Went to Cochin this weekend. Going to cochin always makes me feel happy. What I really love is to relive the memories of summers I spent there, but more recently it's the food and family that has been drawing me there. I am not woken up in the morning and I am handed a cuppa of coffee the moment I do. My grandparents have realized that to wake me up early would mean extra trouble and extra tantrums (*heh*). It is one place where a grown up man could go and still be a little kid. Growing up is optional, here.
The house is right near the railway station and bus stop and on Chittoor road.. I can just get down at either and walk to the house, without protracted arguments with an auto-driver. Thanks to the corridor created by the flats nearby and the school on the other side, the traffic noise doesn't trickle down to the house. If any, all I can hear are school children and that too only on weekdays.
Thanks to a fourty six year old rivalry, my ancestors used to live with a huge pond in the middle. The pond and the mango tree near it are all replaced by one huge warehouse for shoes. Most of my cousins don't even remember the old tiled house, the marshy pond or the fifty foot mango tree full of red ants. On the other side of the erstwhile pond is my Tharavad. It was originally an ettukettu and now demolished down into a nalukettu. The oldest part dates from the early 1880's according to all the records we have at hand.
The latest fight in that house is mine. I walked out of there with my baggage sometime in 2001 after a fight. I have never slept a night in this house since. But I still visit everyone, hang out with my cousins and just be there when something happens. After all, it is only a token protest - because someone said Let's see how far he goes, before he comes back when I was walking out. Every generation has a hothead, this one - that's me.
It is a real living house, with around 6 couples living there as recently as 1996. The roof is barely 7 feet tall and the doors are all 5' 11'' high - which makes for great fun when I start walking indoors. The house opposite too belongs to the family - in fact, a good amount of land belonged to the family and has been divided to peices and sold in recent years.
Then there are the mango trees - everywhere you look. Imagine spending a summer in the heart of a city and being able to eat stuff off the trees direct (mangos, papayas, jackfruits and of course, ari-neliika). I don't know how many times I've broken roof tiles trying to stone down a mango from this particular tree. A few of the big trees have been felled - but it is considered a bad thing to cut down a mango tree. Typically the only time when we can cut one down is to cremate a family member with its wood. So they have escaped the persecution, which cut down the rest of the trees around the place.
After half a day spent walking around the places in Chittoor road, I headed off to my cousin's place in Thripunithura. That is less of a city down there and they have a nice place built up there. For a distance of barely 11 kms from the other house, the world is totally different.
I have lots more to write about my walking around in Cochin. Probably will write out another entry (work beckons right now). For the meanwhile, just hit my flickr/tags/cochin2005--
The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.