiful sunset for hours on end and find peace within myself.Now its like I would have to drink tequilla to find that peace.Or maybe marriage or running a family is not that small a responsibility.
I miss that place now.Those memories are relived in my mind every waking day.The saltiness of the sea in the air is enough to flood all those wonderful memories back.
I actually started out to write something and ended up with something else.Suzaan,you should rearrange your thinking rail ka patri.It keeps changing lanes.
I miss my gammi.SHe must be 86 years old now.
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