I have been meaning to write for a long time now but I have always drawn a blank ... Its like my hands want to write but my mind does not budge.
I spoke about my childhood and memories of growing up - with someone recently - All I remember feeling from that conversation was - I was a bird soaring high. But I still could not write....... It was like there was this veil of cloud over my thoughts that were struggling to escape - the fight to break free started that day .....
A chance encounter today with a magnificent tree whose leaves were splayed in full glory at her footsteps - in a maze of colors honey, brown and green - touched a chord somewhere deep in me. The colors reminded me of a time back in childhood when everything was simpler ......... and the veil lifted finally - after a year
Tirunelveli -where I first learnt to appreciate life in all its simplicity - was a revelation and it shaped me and my sis to love people as they come into our lives
My earliest memory of Tirunelveli is checking into "Blue Star Hotel" where we were put up until dad got the stay arrangements finalized from the bank. I don't know if this hotel still exists - I would love to go see just it once.My dad, sis and I were suffering from Chicken Pox and I remember Mom keeping us all sane at that time what with all the mutual scratching we decided to gift one another in turns :)
Maharajanagar, Near Blind School
I wish to go back and see the house at the address above - where I grew up amidst the white and violet shoe flowers and tall wild grass in the front yard. I remember there being this cemented basement facility - where we had to climb down stairs and fill water in buckets and climb up. During rains - this would be filled to the brim with rain water. Thinking back - it was such an impractical construction. But I remember having made paper boats with my sister and parents and making them sail in our front yard in the muddy water.
I remember the bath area was outside the house and there was - what Sandy and I called - our own private magical forest with wild flowers, garden snakes, green moss along the edges of the backyard, view of the long railway track, sound of the train whistle. Sometimes Sandy and I would pretend we were the masters of the forest :)
I remember our house being opposite to Arthur Uncle's house who was an advocate. Next to his house was Mr. Swaran Singh, who was the IAS collector of that district. On the same lane as ours - was Avudiappan uncle who I hear is a big name in politics today. His was the last house of the lane. If I am not wrong - I think my dad drove himself and Avudiappan uncle into the ditch when he first started learning to ride the two wheeler :)
Dad says that the first day - he took us to school walking - we kept stalling and were picking wild flowers from the road and filling our tiny pockets with them. He would call out Come Sowmya / Come Sandhya - and we would reply in baby shrill tones - Coming Daddy. He loves recounting this to date .........
I have dreamt of this school where I studied Std I to Std IV - several times. In my dreams - I remember being drawn by some invisible force till the huge gates. I remember the vast muddy expanse of land in front of the gates and stopping right at the entrance. I have always felt she is calling me, asking me to come visit. SJSSJS - Shree Jeyandra Saraswati Swamigal Silver Jubilee School - that's the school I studied for 4 glorious years.
I want to see if the fence through which I used to escape out of the school campus at lunch times with my sis and girl friends - remains in some recognizable fashion or has it fallen victim to the new times and conventions. I remember dragging Sandy's tiny hands and running with Ranjani and her sister Ragini to their place which was the closest. We would unpack our home made lunches there and Ranjani's mom would always make us fresh curd rice. Then we would huff and puff and run back to school in time for the classes after lunch.
I want to see if the classrooms and the staff rooms look and feel the same. I remember the hot breeze in summers that would make the huge trees sway and cast an enormously huge shade. I remember eating few lunches under this shade. I made my first set of best friends here - Arundathi and Ranjani. I am in touch with Ranjani. Have never been able to locate Arundathi though and I have not stopped looking.
I want to see if the assembly podium still stands in its semi circular pattern with steps leading up. I want to see if the flag pole stands in the corner there with the waving flag.
I am keeping my mind open to the definite possibility of there being a radical change in the entire vision I have in my head of this beautiful simple place. I am sure I will be saddened at having come too late. But visit her I will .... soon .... and it will be one of the highlights of my life. I hope, despite all these visual changes - the essence of the place remains as I remember it - warm and welcoming
Wait for me Tirunelveli. Falling in love all over again and its a beautiful and magical feeling...............