June 16, 2008
I don’t think many of you have heard the place Kerala, the farthest tip of India, floating above the Arabian Sea. The majority of Keralites (or Malayalees, as their mother tongue is Malayalam) follow the Hindu religion and hmmm… I don’t know if muslims or christians come second. I live in a small village in Kerala, by the side of (my) river, Thutha.
Now in dubai, I sometimes feel running away from this traffic, ambulance sirens and lots of people, to that quite kingdom of mine. There are about 300 houses belonging to our same family – so anyone you meet on the street gets to be your cousin, uncle or aunt! There are no houses without farms, where they grow bananas, coconut palms, mango trees and so many others of which I don’t know the English names.Hmmm…..did u see my brothers and cousins? Evening brings all of them to our compound, along with a cricket bat or football and a lot of noise! Its the time for Umma(my mom) to shout at them for messing with her plants, for Baba(my dad) to shout at them for breaking the glasses of his car, for sis-in-law to shout at her kid for not obeying her! Plus the shout of the playing team!
And here is my nephew(now in Ohio) – a small man with big aims!!
Coming back to my village, its in a remote place of Kerala. I wouldn’t have been blogging here, if my Baba never got his job in UAE. There were only three of us in our village who has passed the high school exam the year I passed the exam! One of the other two is now a teacher in a local school in my village. Don’t know about the third. But now, the conditions has changed a lot, and there are so many students doing graduation and post graduation. What I love most about Moorkanad is the river that flows through it. During the rainy season, I just like to sit and watch the overflowing river, with trunks of trees, coconuts, banana trees and bamboo floating on it.
And when rain stops, kids get out of their homes with fishing rods – and our dining tables will be filled with freshwater fishes! I too have gone fishing when I was a kid, but without much success. I and my brothers were looked upon as some sort of expatriates in our village – as we didn’t know fishing, swimming and many games they played. My family returned back from UAE when my younger brother was some 10 years old, and has lived in Moorkanad since then. As he lived near the river for some years, my younger brother has his “masters” in fishing and swimming! He can catch a fish without a fishing rod – he keeps his hand motionless in water, and catches a fish when it comes close to his hand. Wow!! Marvelous that was!
Its June now, and as I said in my earlier post, After School Days, school and rain starts with June. In the local TV channels, you can see the ads of umbrellas along with that of school bags, books, pencils, pens and other school items. Its a beautiful scene to see kids around 4 or 5 years old go to school with multi-colored umbrellas and new uniforms.
I was one of them some 20 years back. But not with new umbrella! I went to UKG in Fujaira, UAE. On a sunny April morning. So umbrella was one of the things I missed when I lived in UAE. There are many things I missed with my life in UAE – the lullabies of my grandparents, the long night secret chat with cousins and many more. There are also so many things I gained – good education, understanding of multi-culture and yeah, the curiosity to know how people from other countries lives, thinks, acts, …
Ok…back to the rains now. I love the view of mother earth just after the rain. With tiny droplets of water on the leaves and flowers, shining with the new sun that comes after the dark, cloudy monsoon days.
You can see small tips of grasses popping out from the ground. Birds in search of food after the hungry, cold, rainy days. The insects that come out of the mud after their pupa life. Forgs and lizards waiting their turn to catch these insects for dinner. There are many post-rain sights.
In this lonely apartments in Dubai, what I miss most is my village. We don’t have much visitors here, and we don’t visit others much. Its same in Dubai, as well we my in-laws home. But in our home, we always have visitors. One reason for so much visitors is that Baba has difficulty in walking, and so he cannot go out to visit others. He has also got so many friends. Friends and relatives always come to visit him. So in Dubai, I feel very lonely, when hubby go to work. He leaves at 8, and comes around 5:30. I tried for a job , but I think Allah hasn’t kept one for me, at least not till today. I sometimes feel very depressed, ‘coz I am not able to put my knowledge or abilities into some use outside my home. Thats when the thought of Moorkanad brings a smile in me, as Wordsworth says:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
April 7, 2008
I saw cranes in water,
I saw boys with fishing rods,
I saw little girls in petticoats
playing family on the bank,
And I saw our river flowing
Smoothly into the laps of the sea.
We heard lorries and people,
Digging up the pure sand.
We protested, for it was our river,
And we lived on its water.
But they asuured us,
They are only digging the sand,
And the water is there for us.
Lazziness to think made us return,
To the comforts our homes provided.
Whem evening came,
We saw fences at riverbanks,
It was by then “Private Property”,
Sold to an MNC.
We were intruders there,
On our own river that gave us life!
And water was a private property!
We started our protests again,
But it didnot last long,
For our throats were dry,
And we had no water
To even wet our lips!
We then saw tomorrow,
As a dark shadow,
Darker than the moonless night.
And we saw our grandchildren,
And the ghosts of future,
Cursing us at our laziness.