Chengannur house

We got off the bus near the junction from the main road. It was a very hot day and I pulled off the blue silk scarf Amma, my mother tied around my head to prevent me from falling sick while travelling in the bus. Amma took the scarf from my hand, folded and placed it in her handbag. The house was still another kilo meter away and as we walked over the bunds that separated the plots of paddy, I stood on tip-toe and craned my neck periodically to try to spot a bit of the thatched roof or a bit of its white walls or sky blue windows. It was a bit of a thrill for me: spotting the house before others did. My parents have come to Chengannur to attend a wedding. I insisted on coming along because I hadn’t seen Ammachi, my grandmother, for a while.
Although the house was called Puthenveedu, no one ever called it that: it has always been known as Chengannur house. A single story house on two acres of land on which Ammachi had planted with coconut, mango and jackfruit. The walls of the house were pristine white and the windows, which the house had plenty of, were painted sky blue.
Appa was in hurry. He was getting annoyed with me as I was still standing and trying to spot the house. He told me to hurry and I started to walk fast. Near the house the bund forms a slope. Every year during the monsoon the rain would wash away part of the bund near the slope. Appa would use his black umbrella for balance and gingerly tiptoes on the little pieces of rocks exposed after the mud has been washed off by the rain. I would stretch my hands to balance. And follow right behind Appa.
Appa walked down balancing on the rocks scattered here and there, when he reached the middle of the slope he turned and gave his hand to Amma. Amma lifted her saree and held it one hand, so it won’t get dirty while going down the muddy bunk and used the other hand to hold my father’s hand and he gently guided her down to the bottom of the slope. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes daring me to run down the slope. I was not too sure about running down the slope without any support to hold on. Then Appa challenged me, ”If you are my daughter and from the Puthenveedu family, then you would have the courage to run down this slope”?. That is all I wanted to hear and I made a dash down the slope. Appa held me as I reached the bottom of the slope. He was laughing. He carried me the rest of the walk to the house on his shoulder. Sitting on his shoulder I had a better view and I spotted the thatched roof of the house.
The house faced the paddy, and between the house and the paddy was a brook about five feet wide. In summer months, the brook would be absolutely dry and the smooth glistening rocks at the bottom would be exposed. And during monsoon season, it would overflow, flooding the field.

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