My grandmother’s home (Maternal)

As you enter the drive way, the first thing you would notice was the tall mangosteen tree. It was my grandmother’s pride and joy..and folly..( it never once bore fruits !!) everyone wanted that tree to be cut off, like it was said in the bible…but my grandmother refused. She was pretty sure it was going to bear fruit one day..So the tree stayed.
As you continue to walk, you will see a row of hibiscus, then there was lilly of the valley ( the blooms smelled divine), then there was a huge Jasmine plant, just by the side of the main steps.
If I behaved, then my grandmother would make me a jasmine chain to wear on my motta thala, She made the chain in the night, sprinkled with water and wrapped it in Banana leaves, so the flowers stayed fresh till next morning.
Then you will see the colour..there were two huge wooden trellis that formed the living room wall. Pretty unusual design for a house. I was allowed to stand inside the house and watch the rain through the gaps in the trellis as a child. ( occasionally when no one was watching, I also climbed up the trellis to touch the ceiling!)
There were two identical rooms on either side of the living room. One for my grandmother and the other for my grandfather. My grandfather worked for the British and he was a man of few words. I was told that I inherited a lot of my quirkiness from him. He was a perfectionist. His room remained the same way, even after he died. I think my grandmother just couldn’t bring herself to change anything..
He had an easy chair made of fabric which is held on to the wooden frame by two wooden dowels. ( it was a delight to remove one of the dowels and watch the fun, when an unsuspecting sister or cousin sat on the chair..which was often followed by plenty of thrashings!!)
Of all the things in my grandmother’s house, the most unusual part was the walls of the house. The living room was painted with green kummayam, her bedroom was painted with pink kummayam. Only my grandfather’s room had white walls..the rest of the house was colourful. If you stood outside, the house looked like any other suriani kristiani homes of the 50’s..Yet it was the most colourful house inside..
My grandmother was a very short, very soft spoken woman. I don’t ever remember snuggling next to my mother as a child. But I do remember laying down with my grandmother in the afternoons, after she finished her chores..She would read the news paper and I would be reading my story book. Often I woke up to the smell of rava ladoo being made for my evening snack.
She knew, I regularly took a swipe of her nellikka wine..She would never tell my mother..It was our secret.
She never missed a single festival.. I was her accomplice. We even went to watch a drama at a school, neither of us have ever been before and after!
She cried all the way back home after watching a movie of Jesus’s Crucifixion..I remember feeling sad, not because of the Crucifixion, but because it made my grandmother sad.
My grandmother always soaked the fruits for the Christmas cake in rum on first of Nov…
I did too
To remember the good times, I also drank some of the rum..nellikka wine tasted much better

1 thought on “My grandmother’s home (Maternal)

  1. Dear Sarah, Its a pleasure reading you,I also have similar memories of our home in kerala and idyllic surroundings, my hangup with the same can be seen in my posts..I just cant get enough of it.. your post brought back memories of my grandparents and my lovely idyllic home in Kerala.. which we do not have any more…take care.

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