The parapet in Chenggannur house extended all the way to the side of the house. If you stand on the parapet and hold the pillar for support and lean forward, You can almost reach the branches of the chamba (rose apple).
Being a female, I was not allowed to climb the tree. So I had to resort to standing on the parapet and do death defying acrobatics ! often gravity worked against me and I landed on the gravel with a mighty thud.
If Ammachi was in the house, she would come out to check what was ‘that’ noise and I get caught. ( too much of anything was too bad, so even though the tree was laden with rose apples, I was not allowed to eat to my heart’s content)
So much as I need to check and see if I still had all parts of me in working order, saving me from Ammachi’s wrath was the priority.
As soon as my butt hit the gravel, I get up and run to my hiding spot.
A little further from the rose apple tree was this huge hole in the ground. When my grand father constructed the house, the stones used for the construction were excavated from our own land, which resulted in a mini mine shaft, my hiding spot. Every time it rained, the water puddled in the middle, green slimy foul smelling water! but still it was the one spot I could hide and observe Ammachi.
We were told never to go anywhere near that place because it was full of snakes and scorpions. Snakes in comparison to my grandmother was less harmful and even though I am petrified of snakes, I would run and hide there amongst the snakes and deadly scorpions.
I now think my grandmother knew all along that it was me who fell down and where I was hiding. And to teach me a lesson, she would sit on the parapet, patiently waiting for me to get out from my hiding hole!
And in a game of patience and perseverance, I won. ( at least I think I did, cause eventually ammachi did go back inside the house)
While waiting for her to go inside, the only thing I could do was to catch dragonflies. There were millions of them hovering over the water.
I spend a lot of time holding the crispy transparent wings of the dragonfly and getting it to carry tiny rocks. It was amazing to see how much weight those 6 legs could carry..
thumpeeneyum kondu kallu edupikkuva ( getting a tiny dragonfly to carry a big rock) was a saying in Malayalam.
When Yaya was about 4 years old, Amma was with me. That particular day I was teaching Yaya how to fold her clothes and amma grumbled and mumbled saying thumpeeneyum kondu kallu edupikkuva.
She obviously thought I was a horrible mother to have taught a 4 year old daughter to fold her own clothes.
Yaya is currently working 8 hours a week at a friend’s cafe. ( and of course it is hard on her, it takes her an hour to get back home from school, she has so much of home work etc etc) But then again she will have to learn that soon she will be in Uni and she will have much more to study and that her mom expects her to work and self finance her education.
Horrible, cruel mother eh?