The witness

Posted: February 3, 2013 in memoirs, Rants
Tags: ,

While the country was going through massive transformations under Narshima Rao in 1991, the kitchen of my ancestral home tucked away in the tiny village was not left far behind. We kissed the wood stove good-bye. Kitchen counters were installed and we got LPG! Few cupboards were installed on the wall. The dim lights were replaced. My grandmother, probably was in awe. Amidst all this, there was one thing that didn’t change, the one that witnessed all the change along with my grandmother and aunts. The radio.

The radio stood there on top of the wooden shelf with a layer of folded blanket underneath. It was to stay that way for ages. My grand mom used to start her day quite early with a cup of filter kaapi and the radio. Once the knobs were turned and the antenna adjusted, the radio would embark on its new day.  As the music filled the kitchen we savored the soft Idli, dosai and Pongal. While the radio crooned, we hummed in unison. It had a soothing effect.

While the cousins and I ran in and out of the kitchen and my aunts sweated and mopped their brows, the radio stood there in the shade, well sheltered. It was our indispensable companion in the kitchen.  The mood of the grown ups was so governed by the songs. In turn, the radio reflected the flavors of the kitchen – the turmeric smeared on the ridges along the circumference of the knob and the aroma of sambar podi all over.

For over a decade and a half, the radio witnessed it all – moving of me and my cousins into teens and our increasingly sparse visits, the much-anticipated and celebrated weddings and age taking its toll on my grandparents, albeit unnoticed by all. But my grand mom remained her cheery self  and so did the radio.

Last week I happened to attend a cousin’s wedding. I was so close to my ancestral place and yet couldn’t visit.  As I passed through the adjoining villages,  to my astonishment,  memories of days long past came back to me, in excruciating detail –  the doors,  the pillars and the beautiful ridges, the aatu kal, the unused wood stove, the radio and many others.  I yearned for all of them and I wished they yearned for me the same way!  I wished I had left a mark.

*aatu kal – grinding stone

  1. I typed a very long comment (almost a post) and then lost it. and then typed a shorter version and lost it again. Sigh.

    I agree strongly about the radio. I don’t think anything can ever erase the strong memories of radio, filter coffee and the smell of the streets after a rain. I remember the transistor we had that was a radio cum tape recorder – we still have it actually! The joy of bumping into the right station, with clear transmission after careful and meticulous knob-turning is irreplaceable!

    You transported me back into a beautiful world now with your post! 🙂

    • Filter Kaapi says:

      Aah you took so much effort! Thanks

      Glad the post struck a chord with you!
      Yeah the joy of tuning into the station is priceless and the warm and fuzzy feeling inside after a rain is quite inexplicable!

  2. meenamenon says:

    Came here via blog hopping. This post appeals so much to me as it takes meback to the by-gone era of school vacations spent in idyllic ancestral villages **sigh**

  3. It resonates so much with my Nanighar yaadein and almost all the summers of my childhood, thanks for refreshing my most beautiful memories.

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