Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Paati and the swing

My summers were spent with Patti in her village home for many many years. Till she could not stay alone and had to move with us in the big city away from her beloved village home and Shiva temple.
Most summers at Paati's home, we always had company from all our relatives especially a particular cousins of ours. Since they had a boy and girl similar in age group like my brother and I , it was their arrival we looked forward to. Our days began by going to the pond to bathe and then finish little work like plucking flowers or mangoes or coconuts etc.
We sat down to play cards after our lunch and our session would go on till it was time to goto the temple with Patti. Many afternoons were also spent playing hide and seek with a few children from the neighborhood and us cousins. Since it was a fairly large house it was so exciting to play this game and many a time one of the kids would be lost for hours. There was a room called the paran where a kid once went to hide and slept through all our frantic searches and name callings.
When Patti moved in with us, the only thing I remember her bringing from her old house was the Oonjal. This we put in the hall and it was definetly her most favorite place to sit. Most afternoons she would sit in the swing in a slightly reclining position. I have never seen her sleep in the afternoons. 
When we had visitors everyone would want to sit on the oonjal. Almost all our visitors would do namaskarams to patti before leaving. She would always bless them with the words “Ayush man bhava” and if it were married women “Theerga Sumangali Bhava”.
In the late afternoons she would get ready to go to the temples. Almost every day evening there would be a Kathakalakshepam.
It is a Sanskrit term which etymologically means spending time listening to stories (Katha - Story, Kala - Time, Kshepa - Literally to know). The underlying spirit of this art is 'Bakthi' or 'devotion to God' and the moral message is the triumph of good over evil.
If there was no school then I would be seen with my patti heading to the temples. Of the many people I would have seen one person stands out in mind. Kirupananda Variyar. He had such an engaging way of saying the story that it captured even a young girl. There were so many more such great artists whose name I do not remember now. They were all unique and each said the story in a very entertaining manner. 
Not having t.v and other such distractions probably was a blessing in disguise. For nothing would I ever trade those days and evenings that I got to spend with my paati.

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