Sunday, May 07, 2006


Life has become a never ending rat race. Everyone is in a rush to buy the latest marvel of technology; the latest gadgets, fancy cars, and expensive homes. I struggle to understand the logic. Isn’t happiness about simple things in life? Happiness, at least to me, isn’t about gadgets or cars or houses or money. It is about feeling good, light, simple, happy and serene. It is not a rat race to one-up anyone.

Memories of childhood are stippled with simple things that made me happy. The simple joy of playing cricket till sunset, listening to my aunt reading aloud paico classics, watching Sanjay KD acting out mohanlal movies, playing tabala on plastic buckets at NCC camps, walking back from school with my brother along that tranquil creek sucking on rainbow striped cigarette candies we purchased from labba kakka’s murukkan kada. Happiness was in collecting monsoon drops that dripped off our thatch roof, summer vacations with achamma, playing seven tiles with friends, and eating thatha-chundan maambazham on hot summer afternoons.

Happiness was amma’s home made unni appam. And achamma’s ada pradhaman, rich with pure ghee and whole green cardamom. Oh! That taste.
Happiness was in the simple pleasure of wading the quiet creek by the paddy fields, with my brother. Fishing with dirty, oily, mildew laden bath towels. Knee deep, in the cool water, loose algae flowing past our bare legs, fish darting about as we disturbed their sanctuaries. Feeding the ones we caught and housed in horlicks jars. We fed them earth worms and crushed rice. The creek bottom was littered with shards and broken glasses. We cut our legs, and scrapped our knees. But the pleasure of fishing abated our pain. That was an adventure we enjoyed without Amma’s knowledge or consent. The secrecy of the adventure was more satisfying than the fun of fishing itself.

Pleasure was tromping through the coconut groves. Picking mulberries and thetti pazham. Watching little lazy silk worms nibbling tender mulberry leafs. Suckling honey from banana blossoms. Pelting stones at 8-acre musaliar’s mango trees. Sneaking out to Santhy’s home. Spinning tops made from tapioca seeds, and riding cycle tires days on end.

I wonder if my son will ever have such a childhood. I wonder if he will hear the soft sounds of the afternoon winds, the pleasure of picking guava, the art of fishing with a half torn bath towel, the thrill of playing hide and seek between hay stacks, the adventure of instigating strange cows, the beauty of pregnant creeks and green paddy fields drenched in monsoon rain, the sound of crickets and the sight of frog hunters with peevish petro-max lights. The delight of fresh warm ghee smothered unni appam. The silence and serenity of our small village.

Growing up, life was simple; we studied when we were told to. We played at every opportunity, and enjoyed most of it with boundless enthusiasm. Happiness was in simple things. I would give anything to have it back.


Blogger Anoop said...

Paddy Fields making way for Petrol pumps. Sea sides all turning into expensive resorts. remote villages making way for eco tourism and monsoon tourism.

Soon the state will be a tourists paradise. Wow, the irony of a native having to be in the tourists' shoe.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Syju JS said...

You took me trough a journet almost 24 years back..... and the rich green paddy fields are no longer there.. but you will find small concrete buildings comming up. The small stream where we used to fish.. died a brutal death when the villagers wanted a road there. And so vanished the fish. Elappa's kada gave way for his son's big Bunglaw,cycle tyres are now used for burning during Band / hartal days and the air is no more sweeter. Coconut trees fall prey to "kaatu veezcha" and paico now brings out Pokemon adventures!

God's own country... maybe true..! But where's the God?

9:52 AM  
Blogger kashmu said...


The only remaining greenery in the Gods Own Country is within the mindspaces of a few good men like you.

Thanks for opening up that nostalgic and picturesque memory lane of yours for the rest of us.

For sure it was those days, when our inner worlds were much smaller we enjoyed each and every moment of our lives, when there was nothing else to think about other than the immediate surroundings where countless mysteries were embedded. Growing up was a slow and painful process of replacing those small mystic worlds with the big 'n ugly world of grown ups.

Thanks once again for these little specs of happines sprinkled in this little blog.

6:16 PM  
Blogger ann said...

byju san ..

"ormakal oodi kalikkuvanethunnu ..
muttathe chakkara maavin chuvattil .." rite?!!

however the place changes, the sweet childhood memories lie embedded in our casket of memories!!

very nostalgic..!!


10:43 AM  
Blogger silverine said...

This was written so beautifully. But what Anoop says is also true. The once famous famous green cover of Kerala is fast turning into a concrete jungle. Therein lies a tragedy.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"oruvattam kudia puzayude teerattu verute irikkuvan moham, verute irunnora kuyilinte pattu keteturpattu paduvan moham...." but, yet there is a big but...,

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Priyadarshan said...

what eles, the ambala kulam, where i am waiting for the girl who is comming from the school to attend my batch in the tutorial college..., the waiting time outside the ambala pultattu, where i am usually taking rest to pass the heavenly wint in the evening..., the coocoo of the kuyil, the letters which i decided to give one of my schoolmete,(which was never happened)...

kabhi sochta tha ki kaash vo ledki chalte chalte mod kar dekh leti.... par jab vo nikal jati he..tab kabhi himmat nahi hui ki ek bar kahu ki muche tum se pyar he... ha tum se pyar he....

bachpan ke yade.... kaash vo din vapas aa jaye...

the days i want to return back is my child hood. i want my village back in that position when i was there. i want that paddy fields... i want see "kkare" from "ikkare" i want to cross the paddy field in a nicker, the water drops in the paddy leafs, which formed from the overnight duws... i want feel it in my legs....

Me...Priyadarshan............. the man who lost all and everything... with only memories of his village

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anand said...

Happened to get to your blog by chance. Your post took me back to my own childhood days. The last many years I have been hopping from one city to another. The city life has increased my nostalgia for my early childhood years in my village. Not a day goes by without those memories and I thank my parents and god for giving me that experience. Even to this day the memories remain fresh... You are right, I too wonder, and often feel sad, for the younger ones now for never even having a chance for that. "Nastapetta Dinangal" as M.T. would say..

5:28 PM  
Blogger Bhagya said...

Dear Byju,

Thanks for refreshing some of my childhood memories too. Hope my son would appreciate the simple pleasures of life as much as I do. Given the abundance/scarcity of everything in his little life, hope I would still be able to teach him the humility, simplicity & respect to the simple pleasures that life offers. True pleasure for some including me is really not in techno gizmos, video games, pubs, alcohol, expensive stuff in life rather it lies in life itself.

There is hope in US too may be better than today's Gods Own Country. I live in Atlanta & wake up the birds chirping noice in the morning(not during winter), infact we have a tree next to the master bed room with a bunch of new born young birds its fun watching them fly or fail while fly. Get all excited & happy when I see a fire fly, love the walks on the Chattahoochee river beds, love the fall colors, the spring flowers. Love to catch fish with my son in the river with his little net. I can never make him understand & appreciate the simpler life in India that it used to be.
For me, I have grown up enough being a working mom that life can never be as simple or carefree as it used to be while I was a child. But for the people who love life the choice is very easy. I'm sure you will be a great dad. Just tell him these stories from your childhood & I'm sure he will grow up & appreciate them quite as much as you do. And he will have his own childhood stories to tell his kids.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Anoop G said...

very nostalgic post..

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice idea with this site its better than most of the rubbish I come across.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suppose nostalgia is good .But life goes on... Changes are inevitable. Just like you have moved to other places for many reasons, people are changing things for their own reasons.. This is life...! Our children have to live knowing this, and getting what is now there... They have to find their 'Happiness' in different ways...

10:39 PM  

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