Friday, January 06, 2006

Leaving Home

Servaar thatha's daughter in-law always wakes up first and cleans her vaasal before anybodyelse does. It is believed that whosover does this daily ritual first, gets to invite the God into their home first. So, she makes sure she brings God every day to her home. The ritual consists of sweeping the vaasal, and sprinkling cowdung-mixed-water on the vaasal. You should do without leaving any gap. Pulli-illaama (not leaving dotted-gaps), as my mother says. I don't know how she came to know that we are going to wake up early today, well, everyone in the whole town knows this news, it is not a surprise that she knew as well, anyway, she has cleaned her vaasal today as well, I mean before my mother. My mother woke me up at 3am. It is after all an hour travel by bus today. They don't listen. They woke me up. I have already told all our relatives. I went to everyone's house, touched their feet, and told them that I am leaving the next day. They applied thiruneeru on my forehead and gave me money. This generally happens when a girl leaves mother's home for her husband's home. So, they all give money as a safety/comfort-blanket for the girl in the new home. But, because I am also leaving, though not to my husband's home, I am still leaving home, so everyone followed the same tradition of giving me money. It was a good collection. I still have to go to mattukkaara patiyaa's house. it is important to tell your closest people just before leaving, as well as they are the ones who knew the news all the time. they are the ones involved in all decision makings, all sort of discussions, but still it is just a tradition to take leave from them with their good blessings. I get ready. I have packed my suitcase a long long time ago. it is another pain in this house that they make me do that and ask me to open and show me the items now and then in order to chek whether I know where I have kept what. I get ready. Amma brings iddly. I love iddly. I feel little emotional that I am going to miss this iddly. I don't know what kind of food I will get there. Father is shouting. "Bring the suitcase". He takes the suitcase and leaves to bus stand before us, telling us to join him soon. I go to Pattiyaa's house. Got the thiruneeru and his blessings. Got thiruneeru from my thaaththa and aachchi too. Mother pickes up one bag. Chithi pickes up another bag. I have my hand bag. Senthil is sleeping. "Hey, senthil, I am leaving". "Ok, ok". He sleeps again. "Leave him. Let us go. you are getting late", as usal chithi. I am leaving home. It is browny whitey dark. It is called vidiyal in pure Tamil, meaning dawn. Kombai wakes up. Everyone, whosover passed by, looks at us (as they are not supposed to ask "where" when we are going), mother immediately tells them that I am leaving today. "Irukkattum, irukkattum, nalla padimma, nalla padithaayee".. all sorts of blessings. I am leaving home. People are going to their farms with their bulls. Some people are taking their cows to dairies. chikens are all over the streets. Milk man is doing his rounds. Mother walks before me. I hear a voice singing one of the sad songs (about his lover leaving him) from recent movie. It is that milkman maama (mother's brother-like relation, far-relative). It brings an instant smile on my face. Silly maama. Didn't he know that I will leave one day. I am sure he did. We walk past so many blessings and so many people and so many lives.. There he is. Jahir. I don't know if he comes and stands here every day at this time or did he know that I am leaving? I hear his brother (Hakkim) calling him. Jahir was standing there, silently, looking. Bye bye Jahir. I tell that to myself. It came as a surprise when he expressed his liking (love?) for me, as I always thought it was his friend who was after me. I smile. I walk past him. I walk with my mother. We reach the bus stand. Father was waiting there with coffees for us. We drink coffee. "Go inside the temple and wait." As there is no waiting area in the bus stand in Kombai, Ladies use the front area of the temple as waiting area. Father brings banana fruit bunch. "You don't get this in other places. It is special in Kombai". I keep that on the top of one of my bags. The bus comes. I board the bus. I leave. I don't know the future. I don't know what I am going to do. I don't know what is in store for me. I have left home. Suddenly I feel very very weak.
(unedited/not checked for errors, not even "completetion of sentences" are checked. bear with me please. )

16 comments:

Anand said...

very moving narrative indeed ! where exactly is Kombai ?

Balaji S Rajan said...

It has started off like a Tamil movie. With village like sentiments. The narration is very realistic and nostalgic. I though Tahir would have sang

"Poraley Ponnu thayi... " or
"Idhayam Poguthey".

Waiting to read next part.

WA said...

Brought back a lot of memories Premalatha, looking forward to the next part

radhika said...

that was nice and touching indeed. i missed your posts :-)

S said...

That was a very good one premalatha...precision detail of the scenes almost to the point of making this a script for a screenplay!

well done.

S

Michelle said...

Lovely one, prema. Very poetic.

Dubukku said...

nice narration. I know how Jakir would have felt that day :)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Awesome. The thiruneeru tradition is practiced in my household too and they safely forgot the money part :) Some people ( you know those special ones on whom the Gods chose to talk through) even come up with some prophecy. :)

Premalatha said...

Hi all,

thank you all for your comments. I am sorry I have not been able to reply you separately and in time too. I indeed left home and living alone since new year. That is what brought the memory of me first time leaving home. so I posted this.

:-)

Lata said...

very nostalgic...I'm adding one more thing to my list of things to buy from India the next time I visit...the boat-shaped thiruneeru container made of brass. On second thoughts... maybe not...since I don't have any elders with me here to put that big broad vibhuthi pattai on my forehead going from one end to the other :(

can't wait to read the continuation :)

vikram kombai said...

really a nice posting,

phantom363 said...

hi,

a very heart tugging description of a near mandatory experience in this day and age.

in one way or the other, our hometown turns out to be small for us, whether it be kombai, chennai or even london. we have to seek elsewhere. :)

in fact the feeling among us these days, if you continue to stay with your parents or at home, there is 'something wrong' with you, or one is a 'amma-otti' :(

we have come a long way indeed.

ps.. anachronastic as it may sound, i was hearing 'leaving on a jet plane' in my mind, mingling with the sights and sounds of the vidiyarkaalai tamil nadu. :)

strange isn't it? :)

Premalatha said...

ps.. anachronastic as it may sound, i was hearing 'leaving on a jet plane' in my mind, mingling with the sights and sounds of the vidiyarkaalai tamil nadu. :)

Wow. :)

Vikram_boss said...

Vikram: nostalgic and i felt same when i left kombai for higher education.

The Visitor said...

I think that I have mentioned it on one of your posts, that your posts have an RK Narayananish touch.

Premalatha said...

Thank you.