Saying it in writing


Memories…out of nowhere. Like those shapeless somethings that float into your vision if you stare at nothing in bright sunlight for too long.

Of swings put up on an ageing tamarind tree, and the noises of children that shattered the ennui of summer afternoons. Of popular songs sung tonelessly loud while pushing each other on those swings. Arguments, fistfights, tears and laughter…

A wooden stair case always climbed on the run, skipping a step or two…footsteps loud enough to be ‘unbecoming of a young girl’. Of the tiny room under the landing where green, freshly picked coconuts waited for salvation, slowly turning greyish brown in patches as months passed. Of spiders and lizards that lurked in there, scurrying away at the sound of an occasional hand reaching inside for a coconut.

A verandah at the top of the staircase, that looked past the unpaved road and the high wall opposite, on to the picture perfect bungalow set in a large garden with mango trees, fountains and bird feeds and yellow lilies and cracking statues of angels and cupids…all abandoned.  Feeding the imagination of a teenage mind that grew up on fairy tales and poetry. 

The memory of some purple mangoes with deceptively yellow flesh, stolen from the garden. The mouth-watering anticipation of the familiar sharp taste of sour mango pieces dipped in salt and chilly powder, shared and eaten in stealth…

And. So. Much. More.

“You’ve still not stopped your childhood habit of talking to flowers and leaves….?” he asks, my brother.

How can I, Chandretta?  We are children of these memories, aren’t we? You, I, the others… Of a tharavad where we grew up with flowers, leaves, trees, plants, butterflies, mosquitoes, lizards, snakes, Gods…


To my brother who bought me my first Lyril soap, my ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ pendent, stickers for my greedy collection, my autograph book, stamp album… My brother who had, with infinite patience, helped me sew dresses for my dolls…

And to my other cousins, including another Chandrettan who won’t be reading this.  You made me forget that I was an only child all through my growing up years. We grew up, and we grew away. But you have been there when I needed you.

Love, always.


2 thoughts on “Saying it in writing

  1. Dear Mini,
    Thank you for taking me down memory lane. I lost myself in the perception you created with the magic of these words that border on poetry, and yet remain realistically connected to moments lived. The innocent world of our childhood spent in those homes and courtyards that characterized old world Kerala, and that colored our memories in ways that materialism cannot, spills into your words. One almost perceives children running up the wooden stairs, the house echoing with the tinkle of their laughter….
    We are indeed children of those memories. Memories so delicate and beautiful, hiding in between the words here, making one’s eyes well up with tears as they take us back to a world of blissful innocence….


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