Pathayapura – The Granary

Ammu. Ammu. Wherever you are, come back fast or I’ll complain to your Dad.

I rushed to Amma, my mother.

Just a glance and Amma knew where I was hiding.

The unhusked rice grains on my clothes and limbs made it evident.

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Picture courtesy: http://www.yentha.com/

We had a huge Pathayapura next to the cattle shed and behind the post-office building within our compound. Yes. We had a two room building closer to the main gate which Ammamma (my grandmother) had rented out at a nominal cost of Rs.100 per month to the Indian Postal Service officials as Post Office for the area. The Pathayapura was one place I used to cherish as a hideaway.

Pathayapura or Kottil is a granary. It is a huge building which is there within the compound of ancestral houses in Kerala. It is used as storehouse or room for threshed grain or animal feed.

coconuts

Coconuts

If no one listened to me or gave me the attention requested, I’ll slowly get into the Pathayapura till I forgot why I got into it. Oh yes! Drama queen I was. 😀 If I had to hide something from all of them, I would stealthily get into the Pathayapura and hide it. It was also a play area for me and my little sister. It was also the place where I used to reveal my secrets to Muthachan (my grandfather).

It was filled with coconuts, dried and non-dried, bunches of bananas hung from the roof, unhusked rice grains stacked on one corner, dried ginger and turmeric, pots filled with yummilicious tamarind, mangoes, raw and dried, and lots of other things. We also used to store wood for the ancient aduppu (chulha or wood-burning stove).

I used to spend most of my afternoons here in the Pathayapura when the entire household was busy snoring away to glory during their afternoon nap. I would pick up a book or a diary and would go and lie down on the heap of husk.

Vazhakkula

Vazhakkula

Theratta (Millipede)

Theratta (Millipede)

Childhood is one of the best times of a man’s life as you enjoy each and every single and simple thing without being judgmental. I have spotted arana (a kind of streaked lizard), theratta (millipede), vavval (bats) and even a couple of snakelets within the Pathayapura many a times. But they never scared me then as much as they do now. I simply can’t imagine all that now. In short, Pathayapura was all in all, a house of my own with entry for only those that I wanted to bring in. There are many a memories that I have of that unfinished building of my childhood including those when my grandfather would bring back lots and lots of eatables including duck eggs, murrukku (a traditional snack) and sometimes chicken too on his way back from his hometown. He’ll feed us either within the Pathayapura or in the porch of the Post Office building after their working hours. All this trouble because my grandmother didn’t allow non-vegetarian food including eggs within the house.

Arana (Streaked Lizard)

Arana (Streaked Lizard)

I being the first child of my generation in the family was extremely pampered and loved by my grandfather. He did not see any of his grandchildren other than me and my little sis. He had bought a cradle for me when I was born, which I used till I was 10 or 11. It used to be hung in his bedroom or within the Pathayapura. I have enjoyed those moments when grandpa used to rock the cradle as I would go non-stop about stories of my Dad’s last visit or about my friends in school, or I would be reading out my wishlist to him.

During my Maasi’s (Mom’s sister) wedding, there were 4 bunches of bananas hung inside the Pathayapura for the guests who were to be served sumptuous meals for a continuous four days from the next day onward. The very next day, when the helper of the cook went in to pick a banana bunch, all he found was four bunches hanging with just the outer covering. No. No. Not the rats, but it was us…me and my little sister. Poor things had to send someone to the farm again to get more bunches. But we go stomach-full from Amma. 😉

It is with great sorrow that I inform that the Post Office building collapsed a few years ago and the Pathayapura, my vacation hideaway, too is in shambles and a major portion of it has already collapsed. That’s how partition works on most of the ancestral properties. If ever I happen to get into it, I’ll climb upstairs through the wooden stairs that have been hollowed by termites, go to the window and look towards the backyard where two souls who understand my love and emotions for this unfinished building structure are resting in peace…my Muthachan (grandfather) and Ammamma (grandmother).

window

Janala (window)

*All pictures in this post are a result of Google Image Search for the respective words. 

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This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, Ode to a playground: A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the Project 365 – A Post A Day and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance

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20 thoughts on “Pathayapura – The Granary

  1. Pingback: Pathayapura – The Granary | Project 365 : A post a day

  2. This was such a lovely post recreating all those wonderful childhood memories that you have of the pathayapura. Sad though that this wonderful piece of your childhood was lost due to the ancestral partition and what’s even worse is the fact that it was not even maintained at all. Life goes on, I suppose 🙂

    Lovely post 😀

  3. Nice post rekha..Good Old days.It brings back all those nostalgic childhood days i spent at my native.Waking up early ( no luxury of being on a holiday),taking bath in the pond, walk to the temple ,the theerthom and thrimadurom we used to have there,the morning breakfast with palumvellom,visiting realtives ,going for a malayalam movie in a REAL BIG group (consisting of mom,dad,uncles,aunts,cousins ,neighbours),manga,chakka and yes those kappalandi mithai’s. The word PATHAYAPPURA also reminds me of an AATTUKATTIL on which we all cousins ( imagine some 12-15) used to sit,swing and sing and had all the fun!!Keep writing Rekha!!!!

  4. We used to have a dark room. It was feared by all of us. Not a single streak of light could get inside. The mere mention of the room could make us eat our meals or make us sleep 😀
    Lovely post Rekha, evoked so many memories

  5. For you it was Pathayapura but for me it was the Thattinpuram of my father’s house where I used to hide whenever I had a fight with my mother. My Achamma used to stay there alone. Their memories still bring tears in my eyes!

  6. That’s a really beautiful memoir and the pictures were good..Rekha, you really write well, post after post without any altercation..it just better post after other 🙂

    Loved it…it reminded me of a similar setting at my maternal grandma’ place somewhat.

  7. This reminded me of the 2 store rooms at my grand parents place. One was used for storing grains, pickles, garlic, onions etc and the other one was for the dry feed for the buffaloes/cows and cow dung cakes and these 2 rooms were our favorite places to hide when playing hide and seek. I am imagining the distinct smells of the 2 rooms. Nostalgia…
    Lovely post, Rekha, enjoyed reading it 🙂

  8. First of all, my oh my, aren’t you one from the royal households 🙂 Loved the post thoroughly. And I could relate to it. We had one such in my dad’s ancestral property. It used to be the one place anyone could find me – anytime of the day. Sad to hear it was destroyed. But the memories of the place is the real treasure …and you have that intact 🙂

  9. The thing that attracts me the most to your blog is the way you interweave cultural references in your personal posts. Be they words (with meanings) or traditions that I am unaware of. I enjoyed this post for that reason, and also because it reminded me of the ‘kothari’ (out-house/shed) we have in Doon, where we kids played to our hearts content. The fact that it was a store room for junk making no difference to our fun.
    Nice one, Rekha! 🙂

  10. My ancestral home also have a pathayapura which used to be in use until recently although I had a bad experience of getting trapped inside it for four hours when I was a child. The entire village embarked on a rescue operation and I was taken out eventually but when I came out, all my love for this ancient tructure had gone from me forever. 🙂
    Nice post.

  11. Pingback: The Great Backwaters, Kerala, India | Dew Drops

  12. Even in my house in Kerala, there used to be a sort of shed at the far end of the backyard, where they stored wood and stuff. Having grown up in apartments all my life, I was particularly fascinated by this “secret room” as I called it and would often go there and read in the late afternoons. My grandma used to say there were snakes hiding in the place (I saw some too) but it was still more fascinating than scary 😀

    Too bad your hideout place isn’t there anymore. Same as mine – my dad sold the house a few years ago 😦

  13. Ah, such a nostalgic write-up. Loved the way you have described it. The pictures reminded me of childhood when such creatures attracted my attention. When we grow up somehow their magic goes down I guess or is it that we lose the common touch?

  14. I suppose I’d have hid in the pathayapura too, had there been one at my ancestral home, or grown up there instead of the city. 🙂 Whenever I did holiday there, the best hiding place would be the attic, dusty as it was. My achamma though mostly kept it locked, so had to choose the right moment to hide there.

    Looking back in time, there are these memories that are triggered by posts like yours, Rex. 🙂 I’m glad for that.

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