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’d been to a shopping mall today. As I recollected what I wanted and moved swiftly past the shops, my eyes fell on the doughnut shop. It has been a long time since I had one. I made an instant decision of having one. I walked towards the shop. I glanced through the wide range of doughnuts and there it was in a corner, a very simple Sugar Doughnut. I ordered one and waited for it at the table. While waiting I scribbled down a rough list of what I wanted. There it came. I took a bite, like a gentle breeze flipping the pages of a book, it flipped back many years in my mind.
“What do you want?” asked my Dad,
“That one” I replied with a smile, pointing out to the Sugar Doughnut.
The doughnut reminded me of this conversation many years ago. I still remember watching it through the glass of the bakery display case. It was my very first doughnut. No doughnut I ate in the later years matched the taste of it. Not even this one. Thank you Dad.
That doughnut I ate opened a big box of memories. The one at the beach, is my all time favourite. I was scared of waves when I was a kid. The scare was wiped out through a trick. Dad used to hold my palms tightly, and wait for the wave to come. Once it was there near our feet, he used to lift me up. Then put me down gently, I felt the water withdrawing under my feet. Gradually the scare vanished. The trust I had on you during those ‘wave attacks’, has multiplied many times, as I encountered many waves in life, and without fail you’ve lifted me up always. Thank you Dad for being there and making memories memorable.
Now when I see my husband and daughter, I see my dad and me, the bond between a daughter and a father. It is a delight to watch them. I am reliving the experience through them. Like the shape of a Sugar Doughnut, in life, I have reached back where my dad and I started.
Happy Father’s Day!
I had been to Karkala this weekend. A small town in Udupi district, Karnataka, where my husband belongs to. Located at the foothills of the vibrant Western Ghats, this place during monsoon is a nature lover’s dream. All you get to see especially during rains is the fresh lush green growth as far as your eyes could see. I love that place for what it holds within it, people, culture, cuisine, nature and more.
I had ‘Alambo’ a.k.a. Thunder mushrooms, this time during my visit. Though the name sounds something thunderous, they are pretty small and delicious, stemless mushrooms. Its one of the seasonal foods that is available during the rainy season, especially during the rains accompanied by thunder and lightning. My mother-in-law was preparing Alambe Ambat, a sumptuous Konkani dish, made out of mushroom and coconut based gravy, that is loved by Konkanis in the region. She was cleaning the mushrooms, I learnt how to do it and I joined in. As I cleaned it, I was thinking of the many smiles that will come out of the melting taste of it. It has this little bit hard, clingy, rubbery outer skin, inside of it, is a white pebble like delicate mushroom. This is the face of happiness, I thought. Happiness in life is just like those mushrooms. We have to find those tiny bit of happiness underneath the soil even during those thunderous rainy days. Even though there is a little bit of rubbery layer of anxiety or fear that clings to us, tear it off! Enjoy what’s inside though its negligible and momentary! Gather them slowly so that it becomes a handful. Make something out of it so that it melts many hearts and gets those hard to find smiles out.
This place has made me so happy from deep within. Nature, the healer has blessed this place truly. My guide, there in Karkala and in life, is my husband. He takes me to various places there in Karkala. Never lets me sit idle at home. We have been to many eateries, and tourist places there before, there are some places you would want to visit again and again. One such recurrent spot is a Jain Shrine at Gommata betta. Its a rocky hill on to which a 41.5ft granite statue of Lord Bahubali is mounted on a platform. I was amazed to know that the whole statue is carved out of a single stone. To reach on top we have to climb the stairs carved through the hill. The view from there is breathless. Our favourite spot to watch the sun set. As we climb down each time, he asks me “Manchurian at Mallya’s Angdi (Shop)?” without fail, to which I never said a no to and I never will. It is that tasty. My husband surely picks up those small bits of happiness to bring a smile on my face. I surely am a lucky woman!