Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Thalassery Fix

Came back from Thalassery yesterday after four wonderful days. Got my Thalassery fix. Hope it will take me through another pallid year.
   It was cool the way Ernakulam never feels. Clean and fresh with the gentle winds of Shishiram just skimming the ground cover. In Moozhikkara and Kodiyeri (Yes, that of the Balakrishnan fame.) the compounds are still the old compounds: large tracts of land with ancient trees in which the birds establish dynasties. Dawn -song is a benediction in itself.
   If you are a light sleeper like me, you have the owls, the foxes, the stray dogs, all contributing to the cacophony of the deep night, which is unmitigated dark, except where the moon manages to trickle through the trees. It is as though the night is theirs - go away, people.
   Morning song, literally, starts with the Hindu devotional songs from the temple, followed by the call to prayer by the Muezzin. What Graham Greene called the unholy alliance of old religion with new technology. But he did go for an old religion in the end.
   My father once pointed out to me the house where I was born. It had green glass on the windows giving it the air of a Muslim house. The walk from our house, hugging the Koduvally river and veering off left at the old Dharmadam bridge, took us over the brow of a hill and in rapid descent towards the Courts after that. At the zenith, the old European Club was guarded by sentries late into the forties and no Indian was a member. It was later the site of Justice V R Krishna Iyer's house and subsequently became the Bishop House when he left for Delhi and the Supreme Court. Bouganvillea grew on the fences near by and the whole area was a little dark. I held on to my father's safe, cool hands till we reached the descent. The Arabian sea was just a whisper away.
   I keep going back to this place and I know it is not any one house that makes my step springier, makes me slough off the marks of age. It is the people, I am sure. A quality of welcome in them that I don't find anywhere in the world. The sounds of North Malabar Malayalam, which spell good fellowship to prodigals like me.
   This place made me, I think. The beaches in which I had the space to consider the world, while the breakers attacked the rocks below. The Sacred Heart Convent is still quietly there on a side road, inconspicuous unless you are looking for it.
   Many Hail Marys and Our Fathers later, I got to College and discovered the library at the Brennen. An amazing place, that was. I cosied up to the English Department and declared intent to the librarian. He indulged me, while I went through that long room full of books and dust in the old college. How ever did I pass any exams in Maths? I still wonder. But I shed religion and became firmly agnostic.
   Now I meander here and there, pause for breath and let the words come. All the words that I garnered those many years ago. The words and the thoughts that started in Thalassery.

6 comments:

  1. It is amazingly written, makes me nostalgic of my summer days spent there.

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    1. Thank you, Anju. Do I know you at all? Possibly your parents or grandparents. Where did you live in Thalassery?
      Anandam

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  2. Velliamma, one of your best blogs. Really enjoyed reading it as it 'literally' took me to Thalashery and smell, see and feel things through you words. Great stuff!

    PS: Anju must be Jayettan's daughter!

    Lots of love

    Ravi

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    1. Thanks Ravi. I did not know you read my blogs.

      Anandechi

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  3. Are you Jayan's daughter?

    Anandam

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  4. Velliamme, the melange of words that you have used in this blog is awesome. It actually gave me an insight those valuable thoughts of your's about our own place. I should tell you 'am gonna be regular at reading your blogs from now. Just love your diction. You can call me kitchu dats wt the house name as it goes!!!!

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