Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exploring my Roots

Eid Mubarak! Today's the first day of Eid, and if I were back in the Emirates, it would be just the beginning of a three day long holiday. But I'm in Singapore and I get only one day off (Thank God for at least one day!), which should be spent in productive work, but that's boring, so I procrastinated quite a bit, this post being just another example of that. Anyway, it's been drizzling and I spent a little time watching the rain fall against my windowpane. And, it brought back memories of Kerala, and I knew I just had to write about home. Kerala, a narrow sliver along the peninsula, nestled at the south western corner of India, evokes so many memories.

My roots are in Kerala, but I really haven't got an opportunity to explore my roots. Spending the first few years of my childhood in Ooty, and then Bangalore and Dehra Dun, a majority of my teen years were in the Middle East. As a result, Kerala was just a holiday destination, where I spent not more than a week, due to the fact that a lot of my relatives don't reside in the state. It just struck me how little I know of my own state. Pardon the regional parochialism, but this post is really about a sense of longing to go back and discover one's roots, spurred by some favorite Kerala memories of mine.

As I listened to the gentle drizzle outside, I remembered my holidays in Palakkad. One distinct memory- I was in Grade 10 at that time, and I had to study, even during the vacations. I remember mugging facts on Indian temples for Social Science, sitting in the front verandah of Raji valiamma's house, watching the fierce rain swathe everything around in white. Good old times. (On a side note, I'm still using the same folder for my notes- except this time instead of Geetha Ma'am's helpful notes, I have complex stuff on accounting and auditing and risk management. Not that these notes aren't useful- I need to work on them. Who knows, the good luck might rub off :)) Another memory is visiting the family shrine in the village of Kollengode, on the outskirts of Palakkad town. I really used to look forward to it, since it was probably one of the rare occasions where I got a chance to don the paavadai thavani. How superficial, right!

And how could I forget the annual trips to the temple town of Guruvayoor? I think I've been going there almost every year- Appa and Amma make it a point not to miss the trip. Even while working on this post, I can visualize the smiling statue of the Lord in the garba griha... Hopefully, I'll get to go there again next year. A random memory associated with Guruvayoor is an old shop that was right outside the temple. As a child, I used to be proud that it had the same name as me- Krishna Sruthy, spelt with a 'y' instead of an 'i', but spelling doesn't matter, I used to tell myself. A few years later, I was disappointed that 'my shop' no longer existed.

Returning to Coimbatore from Guruvayoor, we sometimes stopped by at Thrissur. What was the purpose of halting there, you might ask? Usually, it was to drop in at Pulimootil/Emmanuval Silks, near the bus stand, where Amma could compare prices of pattu saris and see whether they were as good as the Chennai Silks saris. 'Why no discount?', she would ask, 'In Coimbatore, all shops have aadi discount- You should also do something like that, alengil all of them will go to Tamil Nadu!'

Another favorite memory is the trip from my Valiacha's house in Kochi to Vallickavu. We would set out early in the morning, around 5 or 6 am, and then drive down south. Upon reaching Kollam, we would drive parallel to the beach and arrive at the village of Vallickavu. Taking a boat, we would then cross the backwaters and reach the Amritapuri ashram on the other side. The smell of the sea in the breeze, the calm backwaters in the vicinity, the tune of familiar bhajans played on the harmonium and the wonderful prospect of a hug from dear Ammachi, it was something I really looked forward to.

Just a couple of days ago, a friend with a 'fascination' for Kerala and I were discussing a potential Kerala trip. We would explore Kerala together, we vowed. I certainly have a lot to explore for myself- watch the velichappad, witness the Thrissur pooram, hike in the hills of Wayanad, visit the world's richest temple in Trivandrum (not Tirupati!), travel along the coast to Kanya Kumari, explore Malabar (my visit there has been limited to the Calicut airport), and truly witness the meaning of the popular Usha Uthup song, 'Ente Keralam, Ethre Sundaram'. Here's to that day when I get to explore my roots!

Should stop here. My textbooks are begging to be read.

6 comments:

  1. This post made me nostalgic too. Not being able to experience one's own 'backyard' is the price that one pays for being a third culture kid. I have also been longing to witness the Thrissur Pooram and the Nemmara Vela, travel by jeep from Gudalur to Calicut through the Wynad hills, watch the famous Vallam kali during Onam to think of a few things to do! We shall, Inshallah, one day emabark on these journeys. Remember, we have our own place in Palakkad.....So here's to God's own country and our trip to the same...cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh just remembered Appa- need to explore the Synagogue at Mattancherry also- years of visiting Kochi and still haven't gone there. *Sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am from Thrissur, hardly 25 kms from Guruvayoor :D

    Your post reminded me of how I used to look at Kerala, as a kid. Of course, I came from the 'Gelf' to settle down (for good) when I was nine. So, you could say I explored a lot more too :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nelliampathy near Palakkad was a place which I always had in mind. I always used to wonder why I am crazy about visiting the place. Like all myriad reasons, this too was inexplicable. I finally made the trip and I must say it was really worth it. There are a lot of beautiful places in Kerala awaiting exploration. Go ahead...discover, explore :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I sometimes have this urge to go visit a place just because something is attractive about the name.
    Nelliampathy in Kerala was one such place and I finally did visit the place and it was fabulous. I guess humans have this innate urge to travel and your native instinct makes you to explore your native place :)
    Go ahead, explore, discover....

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Vinitha, I love the drive from Palakkad to Guruvayoor through Thrissur! Since my parents are still in the Gelf, I guess my exploring Kerala has a long way to go!

    @Karthietta, you've told me so much about this Nelliampathy place that I'm absolutely craving to go there NOW. And am stuck in Singapore for another month or so. hmph.

    ReplyDelete

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exploring my Roots

Eid Mubarak! Today's the first day of Eid, and if I were back in the Emirates, it would be just the beginning of a three day long holiday. But I'm in Singapore and I get only one day off (Thank God for at least one day!), which should be spent in productive work, but that's boring, so I procrastinated quite a bit, this post being just another example of that. Anyway, it's been drizzling and I spent a little time watching the rain fall against my windowpane. And, it brought back memories of Kerala, and I knew I just had to write about home. Kerala, a narrow sliver along the peninsula, nestled at the south western corner of India, evokes so many memories.

My roots are in Kerala, but I really haven't got an opportunity to explore my roots. Spending the first few years of my childhood in Ooty, and then Bangalore and Dehra Dun, a majority of my teen years were in the Middle East. As a result, Kerala was just a holiday destination, where I spent not more than a week, due to the fact that a lot of my relatives don't reside in the state. It just struck me how little I know of my own state. Pardon the regional parochialism, but this post is really about a sense of longing to go back and discover one's roots, spurred by some favorite Kerala memories of mine.

As I listened to the gentle drizzle outside, I remembered my holidays in Palakkad. One distinct memory- I was in Grade 10 at that time, and I had to study, even during the vacations. I remember mugging facts on Indian temples for Social Science, sitting in the front verandah of Raji valiamma's house, watching the fierce rain swathe everything around in white. Good old times. (On a side note, I'm still using the same folder for my notes- except this time instead of Geetha Ma'am's helpful notes, I have complex stuff on accounting and auditing and risk management. Not that these notes aren't useful- I need to work on them. Who knows, the good luck might rub off :)) Another memory is visiting the family shrine in the village of Kollengode, on the outskirts of Palakkad town. I really used to look forward to it, since it was probably one of the rare occasions where I got a chance to don the paavadai thavani. How superficial, right!

And how could I forget the annual trips to the temple town of Guruvayoor? I think I've been going there almost every year- Appa and Amma make it a point not to miss the trip. Even while working on this post, I can visualize the smiling statue of the Lord in the garba griha... Hopefully, I'll get to go there again next year. A random memory associated with Guruvayoor is an old shop that was right outside the temple. As a child, I used to be proud that it had the same name as me- Krishna Sruthy, spelt with a 'y' instead of an 'i', but spelling doesn't matter, I used to tell myself. A few years later, I was disappointed that 'my shop' no longer existed.

Returning to Coimbatore from Guruvayoor, we sometimes stopped by at Thrissur. What was the purpose of halting there, you might ask? Usually, it was to drop in at Pulimootil/Emmanuval Silks, near the bus stand, where Amma could compare prices of pattu saris and see whether they were as good as the Chennai Silks saris. 'Why no discount?', she would ask, 'In Coimbatore, all shops have aadi discount- You should also do something like that, alengil all of them will go to Tamil Nadu!'

Another favorite memory is the trip from my Valiacha's house in Kochi to Vallickavu. We would set out early in the morning, around 5 or 6 am, and then drive down south. Upon reaching Kollam, we would drive parallel to the beach and arrive at the village of Vallickavu. Taking a boat, we would then cross the backwaters and reach the Amritapuri ashram on the other side. The smell of the sea in the breeze, the calm backwaters in the vicinity, the tune of familiar bhajans played on the harmonium and the wonderful prospect of a hug from dear Ammachi, it was something I really looked forward to.

Just a couple of days ago, a friend with a 'fascination' for Kerala and I were discussing a potential Kerala trip. We would explore Kerala together, we vowed. I certainly have a lot to explore for myself- watch the velichappad, witness the Thrissur pooram, hike in the hills of Wayanad, visit the world's richest temple in Trivandrum (not Tirupati!), travel along the coast to Kanya Kumari, explore Malabar (my visit there has been limited to the Calicut airport), and truly witness the meaning of the popular Usha Uthup song, 'Ente Keralam, Ethre Sundaram'. Here's to that day when I get to explore my roots!

Should stop here. My textbooks are begging to be read.

6 comments:

  1. This post made me nostalgic too. Not being able to experience one's own 'backyard' is the price that one pays for being a third culture kid. I have also been longing to witness the Thrissur Pooram and the Nemmara Vela, travel by jeep from Gudalur to Calicut through the Wynad hills, watch the famous Vallam kali during Onam to think of a few things to do! We shall, Inshallah, one day emabark on these journeys. Remember, we have our own place in Palakkad.....So here's to God's own country and our trip to the same...cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh just remembered Appa- need to explore the Synagogue at Mattancherry also- years of visiting Kochi and still haven't gone there. *Sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am from Thrissur, hardly 25 kms from Guruvayoor :D

    Your post reminded me of how I used to look at Kerala, as a kid. Of course, I came from the 'Gelf' to settle down (for good) when I was nine. So, you could say I explored a lot more too :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nelliampathy near Palakkad was a place which I always had in mind. I always used to wonder why I am crazy about visiting the place. Like all myriad reasons, this too was inexplicable. I finally made the trip and I must say it was really worth it. There are a lot of beautiful places in Kerala awaiting exploration. Go ahead...discover, explore :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I sometimes have this urge to go visit a place just because something is attractive about the name.
    Nelliampathy in Kerala was one such place and I finally did visit the place and it was fabulous. I guess humans have this innate urge to travel and your native instinct makes you to explore your native place :)
    Go ahead, explore, discover....

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Vinitha, I love the drive from Palakkad to Guruvayoor through Thrissur! Since my parents are still in the Gelf, I guess my exploring Kerala has a long way to go!

    @Karthietta, you've told me so much about this Nelliampathy place that I'm absolutely craving to go there NOW. And am stuck in Singapore for another month or so. hmph.

    ReplyDelete