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.