a writing by Satheesan Rangorath

When my new cousins arrived, days during my holiday started flying. When they came The Pandora boxes they had brought was hiding several things which I had never seen so far anywhere. All the things they had fished our of their trunk boxes were wonderful
and nice several toys cars, jeeps, busses toys of uniformed policemen, toy stethoscope, and a tricycle. It especially brought to my attention with a cute bell on it. My cousins who are the owners of it did not allow anybody to touch it. However, my other cousins took liberty and stole several rides to their hearts wish. The cycle bell was wonderful as it was very east to ring it by just turning the cup. All their things were great and looking fresh. Although, I wished if I could ride it for some time did not materialize until my vacation is over, as I was hesitant to use some ones toys with out his permission. So my desire subsided as days moved. I do not know I am repeating about electricity. At Mananthavadi, there was not electricity in our home. So in our house in the villages was connected to electricity that was another wonder for me to acknowledge. After tricycle, another item that I had seen was an electric iron box, fan and a radio. All those wonderful things made my eyes glitter with awe. I thought those kids are far superior to me as they could use it smartly. Radio was a very inspiring gadget for me to look. I never had a clue how it works. My cousins smartly switched it on and off by turning a knob. I knew I never will have a chance to own, one like that in the near future and it would cost a fortune and my father will never be able to possess one. In few days my other cousins became experts on using tricycle and radio, as I did not touch both items I lagged behind and remained very ignorant. For using radio and cycle stealthily with out my Malaysian cousins knowledge invited severe punishments for them, and they regretted for touching it. I looked it observed it and never touched any.

I switched on our own radio after 13 years when I was aged 19. That also we got it with some financial help from grandma. The radio was a local make having a three-band system. The day we decided to buy a radio I could not sleep until it was really brought home. My father and I went to the show room. Shopkeeper explained merits of the radio we are going to have. With full of thrill and anxiety we reached with the carton and, unpacked. An electrician was called home and he fixed antenna, was something like long copper mesh which he tied inside our front hall. I waited for the evening for switching on and listen to local programmes, especially film music. During that time there was a cricket match going on in Australia, between India and Australia, Nawab Pataudi was the captain of the Indian team. The match took place during nighttime in India and it would continue until following morning. My interest for hearing commentary on cricket match did not last long as my father did not approve of me wake up all night and not only disturbing others but also making the radio wearout, because of long time usage. Moreover, I had some of my friends too joining me to listen to commentary and could not say” no “to them. It was very difficult for my father to approve. On hearing a nice mouth lash by my father next day morning, I decided to stop using the radio and went on with my business of learning the score from the evening and morning news.

This writeup about radio in this blog is incidental, as I have to go back to my childhood stories again. Days went on smoothly, slowly relationships with my rich cousins also improved a lot, especially I had no complaints about them and they also was cordial as I did not touch any of their gadgets unless they forced me. My younger cousin Saru was very fond of me and we played often together. I remember she gave me a pencil sharpener and a Blue leafed letter pad, which I had kept safely until my college days. All of them considered superior to us as they were speaking English fluently and mothers, sisters and co brothers, all patronized them well by refereeing their skill in speaking English at a young age.

Most of afternoons we all spent time outside the house under the shades of coconut and other household trees. We boys started playing a game, which was quite new to me and I was not fit enough to play that game as I was still a small boy. The play requires your skill to climb on a tree quickly, which I do not posses at that time. The play called”Marakkolattam”. Any number of players can participate. A lot will select one boy, he is responsible to begin the play, as soon as he counts number one to twenty. In the mean time, all other children have to run and climb the tree. After finishing count, he will have to climb up the tree and touch one of other monkeys. In the mean time, any one of boys has to touch a stick that is kept under the tree in a circle. If any one touches the stick, the same process have to begin again, the odd boy has to count gain. If he is successful in catching any one, will have to go and start counting. In addition, the previous boy can join the side. Although, it is a sort of dangerous play, we all liked it. For the same reason it invited attention of elders and they come out of their siesta, scold, and lash us often with a tiny cane. Cousin Sisters were often responsible for informing elders.
However, we thoroughly enjoyed every day by playing in the pond in the household compound or visit to nearby temples and fighting with each other for some silly things, which was very important at that time. One of my cousins was very particular to have his meal in a new plate so; he used to hide all the new plates that were kept out for the new comers. Some times the quarrel shall be on such matters.

As I had stated there April 14 is approaching, New Year day in Northern parts of Kerala.This time all co-brothers with uncles decided to shop for the celebration. chami followed them carrying a big bamboo basket. My self some how managed to accompany them.
They bought fruits and vegetable then new clothes for all. The important item that we children looked forward to was firecrackers, coloured firelighters, and coloured sparkers.In addition, there was another kind of cracker like a shirt button, which cracks when hit with a hammer. All these things were novelty for me as I had been seeing it for the first time.On thirteenth night head of family arranges images of lord Krishna and all fresh fruits and vegetables be arranged beautifully in front of the deity. There will gold and coins in a plate. A mirror is kept reflecting all these things on it. A brass oil lamp will be lit on the next day morning. The idea for this arrangement is to view all the things in the mirror
So that the whole year will be happy and prosperous. Next day at dawn head of family will rise from the bed, view arranged auspicious things through the mirror, and he will call one by one according to seniority and age. They will not see any thing before they see these arrangements through mirror. After everyone finishes viewing of the divine Offerings, the head of family calls everyone and hands over a silver coin as a gift.Similarly, each elder ones in the family would give a coin to members of family Usually nobody spends this money as it is given as a lucky present. It will be kept in the purse for good luck.

There is a philosophical side for viewing arrangements. This whole world is like a reflection on mirror and all the things we possess and see out side are just perishable One must be discriminate while using the possessions we have.

We children all join at the front yard to crack the crackers in view of the celebrations. Every one joins in enjoying fire works. After the bath and Wearing new clothes women will be busy preparing break fast and feast for the after noon. I think I conclude my blog here leaving a big part for the next installment.

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