Chennai Chronicles - South bound!
Last week we ventured further south into the interiors of Tamil Nadu. The land of the beautiful temples and lush green fields. It was such a relief to see the green fields after the concrete jungle called Chennai. Unfortunately it was not a good time for the farmers. The rains lashing through Tamil Nadu (South India) have destroyed their crops and livelihood. So it was with bereft tales of the farmers that we were greeted at our destination. But that did not abate our merriment in meeting relatives. Nantu was off to meet his paternal grand mom, aunts, uncles and cousins.
He saw the real India of the villages.
With long one-roomed houses and livestock roaming the roads. People with bare bodies walking bare footed all around. Indian Toilets and Power failures. Every day there was something new to see and learn. He saw a roadside toy seller with colorful wares to sell. He saw a river in full spate and experienced the true heat and humidity of southern India. It was a very eye-opening experience and very exciting too.
The first two days were marred (though that helped the temperature) by heavy downpour. On the third day the skies cleared and the sun was beaming again. Shining strongly and dissipating all its heat on the two unsuspecting souls - Cheeky Brat and Silly Mom! Nantu however adjusted to the new setting with little protest. He was excited to see so many relatives and meet his cousins. And all the adjustments paled against this!
And then there were visitors of another nature. There was the elephant that visited our doorstep. Nantu stood in awe of the size. While he stood and watched the elephant with eager eyes, he refused to hand the elephant bananas (pazham) and seek its blessing as is customary. However, this experience left him emboldened.
Later that day when a cow decided to make an appearance at our doorstep, it was greeted by an eager Nantu with a boisterous "Hello"! He then ran to his grand mom and said "Patti Banana Venum" (I want a banana). His grand mom was so happy that he would deign to eat the banana he had refused to touch all these days. As I watched silently, the banana was laid in front of the cow by Cheeky and his co-conspirator (an older cousin). The cow was delighted and gulped down the banana. As you can imagine, soon there was a family of cows at the doorstep all of them eating bananas which was supplied by Nantu and his unsuspecting Patti. When Patti finally found out, the bananas were packed away and the cows shooed off from the doorstep which was by then beginning to look like a barn!
There were down moments too. Nantu refused to step down in the temples at most times. Sometimes the ground was yucky, sometimes messy and sometimes Icky/ Sticky! And when I put him down forcefully, he stood balanced on my feet hugging my legs! When the power cut happened the first time Nantu bewildered asked "Amma where did all the bright go?" The next time he knew what it was, and I urged him to pray to God. After every prayer he stopped to ask, "Amma why wont God send the light back?". The staple food in the village was Idli and Rice much to Nantu's annoyance! I had to get creative with the menu. Thankfully, my sister in law brought in some supplies that got us through! Back at Chennai though, rice and idli evoke violent reactions and have therefore been banned from the menu for the time being!
Overall the trip was a great success.. the highlight being the Panguni Thirunal (Festivities in the month of Panguni) celebrated at the temple of the residing deity Mahara Nedun Kuzhai Kadhar. More on that and pictures in my next post.