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Hacking The Past Away

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by twinsmom, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 10"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 10"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Ckarthik%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="time"></o:smarttagtype><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> The Parijatha tree was felled today. The veteran shrub was sentenced to death by Sharada Aunty and it was executed by her hench woman Narasamma and her executioner son, Ramesh. I was on my neighbour’s terrace ( our house adjoins that of our tenants’) when I saw Narasamma and her son wielding their weapons of gross destruction.
    With a smile I jumped over the parapet that connected our terrace to that of my neighbour’s and once inside the house asked Amma who the victim was.

    “The Parijatha,” Amma said in subdued anger and sadness and I was shocked.

    A casual act of felling a garden shrub now became in my eyes an act of mindless massacre… The Parijatha shrub which had got promoted to seniority and designation of ‘tree’ had been there, nestling the Western wall of our ancestral home in Bhadravathi, for as long as I remember. Amma said, it had been there when she had set foot in this house as new bride. Like a matriarchal goddess the shrub used to shower its blessings – those thousands of little fragrant flowers for eons. Every night, while washing my hands after dinner, I’d linger, just to inhale the heavenly scent of the eager buds that blossomed like debutantes getting ready for a royal ball. I’d whiff in their eagerness to please me with a tinge of nostalgia… of the home in Kerala in which I grew up from a dreamy and imaginative young girl to a woman soon to be transplanted to alien soil in Karnataka!

    Parijatha was called Pavizhamalli in my hometown. My childhood memories comprise of many a finely wrought filigree patterned with the Pavizhamalli tree, the Nellikkai tree (gooseberry) and the Thulasi Madam ( the raised structure in which Sacred Basil is planted).

    As kids we used to hang around our paternal grandmother as she did her morning Thulasi puja and also at the base of the gooseberry tree. We’d compete with one another while collecting the pavizhamalli flowers. My brother would shake the boughs of the old shrub and hundreds of flowers would come down in a shower, flashing pearly white and coquelicot red (to be precise). We’d scramble about with baskets to collect the choicest of those beauties.

    The shrub with its rubbery and rough dull green leaves would tolerate our shoves and pulls great patience. Little wonder for I have seen it wait for seasons to come and go like a ‘cursed Ahalya’ till one fine morning burst into thousands of blossoms.

    There was another flowering shrub that was an integral part of my wonder years. The Gandharajan ( Gardenia ) that grew beside the compound wall of Jothirama’s house. Jothirama actually stands for Jyothi and Rama, the sisters who were my childhood friends. I used to spend all my spare time with them. Though I was scared of their disciplinarian mother’s stentorian tones and stern face and their short tempered maternal grandfather, it didn’t deter me from skulking along the walls and secreting them away from their books and enjoying a wide plethora of childhood games. We loved the <st1:time minute="0" hour="12">noons</st1:time>, when adults indulged in siesta. We’d climb up the wall and perch or lounge on the branches of the huge Gardenia tree ( it was too old and majestic to be called a shrub). There would always be a couple of errant Gandharajan flowers which had managed to elude the prying eyes and hands of the adults who’d ‘religiously’ forage for flowers every morning and rob the tree of its glory in the name of gods and goddesses. We’d pull those hidden beauties and whiff in the heavenly smell of those brave blossoms and be transported to our own world of fantasies filled with prices, fairies, angels and the magic of childhood and imagination uncluttered by intrusive and invasive Visual media…

    On being spotted by their mom who’d come to the kitchen for preparing the afternoon tea, see us from the kitchen window and shout at us, for Gandhrajan is supposedly frequented by snakes, we’d shimmer down the tree and the wall, often scraping our calves and knees against the mossy but rough surface and scramble to the huge barn in my compound. There we’d flop on bales of hay and continue with our fun. I knew
    Jothirama would get scolded for their escapades later by their mother but that never stopped them from joining me in my adventures.

    I have never seen another Gandharajan shrub after that. The one in Jothirama’s house had multiple petals and were pretty big in size. My father’s frequent transfers estranged me from my ancestral home and when I returned from my hostel just before my marriage, I found that Jothirama had moved away long back and strangers occupied that house. Though I often get dreams of going back to that house and each time I enter the house I find strangers and run for my life. When I returned for my delivery, the house had been demolished by the government and a commercial complex had been erected there.

    This evening as I saw the remnants of the Parijatha (somehow, it was never ‘Pavizhamalli’ for me!) I felt sad. Another veteran laid to rest, mourns my heart. Like the Pavizhamalli and Gandharajan of my wonder years, the Parijatha of my in laws’ house has become a mere memory now… a painfully sweet memory.
     
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  2. sundarusha

    sundarusha Gold IL'ite

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    Dear twinsmom,

    enjoyed the flow of descriptive words. I could visualize you jumping over the short parapet and the look of shock on your face when you learnt it was the parijatha tree that was massacred.

    Ah! It must have hurt. I wish they had just trimmed its branches instead.

    As I read through your post, it felt as though a whiff of parijathas and the gardenias floated in the air. Powerful presentation!

    I have tried growing both and know how hard it is.

    The comparison to Ahalya was unique and it must have been a lot of fun rolling in the bales of hay!
     
  3. Jpatma

    Jpatma Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Twinsmom,

    Parijatham or pavizhamalli is one of my favorite flower.I too remember shaking the tree and collecting flowers and garlanding to the pictures of God, in the process i used to think iam andal.

    The fragrance is still in my nostrils and even today when i see it brings back all the memories.

    Gardenia as you say i hardly find it ,though pavizhamalli is quite common in Indian homes in Malaysia.

    I remember thazambu ,my mom used to plait it and though it was heavy and prickly i loved to walk with it like a bride or a dancer. My uncle used to frighten me by saying it will attract snake and the fear always lurked in my mind though superficially i shrugged it.

    This post is so full of fragrance .
     
  4. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Viju,

    Touching post.Yes i can imagine yr anguish, for when u have seen a tree since childhood, u get attached to it.Good one.

    Regards

    kamal
     
  5. natpudan

    natpudan Gold IL'ite

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    twinsmom,

    that was really a great tribute to the nature & it depicts the things we miss in life now, which once we enjoyed with out really having valued their importance.

    paarijhaatham, pavizhamalli, thaazhambu (jpatma) and all the other names really took me to those school days and i actually felt smelling the fragrance like sundarusha.

    you had really written well the feelings associated with them and successfully made the reader also feel / smell the same. that's a great job.

    i really relate these trees to the relations which we fail to understand when in contact & miss once they are gone.
     
  6. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Sundarusha....hi!

    Thank you for the lovely words of appreciation. Sometimes, something that comes out of pain becomes a thing of beauty. The words just gushed out the minute I saw the hapless branches and leaves lying on the ground.
     
  7. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Jpatma,

    My grandmother used to make long garlands using magnolias and gardenias... and once, my younger brother just took it from the basket and wore it. Then he grandly paraded in front of the adults who looked stunned! My mother dragged him to her and gently removed the garland and then thrashed him.
     
  8. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Kamalji...Hi,

    Yes, one remembers the little things of childhood as one is older and away from home!
    Just back after a month in Sharjah. Got lots to read...
     
  9. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    hello natpudan,
    I suppose nostalgia is made of such little memories... It is sad but sweetly so!
     
  10. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Twinsmom,

    This post is like a rose and thorn...
    Sweet memories with a sad end.

    We had 2 pavazhamalli trees in our house and both are different in their shapes..one is more round at the tips and the other is sharp at the tips.

    Um..those are the days!

    sriniketan
     

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