Saturday, December 22, 2007

Roots



Ubermensch asked me to pick one photograph (snapped in 2 0 0 7) which occupies a special place in my heart, and I did just that. As you can see, I have put up two snaps instead of one. Of course, I have very good reasons to bend the rules of this meme (btw, I sill don't know the real meaning of this word. Just keep hearing it in blogosphere. Never heard anyone in real life using this word while talking. I am not too fond of learning words which don't figure in everyday conversation).

Okay, so why two pics ? It's because one would be incomplete without the other. The blue house belongs to my mum. Most of my school vacations were spent in this house. My visits to our native place became less frequent after my grandmother passed away. She was the nucleus of the joint family, with her being the lone survivor amongst the first generation dwellers of this house. After her, the house got divided in fractions (as it happens with most 2nd generation households). This November, I went there after almost 10 to 12 years. The house is now in a progressive stage of decay. It doesn't feel like a unified unit now. The people staying there appear to me as mere cohabitants and not family members. I didn't stay there this time round. Just visited as a guest, snapped few photographs for posterity, exchanged few "Ohhh those were the days" kind of conversation and walked away like a stranger, totally bereft of any feelings. With the passage of time, I don't know if it's me who has died a little or whether the charm, that this house once possessed, has vanished. I didn't feel anything. And to think, there was a time when we cried unabashedly (all 3 of us - me, my sis & mum) while boarding the bus, heading back to Mumbai, after a month long vacation.

Coming to the 2nd pic, this rather dour looking house with reddish brown facade belongs to my dad. I don't have many memories associated with this house. As you can see, it's quite modest compared to the sprawling house of my mum. Naturally ,we preferred staying at our mum's place more than at dad's place. My grandparents from dad's side passed away while I was still a toddler. After them, this house has more or less been locked up. My dad had spruced up the house with the hopes of staying there after retirement. But along with retirement, came the usual set of ailments which prevented him from realising his one final dream. In May 2005, he spent about a week or two in this house. Within 2 months after returning from that trip, he passed away. It would have been nice if he had had more time to re-connect with the place where he grew up as a kid.

Anyways, this is what makes these 2 pics very special for me. These are my roots.

p.s. : I am bit uncomfortable with the whole passing-the-tag-business, so I won't name anyone in particular to take this thing forward. But, please feel free to be inspired by this concept and put up a special photograph from your own 2007-collection. It's that time of the year, when its perfectly acceptable to indulge in a bit of nostalgia. Don't worry I've got a box of tissues ready, just in case..

14 comments:

bilbo said...

hey whiner,
Really nice to read about your memories.
And I guess the transition happens. My granny's place no longer has had the special appeal it did, once granny passed away. But, you know its always the thought that counts. We got another granny's place. My masi's ma-in-law treats us the same way as our nani(es) did. Haven't been there too since '94.
Nice meme there.

parikrama said...

Billy,
Thanks. Since you liked the meme, why don't you carry it forward ? Would love to see your choice of pic. Chalo lag jaao kaam pe..

suresh said...

hey IW, i recently visited my ancestral village. our house there has been around for over 150 years and each generation has repaired it. with rot setting in and with part of the roof caving in, it is time for my generation to do its wee bit. too bad my cousins kids have never even seen it.

parikrama said...

Hi Suresh,
The current generation is busy shelling anything between 50 lakhs to a Crore, buying match-box sized apartments in overcrowded Metro's. While the sprawling ancestral houses continue to crumble silently, in far off villages and small towns. Such is life.

Thanks for stopping by.

aria said...

Nice meme and lovely pictures. Can relate to the write-up too... touching ..
The former picture reminds me of my nani's place too. My uncles demolished the old house and even divided the bricks amongst them. :( and that is one reason.. I don't want to visit that place again.

Maltova said...

IW,
Strange isnt it, how we tie emotion to bricks and cement and long to live in it, to reminisce abt old times...

My ancestral home or rather my mom's(where she was born)which my grandad bought some 70 years ago was recently razed down since there was no one to look after, the roof leaked in thousand places , n so on...

recently i was in kerala, and bro i didn't even look that way as we passed in the direction. wanted the mental picture intact when theres nothing but flat ground.

Anonymous said...

Hey very nice blog there! loved the pics ...funny how death of a grandparent might make us not visit the places we just loved in our childhood....house in my father's vilage is getting into a bad shape due to poor maintainence and we feel sad they have kept it that way since dad was very much instrumental in getting it built and still the only RCC home in that village even after almost 40 yrs...whereas house on my mom's side is still in pretty good shape after 110+ yrs thanks to interest taken by my uncles and cousins...a house where there is no fan and there never was and no one feels like having one even now and a house where the front and back doors is almosy a foot thick ! love going there

--Ananth

parikrama said...

Aria, Pradz, Anantha..

Seems like we do have a common thread running through our lives. Like Suresh said, the onus is on us to restore some of the lost glory. But one has to look at the ground realities aswell. Most of these houses are embroiled in lengthy & complex legal wrangles with atleast 3 to 4 parties claiming their stakes in the pie. So at times, despite our best intentions, one feels its best to stay away from it all.

Thanks guys for sharing your bits.

Ubermensch said...

Hey Parikrama,
Thats deeply felt meme. I can imagine how dearly you must value the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

I was reminded of my rural postings, where we spent months in the country, best days of my life.

cheers

cheti said...

IW !

Fantastic blog ! And the photos where charming ! they had nostalgia written all over them !

But one thing I am kind of against or struggle to accept is this attitude "With the passage of time, I don't know if it's me who has died a little or whether the charm, that this house once possessed, has vanished. I didn't feel anything."

IMHO nostalgia must leave one happy and not sad. Neither a little of you has died - nor the house has lost its charm ! The Charm as you see it belonged in one time span and it still strongly belongs there ! To expect it to be present now is unfair ! If the house had a chance to write the blog - and had it felt the way you feel - it might have written that you have lost the charm !

I am sure there are kids there in that house right now and the house is as charming to them as it was for you IN THEIR OWN WAY ! Not in the way you perceived it ! So the charm still remains !

parikrama said...

Uber,
Thanks mate for setting me up to post these pic. Else they would have been tucked away in my private collection.

Cheti,
I had seen that coming. My hunch was on Asuph, to refute that statement of mine.. But you beat him at that.

Well i totally absolve the house from any blame for the coldness with which it greeted me. Afterall the house is just a structure of bricks n clay. What makes a house is the people who live in it.

But yes, I agree with you, its our perspective that changes with time. Everything remains the same. Thanks for your refreshingly mature comment.

bilbo said...

hiya whiner,
just posted the meme at my place too. Drop by.
And .......happy new year !!!
Hope you find the Smriti Misra looklike this year.
Take care

asuph said...

Hey IW,

Had started reading this blog sometime back but soon realized it's special and needs to be read at leisure. And it is. Thanks for sharing it with us.

regards,
asuph

parikrama said...

Asupha,
This is something which I wrote in hurry.. and since the emphasis was on photographs, i didn't dwell too much on the written word. I am (pleasantly) surprised that you reserved this for a leisurely read ! coz its not that lengthy a piece and the language too is fairly simple. I desperately "wished" I had skills like Scarlett to weave an evocative piece around these 2 pics.. *sigh* But very quickly I realized my shortcomings, so just kept it terse and short :) Am glad you still tag this as "special". Thanks.