24 July 2012

Summers in Kerala!

Hi, I am Anna John, I blog at From Anna’s Desk! I am a law student from India who blogs about her experiences in ‘God’s Own Country’, her views on life, politics, philosophy, law school and most things under the sun that get her interested enough to write something about it. I shall be sharing about my Childhood Summer Vacations as part of 20SB’s 2012 Blog Swap.

My family lives in central India, but our ancestral home is in Kerala. So, during my childhood, when the school closed for the summer, my family used to generally start preparing for a trip to our ‘native place’ in Kerala. Unlike every other Malayali friend of mine, I was not very keen on our annual migration to the south. A week or two at my paternal grandmother’s place meant that I had to deal with intermittent power cuts, life without television, fetching water from the well each time I needed to take a bath or use the washroom. For all the tourism posters proclaiming that Kerala was ‘God’s Own Country’, even as a 6 year old, I was already convinced that God had overlooked Kottayam or at least my Ammachi’s (Granmother in Malayalam) house.

Over the years I came to look forward to these yearly visits to Kerala and started to make the best out of these trips. Part of the reason was that my maternal grandparents who were hitherto put up in Nagpur decided to resettle in Kerala. I was pretty close to my Nana and Nani andI really liked their place in Kerala. Soon, spending time Ammachi’s place was something that I looked at as a consideration for the time I got to spend with my Nana and Nani.

It is funny how, when you look at your worst nightmare as something you need to endure for a reward you have been eagerly awaiting, your nightmare doesn’t look so nightmarish anymore! I began enjoying the time spent with Ammachi. She would save up the best of the bananas, jackfruits, tapioca and all the other eatables that were grown at home for me. She would read out stories from Malayalam comic books and teach me verses from the Bible in Malayalam. Over time, I came to love spending time with my grandmother enough to not mind the power-cuts and the lack of plumbing (although that problem was fixed some 10 years ago). The fact that there was no television meant that I spent my time reading books and learning to read Malayalam and other things that Ammachi tried to teach me.

And one day, Ammachi suddenly died. None of us had seen it coming. It was the first time I had lost someone I loved and cared about, and it took me a while to get over her loss. In retrospect, I am grateful for the change of heart over the course of those annual vacations. Ammachi taught me a great many things during those holidays, and I shall cherish the memories of those holidays for the rest of my life! 

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