a writing by Satheesan Rangorath

My Stories (Oh What a dream that was,my childhood days)

I never had a vague idea what I shall become when I grow up. I do not know what was expected of me as a child? Freezing cold weather and incessant rainfalls doomed my days of uncertainty and insecurity in a place called Mananthvadi, a district head quarters now, of a district called Wynad in northern Kerala. The house we were living was not a regular house. It was a shelter with a kitchen and a sleeping place, not a regular bedroom .in fact; it was part of a barn house, where the owner Kunjhan Nambiar, a wealthy property owner used for keeping his harvested paddy and other harvested corps.

As a punishment from my father, I was not allowed to wear any trousers in the cold climate as I had refused to wear coarse flannel trousers, which was itching my back. I had to live with my shame covering my bottom with a long shirt falling down to my knee. All these aspects affected my personality as a child. In spite of all the negativity, I liked Mananthavadi and its cold climate.

I started my schooling at the age of seven, there in an elementary school by joining in standard three. My father was a teacher in the government high school. My Preparatory school was very far from the place where we were staying. So I could not go to school for first and second standards. I had to study the entire syllabus at home. This home study programme suggested by my father was not doing me any good. I was getting bored and lonely as a child. I could not find enough friends of my age. Moreover, my father was very harsh and hard on me while teaching math and social studies. The math sums he used to give me everyday while he was leaving had to be done completely. If any mistakes done in the answers, would be met with a lash on my back with a specially made cane for me. However, I made it a point to please him by doing my math problems well, in order to avoid the wrath from my father.

I think I had better call my stories put together a novel, so that I can escape the embarrassment of being critical toward my father. Although, my story is almost autobiographic, but I would make it semi fictional by dramatizing it into half-truth from full truths. If my father reads my writing one day, I do not want to feel him embarrassed and uncomfortable. It is my cultural belief that the respect toward parents should not be in short supply as they are the people who brought me to this earth, gave me life. My gratitude and thanks should no go unnoticed.

The village Mananthavadi is a hill station, when I spent my childhood there it was very remote and not very easily accessible only link to the nearest town is by a road, built by British during the war between Tippu Sultan and Colonel Wellesley. I am not touching that part of history as it requires a lot of research and not relevant to my story.I remember our shelter was situated down a hill. To reach there one had to climb down many steps. Continues rain often made steps slippery. It is very hard to reach home. Landscape of the house has three parts one a hill over looking our courtyard on the side there were further steps down leading to a stream. Across the stream, there are acres and acres of paddy fields always spread with wave of green silk and turned into golden yellow ready for harvesting when season approaches. Back yard was another semi hilly region thick with forest and orange farm. East side is dense with coffee and pepper plantations west side is another hilly region thick with forest. The humming of rain in the forest often woke me up early in the morning, may be the fresh fragrance of good earth mixed with the aroma of forest flowers shaped my poetic tastes. Birds and flowers made me look at them with curiosity, I loved to watch them closely their colour and glamour, their shapes and calmness. Lying on my bed, I used to listen to their singing, I marked them by sound not by name. Far from the paddy fields farmers whistle acknowledging each other ready for ploughing. Folk songs rise from the watching shelters often took me to them. Tin drums hanged on treetops in order to ward away pigs, boars and other wild animals often woke me up in the middle of the night. It used to give me shivers. A long howl of wolfs and foxes made me cuddle myself in fear under the blanket. Now I love to reminiscent all those experiences. The smell of coffee flowers, green, and red coffee beans ready for cropping. Humming bees from flower to flower. Pepper wicks full with fresh green peppers. It was a green land filled with many wonderful plants and animals. When my father left for teaching in his school, I used to wander around looking at each thing I come across with awe and wonder. The nature was at her best sprawling in splendor. My imagination took root in the loosened earth of my child hood days.Dawn in the village was a feast mystified with soft and subtle delicacies of life. morning mist. Golden rays of sun mixed with grains of mist filled my eyes with wonder. Butterflies and dragonflies tickled my little mind. It is believed that dragonflies are angels from heaven. Butterflies filled my mind with full of colors. Oh, what a dream that was my childhood days.

During this period, I noticed I have the chance of making friendship with two girls of my age. They were my landlord’s daughters. Shall I continue my story in the next blog?

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