Thursday, January 07, 2010

Small town memories

Yesterday S and me were watching this movie "Something Something Unakkum Enakkum". One of the songs in that movie has a scene in which the hero and heroine watch with awe, a goat give birth to a little goat-kid. I exclaimed to S, "Oh you know, I once watched a cow give birth to a calf".

Then I thought about where exactly I had seen this. Oh ya, it was a long time back, in my grandmother's village. Then it struck me, there are certain things which one can easily see/do only in a small town or rural place and which are not easily accessible to city dwellers. How many of these things have you done?

- Bought a "cooling glass" with gaudy pink/green/orange frames from the trinket peddler.

- Smelt the fresh butter as the butter seller weighed it on his scale and slid it into the vessel your aunt has brought to the door. And surreptitiously dipped your finger into that vessel and licked the butter when you thought no one was watching.

- Bought som-papdi in paper cones from the street vendor's cart outside your door and savored the sweet taste as each fluffy bit melted in your mouth.

- Looked at plenty of black beads strewn on the ground and remarked innocently that you would like to gather them into a chain only to be told that the black beads were actually goat poop. Yuck.

- Cajoled your parents into buying a "whistle" from the potti kadai* outside the temple with promises you so will not use it till you were away from human hearing. And then driving everyone crazy with the constant whistle-blowing on the ride back home. Till someone grabbed the whistle and flung it out of the window.

- Swung from the branches of the mango tree on a makeshift swing made of jute rope with a gunny sack for a seat.

- Named the cows in your grandma's cowshed and fed them hay every morning.

- Made yourself sick by eating too much raw mango with salt and chilli powder.

- Had a bath sitting in a big brass drum filled with warm water and sang as you pretended that you are a movie heroine having a bath in a bath-tub.

- Eaten half dried vadam from the terrace and acted innocent when grandma wondered how her vadam quantity had gotten cut in half.

- Walked to the river and played in the shallow knee deep water.

- Pinned freshly woven jasmine flowers onto your hair and sometimes even begged for the bright orange kanakambaram flowers because it matched your dress better wondering why none of the adults seemed to prefer it.

- Lain on the verandah on a clear night, staring at the sky and admiring in wonder, the billion stars sparkling in it.

- Had a long swim/soak in the the water from the pumpset used to irrigate the fields.

- Drank coconut juice and then scooped out the tender coconut flesh with a spoon fashioned from the shell - all from coconuts just cut from the tree.

- Ditto for nongu (sorry I don't know the English name. The fruit comes from palm trees).

- Had everyone in the street greet you when they saw you because, you were so-and-so's granddaughter, right?

I guess I can write a lot more but okay, enough memories for one day. In case you didn't guess, I have done all of the above in my childhood days when I visited my grandparents :-) (because it is *my* list :-D).

*potti kadai - a small shop typically housed in a tin-shack.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Hawaii ho!

When we came back from India, the last thing S and me had in mind was budging out of the house for the next few weeks unless absolutely necessary. Both of us were looking forward to the Christmas vacation just so that we could sleep, sleep and then sleep some more.

But then, a week-end came in between, before Christmas. Both of us totally chilled out and slept to our heart's content. That Sunday night, I announced - "Let's go somewhere during Christmas." S enthusiastically agreed as well.

And lo! Within the next 24 hours, the tickets and the hotel were booked. Yaay - we were going to Oahu, Hawaii! One of my childhood dream vacation destinations!

This was the first time in as long as I can remember that I have gone on such an unplanned vacation. Anyone who knows me can tell you that my vacations usually involve plenty of research about the destination and a wish-list of places I want to see along with the tentative dates on which to visit them*. Plus I carry along a horde of printouts having maps, restaurant directions and what not.

This time round, there just wasn't any time to plan. So, S and I simply packed our bags and drove to SFO to catch our flight. And boy, did we have an adventure.

We wound up doing a ton of things - a submarine ride, shopping in the International Market Place, going to the North Shore, visiting Pearl Harbor, going to Waikiki beach, hiking up the Diamond Head crater, going on a sunset cruise... I only wish we had more than 4 days to spend there!

Turns out that even unplanned vacations are super-duper fun!

Just to make this post a wee bit useful, if you are heading to Oahu any time, do drink coffee at the Island Vintage Coffee cafe located in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping center in Waikiki. I kid you not - they ground coffee from the beans to make my yummylicious cup of Lava Mocha. BTW, they served the best coffee I have ever tasted. Aloha!

* note, all this happens only if another a fellow-vacationer has not entirely taken up the planning mantle.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 is here ...

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead filled with all possible joy, happiness and prosperity!


Pic courtesy here.