Nostalgia runs in weird directions.
I noticed that the mango tree that grew mangoes with a blush of red on their cheek was cut down. I got out and ran to the eastern side of the house to go stand in front of our guava tree, the one, the 4 of us, cousins, used to climb during our summer vacations. The really tall mango tree in the front courtyard was the one my grandfather had our really long swings hung from. Although, the adjacent taller mango tree of a different breed and the jack fruit trees in the backyard are still around, these two trees hold special memories.
These two trees in our immediate courtyard and then a cashew tree in the adjacent courtyard. The thing with these cashew trees is, their branches grow sideways to some length longer than other trees. So if we happen to sit on the very tip far removed from the trunk, the branch swings.
Memories of climbing the guava tree armed with freshly plucked raw mangoes, some salt, some chilli powder and a knife; a tree where the 4 of us used to climb in, play house, jump down, climb up, hide in.. sleep on…relax, so many lovely afternoons … most of the times accompanied by our child care takers in tow.
Nostalgia pulls me to that mango tree, that guava tree and the cashew tree. 3 trees, 3 directions, a store house of memories, three times over.
Our summer vacation began with the ride that way with my maternal uncle, most often. Our parents followed later. We used to cross three big bridges.
Our kutty* backpacks filled with chocolates and biscuits, and bottles of juice everyday in morning from our grandfather. And images of a grandmother and her man Friday standing on the bank from nowhere the minute we jumped into the lake and came back up for air!
Childhood was fun. In the beginning, we were two of us, 2 girl cousins, the boy cousin made this cousin holiday party, a trio. It was the three of us for a long time until a few years later, the other 3 came along; our younger siblings, and a younger brother to our boy cousin. Together, the 6 of us, 3 girls and three boys enjoyed our holidays to the hilt.
The younger ones born after our bunch of 6 did not get to see the farms and farm hands in action, the sowing, harvesting, husking, boiling of rice grains… or walk around under an umbrella with our grandfather inspecting the fields… or sit in a tractor, or run across coconut trunk bridges to cross little canals or sleep on a bed of coconut leaves under the canopy of tamarind trees.
The grass has grown taller, there are fewer trees, I really can’t recognize the mango trees assigned to me or any one of us or whether there are trees at all… the parasites, cuscuta or/and loranthes seem to overwhelm the remaining trees and their canopies, the grass seems to have over powered the natural hedges of the pineapple bushes.
My thoughts travel back to that time. Our grounds remain laden with memories in my head, I’m sure in theirs as well.
*kutty backpacks meaning small backpacks. Kutty in Malayalam is used in many contexts to refer to children or those born later, as a form of endearment, at times a form of address; sometimes, even as a proper noun as somebody’s name, Mr. & Mrs. Kutty.
Blogathon ’16 Day 15 (Half way)