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Going Back To Your Ancestors Home

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by SGBV, Sep 11, 2021.

  1. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    We have visited our maternal grand parents house a few days back. It was an accident though.
    Almost after 5 decades, my mom was able to identify her childhood home in Jaffna sometimes back. Then the legal battle has started against some random persons who have encroached our ancestors property.
    To cut the long story short, we've won the case.

    Entering into that old, yet well maintained home was a bliss. Thanks to those who encroached the home & maintained it for vintage tourism business for the past several decades.

    It was a huge villa type house. Very old fashioned with lots of pillars. It only needed some minor renovations to bring the liveliness back.

    Every corner of that house remembered my grand mother, who was my role model in life.
    Her bed time stories, her explanation about her home & her life style never ceased to inspire me.

    My grandma used to live there with her parents until her marriage to my grand father, who was a doctor. Later, her parents donated that house to grandma - their only DD.
    She had delivered 8 children in that house, including my mom who was the last and the only female child.

    Despite having 8 children, my grandma stayed fit and healthy.

    She uses to wake up early around 4 am, and clean the entire house with the help of domestic servants.
    Even though there were plenty of helps around, my grandma never allowed others to enter into her kitchen - which was her Paradise.

    That kitchen had an open varanda - very unusual to our modern homes.
    Those who were considered low caste back in their times, entered through that varanda & my grandma used to serve them food daily. She used to keep separate plates & cups for those underprivileged people.
    Although i used to fight with grandma on this caste segregation matter, I begin to feel her nobleness of wanting to feed others despite differences.

    There was a long L shaped varanda in the front and that was kept for the travellers to rest at night.

    This is something we can't imagine in our country these days.
    We live in an era where we used to lock our front gate even during day times fearing unwanted entrants.

    But grandma would usually keep a mud can full of drinking water and a mat outside, and keep her gate wide open. So that, the travellers could take some rest during the night & resume their journey as sun rises.

    Everyday, she would clean both varandas with water, but never considered this arrangement as disturbance.

    Those days, they would get lots of meats from those who hunt in the nearby jungles. My grandpa being a famous doctor in town, had so many followers. They would gift him with food, meat, fish and other varieties to express their sincere gratitude for his services.

    Those were the days without electricity or refrigerator.
    So, they would cook & sun dry those steaks of meats for future conception.

    It was a 65 acres of coconut land, but they also had varieties of vegetables, fruits, teak and other valuable plants.
    Those days, they had never bought food from outside except for rice.

    They hand plucked the vegetables daily & covered up all their nutritional needs from their own land only.

    Those were the times without TV or Social media. So the women entertained themselves with cooking experiments. My grandma was no different either.

    She used to cook & bake varieties of snacks & bites and keep them in air tight containers.

    There was no dining room in that house. They used to eat outside under a large tree. A typical dining arrangement was made out of wooden materials there.
    The family would sit together & enjoy their meal with fresh air.

    There were 10-12 persons in that house almost all the time. Plus they usually had guests coming over. Yet, they never felt lack of privacy.

    Grandma made sure that she serves special food on poornima days, and the entire family would eat together in an open place in their garden area. This is something my mom still cherishes.

    They mostly co slept & most of the time the men in the family had portable beds to sleep outside on poornima days.

    Once in a month, they would go to cinema theatre and it was their only entertainment.
    They enjoy the entire day in preparing for their theatre visit & that's so fun to hear.

    My mom & her brothers would invite all their friends to their home & there will be 20-25 people at a time playing, singing & recording songs for fun. But grandma would serve them all fresh food with love.

    They survived with simple lamps & firewood for light. No fans or air conditioners back then.
    They never had attached bathrooms, but a local toilet few yards away from their house.

    Those were the times, when snakes and other jungle animals freely roamed, yet none of them feared or compromised their lifestyle fearing any harms.

    They never celebrated birthday or anniversaries. Leave alone mothers, father's or Valentine days.
    But they did celebrate Christmas grandly.

    On the Christmas eve, everyone would attend midnight mass, but grandma would stay at home and prepare sweet pan cakes & black coffee to all. It was a custom she maintained till her death.

    So many people including their friends and relatives visit them after the mid night mass as their home was on the road side. But my grandma would still be serving them hot food to welcome Christmas.

    My grandma was one energetic woman, she would always make sure everyone around her is happy & satisfied.

    She had to leave her home several decades back following a dispute, and never returned back till she lived.

    But she would fondly remember her past, especially her home all the time.

    In fact, I was able to picturize her life & her home clearly even before i saw that house.

    Today, we are back in our ancestors house. Everything reminds me of them, their noble life.

    It is a great feeling
     
    Amica, Deepu04, Laks09 and 16 others like this.
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  2. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @SGBV,

    Thank you for sharing those great memories of your grandmother here in this snippet. I was happy to take that journey with you and your family visualizing those days. Your grandmother indeed is a role model in her deep unconditional love for everyone around her. I understand your argument with your grandma about seggregation but you can overlook that considering her other great qualities. What a delight it would be to have full moon dinners below the tree with the entire family and the guests! It is interesting to note that they plugged the vegetables from their own garden everyday to cook which indicates that you can't get more organic than that. I am sure they had plenty of firewood to cook food those days with so many trees around this palatial house. As you said, that generation enjoyed cooking so much as it was one of the greatest entertainments for them. Playing with grandchildren and feeding them is another one they cherished so much.

    Leaving gate open and having a place for traveling people to rest and leave after Sunrise is a tradition that was practiced in villages in India as well. They used to have Neer Pandal to provide Buttermilk, Panagam and other drinks as those who passby will be thirsty during summer. Offering food to the strangers was common 3 generations ago which we have forgotten these days.

    I don't know how but my wife picked up this habit and practice it here in the US as well. Any technician who comes into our home to repair dishwasher, refridgerator, washer & dryer, plumbing or electrical work will have water, coffee, tea provided always and if they are at home during lunch or dinner, they will be provided freshly cooked food as well. When we renovated our bathroom and kitchen in 2016, all of them who worked for nearly a month were provided food daily and as we are vegetarians, my wife told me to give them money so that they can buy food of their choice.
     
    Amica, SGBV, maalti and 3 others like this.
  3. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Kudos to @SGBV for the gripping narration.

    It landed me in my dad’s ancestral home and the legal battles that he encountered with his elder brothers and later when he won the battle he spent his hard earned + borrowed money around ₹2000 to renovate.

    I was 12 when I played in the sand heap and piled up bricks when the building was under renovation. All the workers engaged in the renovation were provided fresh cooked meal by an old lady next door.

    Before renovation, it was like a “ WO KHUN THEE?” booth bungalow.

    Then the legal battle has started against some random persons who have encroached our ancestors property.

    When the property is discarded or left unattended, it is always encroached upon. Recently my own house which was almost in dilapidated, a couple of thieves in midnight broke open and when they found nothing valuable to rob, in anguish they broke the doors windows and electrical fittings. Police could not find them even today. For some reasons unable to dispose this property. The house reminds my parents who spent evening of their life there.
    She got. Otherwise how she could be so strong and agile to take care of huge family and hearth.

    That was akin to her using primitive gym that kept her fit throughout the day and possibly night too.
    Were there then any food sellers? ( asking not considering it as anachronism)food was available plenty with all neighbours to part with free.

    In 1940s there were a handful cinema houses and it used to be a great journey to theatre in bullock driven carts in nights through jungles with possibility of attacks by thieves hiding in top tree branches.

    Recording was possible in India three four generations back!
    My parents too sailed in the same boat and my mom used to insist for receiving and eating the food or snacks and or drinking the butter milk or beverage. It is an act of camaraderie and because of this their rendering service used to remain excellent.
     
    Amica, maalti and nandinimithun like this.
  4. Ruby2019

    Ruby2019 Silver IL'ite

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    I was imagining each and every scene as you narrated it I’m sure I would not be the only one but if privacy is not an issue, any glimpses from photos of this beautiful house you can share with us? I can only imagine how the kitchen and verandah looks like
     
  5. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    @nandinimithun thank you for your awarding a “ like” at #3 above. I cherish this award from you especially after long hiatus.
    Regards.
     
    SGBV likes this.
  6. maalti

    maalti Silver IL'ite

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    Yes, I would also like to have glimpses of this beautiful house. Very nicely written. As Ruby2019 rightly pointed out, I was also able to imagine each and every scene you narrated.
     
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  7. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks everyone for your likes and wonderful comments. I am extremely sorry for the late reply.
    I will surely share the pics of the house very soon.
     
    maalti likes this.
  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @SGBV,

    Sometime back I had an urge to visit every place my grandfather lived and I was inquiring about the residences of him with the seniors in our family. One of them is a quarters assigned to the principal of Guindy Engineering College. At that time I was living in Adyar and I made an easy trip to this house located inside the campus. I was able to connect everything I heard about him including my grandfather inviting the young men from villages to come and study engineering and giving them free boarding and accommodation in his home.

    Prior to that I studied my undergrad in Annamalai University and when I joined PUC, my mathematics professor asked my background when I described my grandfather as a dean of Engineering College in Annamalai University for a short period before he passed away in that home assigned to him by the University. He immediately recalled those days and took me to that house where my grandfather passed away. It was such a memorable experience.

    10-15 years back, I went to a village near Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu to specifically see a house where my grandfather was raised as a child and where my greatgrandfather lived. As soon as my wife and I walked into the house, we were introduced to a Ramar Pattabhishekam paining that our greatgrandfather worshiped every day. My wife immediately wanted to bring that painting to our home in the US but unfortunately, the people who were living in that house refused to do so. We walked away disappointed but at least had the satisfaction of visiting the house where my grandfather was raised.

    That interest to see his homes were triggered because I met so many 80+ year old people when I visited my friend's house here in the US who passionately recalled my grandfather's contribution to their lives. Some of them looked at me with reverence when I mentioned about who my grandfather was. My grandmother told me her experience of traveling to Kandy located in the central province of Sri Lanka along with Sri Viswesarayiah for a structural design of a major civil project. I don't recall the project name. My grandmother used to passionately recall the hospitality she experienced with Sri Lankans when they lived in Kandy for a brief period.
     
    Amica, maalti and KashmirFlower like this.

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