In the quiet hours of afternoon, I stood in the balcony watching a Gerbera Daisy bud, swaying in the breeze. A light breeze blew a few strands of hair that were resting on my cheeks and it took me to something back in Alleppey, a smile blossomed on my face.
Alleppey, my hometown is an abode to all sorts of water bodies. It has lagoons, canals, backwaters and beaches. Each time I visit, I am mesmerized by the scenic waterways, and the reminiscence of what was once a well-planned hub of business and transportation. With the development of much bigger Cochin port nearby and other means of transportation like roads and railways, development of Alleppey took a back seat. Small canals, which once crowded with canoes that took goods and people in and out of the city are now covered with a layer of weeds. The city is now a major tourist location.
Whenever I visit Alleppey, I never miss an opportunity to visit the Beach. I hear Her welcomes from far. When I reach close by the welcomes become louder. When I get closer, walking in the sand, Her waves make a big thud and rush to embrace me as if they know I have stepped on her sands. The waves are carpeted with tiny white bubbles that pop at my feet as if in celebration of my return. The canvass of sky bears different hues and strokes each time. Whenever we meet, I make sure there are some quiet moments between us. I close my eyes and listen to the thunderous thud the waves make, and feel the breeze and soak in the warmth of the sun. The Beach patiently listens to the beats of my heart and feels the storm in my mind, strokes my hair with the breeze and calms the storm. As I enjoy the welcome of the waves, one after the other, they dig my feet deep in the sand without my knowledge, rooting me deep within as if they do not want me to leave. Before I get back home, I make a promise to return soon.
This is what these innocent places do to you, isn’t it? They cleanse you and connect to your heart so well that no matter how far you go, you find your heart lost in the nook and corners of those places and beating for it.
I was returning home after the Cradle Ceremony of cute little Anushka. The blessed angel slept in her well decorated cradle in midst of chatters and laughter of all her relatives who surrounded her. “The world has so much in store for you Little Anushka, go ahead. Explore!”, the thought crossed my mind, as I smiled and rocked the decked up cradle. After the ceremony, there was a sumptuous meal. Yum! Thank you Little Anushka!
Heading back home with an over-full tummy, especially in an Autorickshaw is a tough job. With the wind blowing in from all directions your eyelids feel heavy. My daughter had already surrendered. She comfortably snuggled on to my lap. Struggling to keep myself awake, I looked outside. At a traffic signal, I saw just what I was looking for. I saw three girls, standing beside an auto rickshaw, with their little money bags open. They were pooling in money to pay the driver I assume. The driver had a Will-I-Get-The-Money-Anytime-Soon look. I smiled! Those open money bags dragged me back to my little bag of memories.
We too were a “gang” of three at college- Anagha, Vaishnavi and me. We were doing our Masters at University of Bangalore. After our class, we would go to places and dawdle. Often, we would go to Gandhi Bazaar, Jayanagar or Commercial Street to check out what’s new and eat at the local eatery or else we spent hours at the University library doing our assignments and having coffee at the university canteen and sharing our food. Anagha and Vaishnavi both had that interest in introducing me to local food and language and took care of me so well as I was new to the place. The by two coffees, the Palak Chaklis, the Chitranna; which Anagha fondly called Picture Rice (‘Chitra’ means picture, ‘Anna’ means rice), the Prasadam at Iskon; where Vaishnavi took us enthusiastically, The Star Fruit and many more! Those memories live so fresh in me that I almost had a feel and taste of all those and I felt a little hungry. As I sank in an overwhelming feeling of gratitude towards them I heard the auto driver ask something. I gave an inquiring look.
“Ee Gate aa (This gate)??” Asked the Rikshaw driver.
“Haudu (yes)” said I.