I guess this is the only time of the year when I’m a little soft and approachable for the kids. 😀 😀 😀
No mad statements like,
“Wake up, you moron!”
“Brush up fast!”
“Don’t waste water!”
“Pack up your bags!”
“Don’t forget anything!”
“Gobble it up!”
and in the evening,
“5 minutes and I want you to start doing your homework”
“Finish your dinner and hit the bed fast”
Poor things! Our lives are now totally running along with the hands of the clock.
Mechanical and monotonous!!! 😕 😕 😕
Peace it is for another month or so…how relaxed and stress-free I feel. 😎
I’m sure they might be feeling even better. 😀 😀 😀
As informed earlier as well, I belong to a very conservative and orthodox Nair tharavadu (family) from the Valluvanad district, or rather Southern Malabar side of Kerala. My Ammamma (grandmother; Amma’s mother) had a severe back problem and used to walk with a hunch back. Her movement was restricted to within the four walls of the household, but she had good control over the happenings within the compound of the house.
This is about few of the episodes or rather incidents that happened during our tharavadu visit days, which I still do not completely understand or can take as logical, because I was never offered a logical explanation for them. Rather was slashed with sentences like,
“Do not question age-old traditions? Fear the Almighty’s wrath.”
Some of the incidents that still pester me:
- Once I was asked to get Plavila (Jackfruit leaf) from the backyard to make a spoon for Govindankutty Mama (Amma’s maternal uncle) to have Kanjhi (Rice Porridge). The ever-enthusiastic me rushed to the backyard and came back at the speed of light with a Plavila and a victorious smile, only to be scolded for having brought back a single leaf. I thought may be they wanted more leaves so that others too can use, but what they meant was one is not supposed to bring back one single leaf of jack fruit into the house. The reason: nobody ever bothered to explain. 😕
- We had gone to attend my Mema‘s (maternal aunt) marriage. Amma and the two of us. Acha had informed that he didn’t get leave and will not be able to reach. The anxious and innocent child in me was praying non-stop to Lord Krishna to send my Dad as soon as possible, for we had not seen him for over 2 and a half years. After the marriage when the next day after settling Mema in her new house, we reached home, I saw my Muthacha’s twinkling eyes waiting to disclose a secret to me. I ran up to him, but there was so much noise and the only word I heard was Papa. When I asked repeatedly, he didn’t say anything for he also had to attend to the guests. I was having lunch amidst a huge gathering and suddenly I hear a car screeching to a halt at our gate. I didn’t need any visual proof or any verbal proof, I knew it was my Dad. I ran across to reach the door, and was scolded so harshly by one of the oldie-baldies. They said you were not supposed to get up from a gathering before everyone finishes. I met my Dad probably a few minutes later than I had wanted to, but it broke my little heart. 😦
- Every Vishu eve, me and my sis will be those extra-obedient angels who descended out of nowhere like the elves descended down the chimney in the Cobbler and the Elves story. We would help Amma with anything and everything.Everything went off well, till Amma finally sat down to break the coconut into two halves. If in the first instant it didn’t break into two exact halves, she lost it. She’ll be so very tense and would shout and scream for everything till we the elves decided to retire into bed. She used to fear when the coconut broke closer to its eyes that something will go wrong. A fear her mother passed on to her, her grandmother to her mother and so on. It doesn’t stop there, she passed on that fear to me and my sis. Post my marriage to a culturally very different family as they hailed from the Northern most part of India, closer to the Himalayas, I am revealed to the fact that at my in-laws house, coconut is broken right through the eyes. Imagine my plight! 😦
Now get ready for the baap (father in Hindi) of all: a custom I have myself followed blindly for years and to be honest I still do to a certain extent. 😐
Those blood on the moon days, during which you are already so very irritated with yourself and everything around…in our household females were barred from entering the main compound of the house as well as the kitchen. A mat, a thin blanket, a plate, a glass and one set of dress were the only items available to you. You’re not supposed to touch anyone else in the family, and if by mistake you happen to touch anyone, or that someone happens to touch you, you’ll end up having to collect their dresses, which are now Ashudham (impure) too.
Torture it indeed was. I used to fume inside when those lady workers used to return in the eve to collect their day’s earnings and peep through the window, give a strange look and shout at the top of their voice, “Embralle, kutty aithayirikya?” It actually used to sound like I’m an untouchable or an evil witch. Hufff!!! 😡
The best of all is that on the fourth day morning, you end up in the tharavattu kullam (pond) with all those items: ‘offered as well as collected’ to become Shudham (pure). Trust me, a non-swimmer like me was made to take a dip in the pond along with all those items, which includes the mat, the blanket, the plate, the glass, my clothes and those of anyone who happened to touch me in those three days. I would have definitely drowned had it not been for Amma. I believe this custom too would have been instituted to get rid of girls. 😡 😡 😡
Amma tells me it was actually instituted so that the females get to rest at least for those few days. I prefer not. Still fuming! 😡
But imagine, with even so much anger, I still continue to follow some of those customs. Not because of any kind of superstition, but because I have myself found out some logical reasoning to the age-old customs, which are healthy enough to convince me. But I’m still not sure if I would like to pass on the parcel to my daughters.
So that’s how superstitions, myths, beliefs and customs are passed on from generation to generation. 🙂
Amma’s Grannie —> my Grannie
My Grannie —> Amma
Amma —> Me
Me —> ???
I am not questioning any of these, all I wish to know are logical explanations.
What I wish to know is that: are customs and religious beliefs way above human relations and sentiments? Any thoughts?
- Withered Dreams Revisited
- Amma, I wish to confess
- Miss You Muthacha…
- To Amma and Achan, With Love
- Beyond the Horizon