When I think green, I remember my father's ancestral house nestled in the interiors of a remote village in Thrissur. The small tiled roof house enclosed by a dense courtyard, lined with coconut, mango, jack fruit and arecanut trees. You name the trees and it will be there.. Where the faint scent from nutmeg and tamarind trees waft in the air.. Where the cows and hens rule the haven..Where the courtyard wall is never concrete or cement but a dense row of thorny bushes... Where the summer vacation were spent climbing guava trees, munching juicy red cashew fruit and slightly sour roseapples (chambakka)..


 The small house stands proudly, with a neat garden in the front. At a corner of the yard stands the cowshed and hencoops. Right next to the cowshed, there are pyramidal haystacks mounted after the harvest, which ultimately feeds the cows. There is an old well with moss covered stone walls near the house. Pigeons used to build nests between the creeks of it's wall and we used to scare these birds by splashing the water with well-aimed stones, that makes them noisily flutter out of their cosy nests. The well water was used to irrigate the fruit trees in the courtyard. Water was initially pumped up into a small tank, from where it flowed through a channel and then cascaded down forming a waterfall. As kids, all of us cousins used to take bath here. Few will plunge into the tank, few will be in the water channel, and others frolic under the manmade waterfall. It used to be an awesome experience playing and bathing in the pure, ice cold water coming deep from within the earth. This water will ultimately flow through mud structures made into a canal (kayyani) that irrigate the whole land. I used to love playing in kayyani. Whenever water was being pumped, I used to run through this mud canal happily splashing the water all over. During monsoon, when irrigation was not required, I would eagerly watch out the kayyani for those green tadpoles and eggs floating on staggered rain water..

There is a long wooden bench and desk in the house, where we six cousins used to sit together and have food. Pet cats used to walk under our desk, rubbing their furry bodies against our legs, eating tidbits of fishfry and pappad that fell from our hands or are deliberately dropped when we didn't like the food. There used to be atleast 5-6 cats anytime. As a kid, I used to hate milk. Drinking milk was a chore which I used to escalate to the cats. So after carefully ensuring that my Mom was not looking, I will pour out my share of milk to a coconut shell and secretly offer the cats, who used to lap it up all gleefully.

In the evening at dusk, we used to visit our family temple. When I think about that time, I remember everybody freshening up to visit temple and I can still feel the scent of Cuticura powder mingled with sandalwood paste lingering in the air.. We used to take oil bottles and wicks to lighten the stone lamps around the temple. I love the sight of these coal black stone lamps darkened by years of exposure to oil and fumes. I feel, it's the fresh feeling of evening bath and the heavenly glow of stone lamps in the dark that gives a spiritual aura to my childhood temple memories.. Even when I visit temples nowadays, which happens rarely, I don't feel particularly religious, rather I feel spiritual..I feel light..

When I took hubby dear after wedding to the ancestral house, I was looking forward to recreate those wonderful memories. Showing him the old house, the well, the cowshed and hen coops, the kayyani and temple..The cowshed is uninhabited and wild creepers have grown all over it... There is no trace of the hencoops.. The old well and the tank still remain as testimonies of good times.. In the evening, it was drizzling but we still decided to go to the temple. My parents, sis, brotherinlaw and little niece were also there.. We had to walk through the dark village path for a short while to reach the temple. It was pitch dark and cloudy with no street lamps. As we walked under the umbrella, M's arms wrapped around my shoulder, the cold breeze making us quiver, I longed to see the glowing stone lamps and fill myself once again with the spiritual aura of my childhood. As I looked ahead, I could see the rest all walking ahead. My Achan and Amma under the umbrella leading the way.. My Chechi and Chettan with vava in arms closely following them.. And we both behind.. As I pointed out to M, how my Achan holding Amma under the umbrella is the same way in which Chettan is holding Chechi & it's the same way M's arms wrapped around me, we couldn't help smiling.. Three generation walking toward the temple in the rain... Three generation seeking spirituality and solace in the age old dieties of the temple, where generations of people have thronged.. Life seems to have come to a full circle...


:) we do the same when we visit our ancestral homes...