During my growing up years, I used to love going to my grandmother’s house. It was in Vypeen island, a sleepy little town, separated from the mainland of Kochi by a wide expanse of backwaters and Arabian sea.

The boat journey from Kochi to Vypeen island used to instigate my childhood fantasies… The fleet of majestic ship at the Cochin shipyard and the brightly lighted sea-port gave it a magical aura. As the ferryboat move away from the mainland, I used to watch out for those innumerable green islands that dot the Arabian sea and the Chinese fishing-nets yonder in the horizon. It used to look enchantingly beautiful during sunset. Seagulls and cormorants used to hover over the fishing boats, trying to snatch off few fish from the boat’s deck. And an intermittent beacon of light flashing from the light house use to guide the boats and ship in the dark.

My grandma’s house was a ten minute walk from the boat jetty. The backyard of the house directly opened to the backwaters. I have never seen any house so near to such a wide-stretch of water. In those days, I used to wake up early, to watch the sunrise and the backwaters being painted in colorful hues by the rising sun.

My GM had a pet dog and a small flock of ducks at her house. I used to entrust upon myself the job of opening their coop in the mornings, let the ducks out and likewise chase them back to their home in the evenings. Sometimes the notorious dog Titto, used to chase the ducks and the terrified creatures used to jump into the water , paddle away and ultimately lose their way. And in such cases, my poor uncle had to go all the way to the nearby Mulagukadu island, where they ultimately used to land up and bring them safely back home. On special occasions when VIP guests come home, one of those ducks used to be killed and it would eventually reappear as duck roast on the dining table :)

I used to be awed seeing the variety of seafood, she used to serve us for lunch and dinner. The fishing boats harboured at our backyard and the ice-company nextdoor ensured that we got a lot of absolutely-free seafood at our doorsteps. The crabs, shrimps, lobsters, shell fish all seemed to be a part of our ‘ordinary meals’ during those days. Long gone are those days... No longer is anything free and no longer is anything so readily available. And I stopped eating fish many years ago.

Rainy days used to be li’l wild out here, due to the proximity to Arabian sea. I remember those stormy nights when heavy winds blowing out of the sea, uprooted mango trees and breadfruit (kadachakka) trees in our orchard. The mango trees used to be close to the house and hence their branches occasionally bent and fell on the tiled roof. And once it damaged the roof that it started leaking and flooding the room. There are some images that got framed in my mindscape. One such image is the whole family having dinner under the dimly lit oil lamp, while the storms raged outside.

It was on one of those stormy afternoons that, a lost baby turtle found it’s way through the water and landed up on our backyard. I found out this ‘jem of a beauty’ and instantly fell in love with it. But the turtle on the other hand showed utterly no interest and instantly withdrew it’s pretty head into the shell. I cautiously picked up my ‘shy’ turtle and dropped it into a bucket of water. I decided instantly that this turtle and I are gonna be friends forever.Afterall I have learnt in my GK textbook that turtles live for over a 100 years. After a while, Titto found out this intruder in our house and stood near the bucket barking and growling. I bet he was jealous about all the attention directed at this ‘intruder’. But all my hopes of having a pet-turtle was brought to an abrupt end by my GM, who warned me sternly that sea turtles are poisonous. I threw a tantrum, but in vain. Finally, I sadly placed the baby turtle back into the water. And it swam away , to where it ultimately belonged…

Times have changed...Inevitably, the old tiled house has been remodeled into a more sturdy house. There are no quacking ducks flocking the backyard anymore. And now, there is a wall separating the house and the backwater. The wall that separates my nostalgic yesteryears from today....


Nice images..especially the family dinner in dim light on a stormy canvas..

great description !

nostalgia is back with more power and beauty :)
damn...why do u always take me back to my past with your memories?
really loved this post...*deep breath*

btw..nice new look to ur blog!

simply superb da.... reminded me of my childhood....

We're practically neighbours. My dad is from Cherai! Awesome!

I used to hate the boat rides. The boats stank of kerosene, and they looked very flimsy.

I'm big on seafood. Noting beats my grandmother's karimeen pollichathu and chemmeen fry. Yum!

that was one hell of a description......I just want 2 enjoy that ambiance some how :( the description of ur lunch table was most luscious, how I miss all the fresh sea food of Kerala :(

that was really lovely description..reminded me of my childhood...especially the list of seafood...yummy...i miss those..

and the new look to the blog is cool...

@kanjooparamban: stormy monsoon nights were quite common out there..

@dreams: thnx buddy :)

@raintree: as usual, nostalgia is my middle name..and it has been long since i indulged in it in my blog ;)

@freshlime soda: hmm..gone are those days..

@adorable pancreas:yeahh..we r neighbours. i absolutely love cherai beach. during college days, when we came there with friends, we had a helluva time

@ arjun & emptyhead: once i started living out of kerala, i too developed this nostalgia for the authentic kerala food..never even realised a bit of their worth before

I just love Kochi and your description brought back some fond memories...Just waiting for a chance to settle there

Anonymous said... 2:16 PM  

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