Monday, 27 February 2012

Memoirs of three musketeers!

The open terrace was my favorite hideout...be it escaping the wrath of mother or plain 'quality' time planning pranks! It has seen a pig tailed, jumping jack, metamorphose into someone who she is or pretends to be, today. The long evenings where we siblings played hide and seek, the precious family moon lit dinners we had on full moon nights and my maiden dish hidden under the water tank- banana halwa in the tava with the spoon sticking to it...the terrace has seen much of my haphazard nomadic childhood days. 

I lust love food! I was so mad about my favorite dishes that i would spend hours together planning to 'steal' them from the kitchen and replenish them in leisure at the most unlikeliest of places- a dark store room of Grandma's house, the ladder entry and at times, beneath the stair case. Have you ever tasted horlicks loaded sprinkled on lukewarm water and lifted off from a spoon tip? How about little darling brother's wheat- apple flavor cerelac, whisked away from the baby shelf? The yummy taste of cerelac tickling the tastebuds and lingering long after the meal in the mouth is just heavenly! Not to forget the Amul milk powder, mango complan, kissan mixed fruit jam...Mother had a real tough time figuring out- how only these bottles and jars went missing and reappeared again in the kitchen with contents missing. The culprit was finally nailed one day under the staircase with mouthful of horlicks, still sticking to every part of her face!

Kudikka vendam, apdiye sapidalam ( Need not drink, eat as such!)
And i am an ardent pet- lover, PETA can sign me their next brand ambassador. I loved pets so much that i tried growing a peacock from a tiny peacock feather, kept hidden in my science book with a few pieces of broken rice grains! I truly believed the tender feather would one day 'bear' a child- a peacock:) My little tin pencil box always held a little critter of red velvet bugs with a few strands of grass. Every morning i tried in vain to 'breed' them in captivity, locking them up in my pencil box on the way to school and in the evenings i sadly let them out, their head count clearly being the same. Seeing my mad love for pets, mother finally let me grow a rabbit and one fine morning i brought home a black rabbit which no one chose from the pet shop. Blackie was an instant hit at home, i almost spent every living moment with her, until one morning when she was forcefully 'sacrificed' to a cat. I tried to ward off the feline, but was then rushed to a Doctor who gave me an injection for feline bite! Poor cat, i don't know if she ever lived after biting me!
Red velvet bug that refused to breed in my pencil box!
Peacock feather that ate rice grains but never  gave birth to a peacock!
I was an excellent swimmer, a thorough professional! Ask Lakshmi akka ( sister) who pulled me out half dead from the deep end of the swimming pool where i had jumped unassuming. Probably, nervous of the single piece chaste swimsuit that adorned my tiny frame. It was a hot summer afternoon that i sneaked out after lunch to the Madura Coats Colony at the edge of the mountains. The colony boasted of a swimming pool and being a village belle interested in spreading her wings, i pleaded with Lakshmi akka to teach me swimming. We planned a short swimming lesson and i looked with secret abomination, at the brown nondescript single piece swim suit. Donning it and draped in a pool towel, i tiptoed to the end of the pool where akka was busy with her brisk laps. As i neared the edge of the pool, i saw the pool boy cleaning the pathway. Girlish desire to show off made a mad rush of adrenaline hit my brains and i just dived in. Poor me, i failed to notice the " DEEP END" sign board. God knows how the fellow must have laughed his head off ( I heard he had to be warded off) seeing a trembling me, pulled out of the water! Father still reminisces how he had to pull me out of water as a small kid when i went diving head first, in the river. He says amidst the laughter- " All we could see was her bloated tummy shining in the water surface".  Ha! I wish i had drowned then. I can remember this story being recounted a number of times to visitors and friends that i almost have memorized every sentence of his narrative by-heart! Bah! Swimming is not my forte...

Nevertheless, God gifted me the ability to cycle long distances and an atlas cycle too! My bright red painted companion was more than a friend who always stood by me- when i wanted to show off before the handsomest guy of the class, the tyre burst! When i wished it could go faster than the 'full sleeved hunk' driving the motorbike, the chain slipped. And when i wanted to bunk classes during a bus strike, mother would force me on its seat and show her breezy 'ta ta!' I cycled fourteen kilometers to and back from school everyday and loved every bit of the crisp mountain air and the green paddy fields that whizzed by. I even had a secret hideout in the nearby waterfall where i could go in my cycle and weep my eye balls out! A howling session followed by a refreshing bath in the waterfall refreshed me and i was ready for more heart ache! I loved to hangout in the company of my best pals, a set of baboons scratching their backs on the rocks. Once i was shooed away by the leader as i refused to show my back to them for scratching! No lice, you see! 
My favorite  spot- Agasthiar Waterfall
I was an outdoorsy girl and i loved plenty of fresh air. I plucked raw jujubes from wild plants and ate them. I feasted on banyan fruits, sans the wiggling worms in it. I played with soottukkai ( a nut that we used to rub on stone that produced great heat, when touched with a rubbed stone one would get blisters!) and collected kunnimuthu ( a red and black pod from a wild plant). Then there were other games grand mother was forced to play with us on summer afternoons- dhayam ( a game akin to ludo), pallankuzhi ( a game with beads or tamarind nuts filled in wooden box with perforations) and how to forget- marbles and spinning tops. I was a champ with marbles and tops, i used to beat all the guys of the street. And slowly cricket crept into our group.I remember mother once chased me around two streets, trying to skin me alive, for playing cricket with the boys on the street! As usual, i escaped climbing on the guava tree:) Ah...the guava tree! I am particularly fond of guava trees, they are so easy to climb and the branches are brittle, they break easily too. I can remember hanging onto dear life after a branch snapped and i waited almost half an hour yelling hysterically, to be  rescued by my grandfather who came running with a ladder. 
Pallankuzhi!


My favorite pastime on Sundays was obviously - sleeping in the church! I spent Sunday morning masses in a bliss of half sleep and half unconsciousness. Mother aroused me by a strong pinch in the middle of the mass. I even had a special pillar ear-marked for my sleep, to bang my head on...I loved the Sunday market where i used to doggedly follow mother buying vegetables. Most of all i was crazy about my siblings- two wonderful guys who stand always by me and who were always my trouble mongers partners! We played together on the streets, we broke clocks at home together, we smashed tape cots and sofas, we chucked idlis on the loft, we cooked a banana halwa that refused to come off the tava, - we grew together and were aptly termed the 'three musketeers' by mother. 
The three musketeers- in full form!
Today, when i find my son and daughter brooding over their homework and roaming around the locked up home, all i can think is- i am faring a poor mother. They are missing out the cycle, the swims, the waterfalls, the mountains. I am planning to buy new cycles for my little children and will be letting them 'free' this summer. Hope they find out their secret hideout and bawl their eyes out! Growing up is after all, FUN!!!

p.s.: This post is written as an entry to The Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest by Kissan and Indiblogger
p.p.s.: If you are really interested in knowing about my hometown, click here!


34 comments:

  1. Wow, truly a refreshing short trip back in time. Enjoyed every part of this as I could relate almost every incident with my childhood days. I too had my escapades with the bottles of horlicks, and I really had a difficult time removing it when it sticks to the upper part of my mouth, and that too when mom appears suddenly from nowhere.

    My peacock feather 'ate' shreds you get by sharpening pencils.

    Pity these days' kids missing the cycles, mountains, waterfalls, gillis, golis, etc, but hope they have their way of enjoying their moments of innocence.

    Should use this time machine often to get refreshed.

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    1. Thanks a ton, dear Vijayan! Seeing you here after a long time, may be nostalgic posts pull you out here;) Never knew peacock feathers ate pencil shreds! Hoping to roll out on the time machine often:)))

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  2. Subbulakshmi Mugilan28 February 2012 at 02:11

    wowww.. sooper ka.. loved reading this post.. kinda rekindled my childhood days.feeling more relaxed and happy. the peacock feather, the red velvet bugs, horlicks, dhaayam, pallaangkuzhi,the crisp air and clean water at our native place, fun play at the streets with friends..oooh hoo.. those days are really memorable. Kids of this generation are missing tht a lot.. they hv become more like e-kids..
    me too.. want my son to be free and explore his secret hideouts :)
    You really are an excellent writer ka.. read few of your blog posts.. excellent. liked the "maid in hell"..
    keep up your good work..

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    1. Thanks a ton, dear Subbu! Glad you could remember all these in detail:) The gushing waters of Tamirabarani and the lush green carpet of fields- makes me wonder what i am doing here at times:( Thanks for the complement, do keep reading and commenting here!

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    2. Ah...forgot to tell you, "Maid in hell" got me my first cash award blogging, Rs.1500!

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  3. Best wishes.
    That is a very nicely written piece.Chilhood memories are the sweetest and one can be lost in them for any length of time.You have brought before my minds eye the scenes as they were.I have also gone through the same without ofcourse the scenic spots of Vikramasingapuram.The hills,the river,water falls and vast carpets of green fields are things you had been blessed with.

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    1. Thanks for the comment KP! Glad you could relate to your childhood memories too. And i am feeling awful missing all that greenery and nature these days:(

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  4. Beautiful post..thoroughly enjoyed the pranks of one of the Three Musketeers. Agree with you these days kids don't have the freedom to explore nature like we did!

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    1. Thanks for the comment, dear Bemoneyaware. Welcome to my blog:)

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  5. Its so beautiful reliving those times through memories!! HORLICKS reminded me of the time me and my brother would sneak in the kitchen and steal it and eat it :D. We knew our mother would give us if we ask, but the joy of stealing it together was different!
    and the last pic! BEAUTIFUL! :)

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    1. So, et tu brute? LOL!!! Thieves:D Thanks for the comment, Red. Yes, that is the only picture i could get of my childhood years with the three of us actually posing:P

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  6. Aww....Loved this! I was never fond of horlicks, complan, in short any health drinks but my siblings had just the way you described it. I remember collecting peacock feathers and I do that even now. Even I remember climbing on tress but thankfully I never fell.
    Today kids are busy with playstations, ipad, laptops.
    All the best for the contest.
    Your hometown sounds so much fun!

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    1. CD...thanks a ton for the comment. You too a good climber, then?:P Still collecting peacock feathers? How sweet:) Thanks for the wishes.

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  7. Wow, CN! What a sweet post, childhood memories do tend to fade away with time but they are also the sweetest that we have in our memory closet. And then you were so lucky to have spent it in open environs. Very well written, I could visualize it all, Best wishes for the contest :)

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    1. Hey Arti, thanks a lot for the comment. Yes, i was indeed lucky to have spent lot of quality time outdoors. Thanks for the wishes:)

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  8. 1.hats off! for ur affinity for ur HOME SOIL and hoarding it and Boastin it .of course thats the spirit.
    2. The open terrace -Hide & seek- Moonlight dinners wer all sacrificed to watchin dinners with SELVI/kolangal .....
    3.PEACOCK FEATHERS-Red velvet bug - wer fun/mystery of our times .. today i teach tem to my own kids.
    4.Not knowing SWIMMING -brought up in a river bed is contradictory.

    5.cycling skills- i think u had writn VERSE on tat...
    6.JUJUBES-(ELanthapaZham i think).. ppl may nt knowit even..for now.
    7.soottukkai -Kunnimuthu- why forget VEPPANKOTTAI and find blood bleeding.. and whn ever a kokku flies...we beleive tat it had left a white mark on our hands.
    8.by missing PALLANKULI, THAYAM gals of today wer missing some thing of their LIFE STYLE of that TEENAGES..
    9.Dont worry our kids wil hav some thing to write on SOME THING THEY ENJOYED whic their kids do nt hav a chance to get exposed or to enjoy.
    10.Top of all -PPPl of our ages had love with FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS and used PHYSICAL OBJECTS.(repeat JUS "USED") .hw ever ppl born after 1987 Jus LOV "OBJ and Gadgets " and jus Uses fellow humans..ths s wat really painful.
    11.the moments of our child hood days( u wrote) jus created a shortfilm in my mind.
    12.why Agasthiar falls,Volley court, Quiz forums,did nt find a place...rgds

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    1. Hey Anonymous, thanks for the detailed comment:) I love the way you analyse the entire post. You are my best critic, so far! See the pic of Agasthiar falls. Quiz contests and volley court- of course, i still remember them, but couldn't write too much in confined space. May be in another separate post on school, perhaps?;)

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  9. lovely post and picture is so sweet.....all the best for the contest

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    1. Thank you Seema! Welcome to my blog:)

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  10. This post drives me back tomy childhood...n yeaah i still prefer horlicks in its original form :-P.. all the best for the contest!

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  11. Dear Madrasi, thanks for being here, babe! Hahaha, i am seeing many more people who adore horlicks in its original form:P

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  12. A very sweet post. Good luck with the contest

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    1. Thanks a ton for the comment and wishes, SRS:)

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  13. VK Puram sounds like heaven...Mountains, waterfalls, fruit laden trees. Gosh! I am so jealous of you.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Purba! Growing up amid such greenery and love was indeed a blessing which i understood very late:(

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  14. ah the cerelac!! n guess wat??? apple is my fav flavor too!!
    nice post, thank you 4 reminding ,, will get cerelac asap!!

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    1. Hey buzzzzzzzz...thanks for the comment. LOL! You too a fan of apple cerelac?:P

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  15. Hmmm....It was nice...There was a touch of nostalgia, of course. But the best part was the style of writing, the crisp n subtly witty tone.....I won't be surprised if you bag the prize this time :)

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    1. Hi Ritesh...welcome to my blog and thanks a ton for the sweet comment:) Glad you liked the style of writing and hope i could bag the coveted trip to nature:)))

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  16. Your mom has a right name for you musketeers! Hats off! you have lived your life every inch, which the modern kids may never dream of! The modern Kids are just wasting their childhood with TV's and video games, except a few who are enjoying their cricket!

    I like your way of presentation, I just realize what I have missed in my life! Even now, I am just running behind money, and what did it bring to me?

    Thank you CN for reminding, there is something else to live with, other thatn what we are going with..!

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    1. Thanks a ton for the comment, Janaki. Yes, we had a much pampered and wild childhood. May be those formative years helped shape my character. Wish you could live your life, atleast in future:) Good luck!

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  17. Loved every bit of this post...made me go in rewind mode :)

    For my brother and me it was bournvita and cashews...my mom wud go mad seeing empty jars of both..just after the day she had filled them :D :D

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    1. Ah...glad i could send you back in the time machine:) Nostalgic, right? Imagining your mom looking at empty jars...hahaha...nothing different from my own Mom:P Thanks for the comment Zackandme:)

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  18. What is the affinity of kids to horlicks and cerelac. I stole a ton of it too, though I would prefer lactogen any day. Lovely post. Brought back a load of memories.

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