I just watched a Malayalam movie called ‘Manjadikuru’. For those who haven’t seen the movie or do not understand Malayalam, I’ll save you the trouble of googling(?). Here’s the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manjadikuru . Now,my days are pretty mundane, following a set pattern of activities ,to be done at specific times of the day. The 8:00 PM movie happens to be one of them. I am usually detached to anything that happens on screen. It takes a special piece of celluloid to affect me. Today, was my lucky day, I guess.
The movie transported me back to my childhood. When, my days revolved around narangamuttai (lime candy) and me constantly devising ways to get more pocket money, so I could treat myself to these gems. When, my grandparents used to give me goosebumps with stories about Palliyan. (Now Palliyan was their custom version of the boogey-man. But he also happened to be a real person; he was our domestic help and was more than happy to play-act to scare me.) Back in those days, the only worry I had was if the blanket was long enough to cover me while I slept. I admit, that fear has stayed with me. Those were the days when me and my brother were both small enough to fit in my father’s bear-hug while we took our afternoon naps. When the visits of my cousins translated to ‘YAY! NO MORE STUDYING!’ ,even if the respite was only for a matter of hours. When conversations lacked awkwardness or ulterior motives. When the times were simpler.
Looking back, it’s hard to not say I have no regrets. I do. I wish I knew my father’s parents more closely. I wish I had showered more of my affection on them. I wish I had spent more time with my uncle,who was taken before his time. I wish I had kept in touch with some of my cousins, given how far we’ve drifted with time. I hate the awkwardness of trying to catch up with you,while feeling guilty of not maintaining contact through the years. I wish a lot of things were done differently.
More often than not these days, I yearn to be home. To be with the people for whom I’m still that same old Unni. My grandfather stills call me Unnikutta excitedly every time I phone home. Every time I get misty-eyed,without fail. I guess a lot of these bottled up emotions came to a head today. Hence, this post.
This is a poem which wrote when I was in college and had come home for break. I posted this on a different blog and I’m re-posting it here. It isn’t perfect by any stretch of imagination and was written ,quite evidently and rather embarrassingly , while I was preparing for the GRE. But I remember that I had one of the purest surge of emotions when I wrote it, so I’ve decided not to tamper with it. It’s about coming back home and feeling the full brunt of time hitting you head on, acknowledging that you’ve grown past your childhood and that you have to move on. I know this has been a weird post, so I am going to stop here before I mess it up any further.
The sands of time have slipped through my fingers,
The accretion sometimes bemuses me.
I had been cloistered by these very walls,
Which seem claustrophobic now.
These pathways seem to have narrowed,
These ceilings , they seemed to converse with the empyrean,
Now they are an arm’s reach away.
These lawns were a sea of green on which I floated in thought,
The sea has dried into a blot of green.
But as I prepare to leave this haven,
I have packed more memories than clothes,
The emotional baggage , heavier, but gossamery ,
The accrual of experiences with the years gone by,
My childhood has been peeled by now,
But inside, deep inside, I’m still raw.
These memories, this nostalgia, is not taking a step back,
But taking two steps forward to whatever awaits me.