Saturday, November 20, 2004


I'm sitting in Delhi and pining for Kerala. For my grandmother's house in Kollam, to be precise.

Waking up to the sound of the courtyard being swept; lying in bed listening to Ammoomma chatting with the maid; reading Mathrubhoomi while drinking a cup of hot milk; being nagged by Ammoomma to have an early bath; eating food cooked by the best chef I know; sitting in the shade of the guava tree in the sunny central courtyard - sometimes reading a book, but mostly staring up at the oh-so-blue sky, the sunlight filled leaves, the nodding banana trees and the waving coconut trees and daydreaming; sitting cross-legged on the ground while Ammomma combs and ties my newly-oiled hair; having an afternoon nap like Ammoomma; having an afternoon snack after the afternoon nap; 'helping' Ammoomma water the plants just before dusk; sitting with her by the gate, swatting at pesky mosquitoes and watching the world pass by; listening to the prayer-call from the nearby mosque; watching the red sun sinking behind the white school building in the distance; smiling dutifully at the people who greet Ammoomma; watching Malayalm soap operas at night; sitting on the veranda during the daily power-cut in the light of the ubiquitous candle or a solar powered lamp and listening to Ammoomma swapping the day's gossip with the maid; turning in early so that I can have my quota of daydreams before sleeping; falling asleep to the sound of tears and drama and emotion - the malayalam serials. 

Now you know what I'm pining for. And I haven't even described the rain yet. I haven't described the stillness of noon and the liveliness of dusk. Nor have I talked about the way the crimson sun winks at one from behind tall coconut trees. And how can I describe the sound rain drops make when falling on banana leaves? Or the scent of freshly-bloomed jasmine? Or the smell the earth gives off when water falls on it? Or the joy of climbing up a guava tree at dusk and trying to make out the horizon in the distance, behind the emerald coconut trees and the golden clouds and the copper sun? 

I can't. But I CAN pine for it.
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