A trip down memory lane...
This has sent me down memory lane.
UTBT wrote about Kootanchoru. It took me back in time to the vacations I spent in my grand parents home as a kid. I would go there every vacation as both my parents worked. Sometimes mom would join me too. In December my uncles and cousins who lived abroad would gather too. Summers were spent with my aunts, uncle and grand parents. On such occasions we would gather around my grandmom and she would mix the rice and give it to us in our palms for us to eat. She would make one big bowl of rice for all of us. Summer vacations when no cousins were around, we used to do this with my mum, aunt, uncle and me. As I was the only kid I got fed by mouth while the others would get the food in their palms. Then my uncle would always lie down put his head on my grandmom's lap and claim she was his mother first and my grandma next. I would argue till blue in the face about how I was younger and hence got exclusive grandma rights!! Such mean relatives I had, torturing a little kid like this.. but I think thats why I remember my vacations so fondly.. All the banter is truly unforgettable! Grandmom was so much fun.. she would play Pallankuzhi with me (an age old Tamil board game played with tamarind seeds for coins and thayam kattai for dice). Pallankuzhi is similar to Mancala (African board game) or Pits and Pebbles game. Summer vacations also meant, story time. Grandmom would tell me stories tirelessly till I fell asleep every night from exhaution.
Prats wrote about street vendors who come knocking in India. I would hang on to the balcony rails to peer at the street vendors calling out their wares in sing song tunes on the road every summer vacation. "Paper Pazhaya Paper" was the most common... The man who collected old paper would walk down the road many times every day. Today I haul the paper to the trash every once in a while. I finally stopped buying paper in fear of the disposal!! I remember the vendors who would bring stainless steel dishes and plastic ware to the door step. They wanted old clothes in return. How convenient. Rambler wrote about how he had a tough time getting rid of clutter.. and here was a great way to do it. And you would get these dishes/ plastic ware in return. When I started working I went to live with my grand parents for a year. I came home one day to my grandmom proudly displaying a plastic bucket to me.
"See does this look good" she asked.
"Did you carry it all the way from the store? You should have told me I would have got it for you!" I said
"No the pathrakaran gave me this" she said (the plastics vendor)
I knew there had to be a reason she was beaming so much
"What did he give you this for free?" asked I in all my naiveté'
"Oh no I just gave him one of your old jeans and he gave me this big bucket in return"
Old Jeans? I did not have any old jeans lying around.. I ran to my room and rummaged through my stuff and confirmed the gnawing suspicion. She had exchanged my brand new expensive stone wash jeans for a plastic bucket. And she stood there proud of it, beaming with happiness. I did not have the heart to tell her that was one expensive bucket!!
Cheeky had his first sighting of a street vendor when he was a year and a half. I hide from these persistent vendors. We were on a vacation to my parental home and were both playing in the car porch. I spied the vendor and tried to lure Cheeky to the back of the house, so that the vendor would call out and then leave disappointed! The vendor called out "Amma, Amma". Cheeky escaped my clutches and ran to the guy and pointed to the turn in the wall where I was hidden and said "Anga" (Over there) and He came back to me to say "Amma unna yaaro kupdara" (Amma someone is calling out to you). I had to come out of hiding shame faced and buy the stuff I did not need as the poor guy had not sold anything all day and I wanted to stop him from convincing me and let me go back to my playing ball with my now restless son. So I bought the jug and cups that he sold and it still lies in a forgotten corner in my dad's house!
Now thanks to all my fellow bloggers I am on a never ending trip down memory lane while my house lies in a complete mess!