Reminiscing The Good Old Summer Time
Updated: Jun 22, 2019
From the day I started remembering things and building memories about them, I realised that my people and I spoke a language that was different from the ones that were spoken outside our home. As the realisation hit me hard, I started having the urge to know the story behind why my people and I don’t speak the language that everyone else spoke in the neighbourhood. With parents who had full-time jobs, I was left with my grandmother and who else is the better person to ask about the history than my grandmother herself.
And to understand the curiosity, I asked her, “Ammuma, why do we speak a language different from that of the people in our locality?”
She said, “We live in Madras and it's the capital of Tamil Nadu – a state, whose official language is Tamil and that is what you hear people speak in our neighbourhood and other places in the world where people of the state have settled. And, we, on the contrary, speak Malayalam, the official language of our homeland Kerala, the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.”
“So why are we here and not in our homeland?”
“I came to Madras along with your grandfather soon after my marriage as he had his business here. And as things went by, we settled here, your mom, aunt and uncle found jobs here and made this our home. Though I try and visit my people back in Kerala, it’s been several years since I have met them. Really, a long time.”
“So, when are we going next?”
This happened in 1999 when I was about three years old and in 2002 we made our trip to Kerala, a place that I have only see on televisions.
Often referred to as God’s own country, the sight was truly serene the morning when I woke up and looked out through the sleeper coach that we were travelling in. Greenery spread across the horizon, a large number of coconut trees and the banana plantation caught my eyes.
As I smelled the freshness of the agricultural land situated near our house, my grandmother introduced me to her people. I met a tall, old man who happens to be my grandmother’s elder brother, had a very charming smile. He welcomed me, and along with him was a fair lady who was almost half his height came rushing to me. As I looked at them, I knew they were happy to see my grandmother after all these years and what I know next is that every summer we made plans to visit them in Kerala, and I was the happiest kid in the whole wide world.
As a family that doesn’t visit the homeland much often but only once a year, our routine remained the same every year. We met the same relatives, same friends, same temples and the same neighbourhood. Though things were the same, the stories shared and expereinced were different.
But it's hard when it was the time to get back to Chennai and the realising the vacation has come to an end. And speaking of which, my family was never good at this. There were tears to shed and sad faces to cheer as we left the homeland with a promise to return back the next year.
As I write this down, the beautiful memories of the past years flash right before me like all of it happened yesterday. With fresh memories to reminiscent, the serene greenery of our homeland is a sight to recall, cherish and visit again.