Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fables from the age of innocence

-To my friend who says that our basic sense of childhood innocence needs to be reclaimed if we are to love and hug the nature in its purity.

It seems, at rare moments of reflections, that many aspects of our lives have become metamorphosed into an artificial existence these days! At times, in order to escape this unfathomable feeling of disillusionment and boredom, at least for a while, many of us, our minds may tend to take refuge somewhere in the past where one could somehow find some kind of solace, traveling back to that time and space where perhaps we had been less concerned about material achievements or failures.

At moments like these, it is your childhood days that you can always depend upon. Those endless chain of treasure hunts. Where else could one retreat to when one finds oneself woken up from such colourless dreams and delusions!

It's like growing back to that fragile infant baby again and falling back onto the lap of your mother once more. To be consoled on her benevolent bosoms, to be fed with her breast milk and falling back into that careless sleep on her ever-supportive shoulders and be worried about nothing in the world. No earthquakes, no tsunamies, no stock market rise or fall is going to worry you anymore. Her soothing voice humming in your soul even while you are carefully being laid into the cradle, and her melodious singing and the swinging of the cradle keeps you calm and quite, you might as well place one of your thump fingers into your toothless mouth in sheer ecstasy and be oblivious of the whole world. In company with beautiful angels, you may smile looking at the stars around you and giggle yourself, seeing this, your mother may forget all her perpetual sorrows and worries and sing for you yet sweeter lullabies and Aesop fables.

Or, it is like growing back to the days of your childhood when you were still in your primary school classes. You had in your neighborhood, very close to your own home, a large mango tree. Your very memories begin with this huge tree with its long leafy branches spread across and around the field where you used to spend your whole days once upon a time, long ago, yet your memories seems still frozen with those times. The time when that mango tree gets ornamented with its blooms, the time when those tiny baby mangoes are grown and seen hanging down from the green thick leafy branches, the time when they keep falling to the ground because of your passionate prayer and desire to mouth them in their tender age.

You may have tasted Chinese food, Japanese Sushi or Mexican delicacies or exotic fruits of various breed or brand. But that pungent smell and taste of those infant mangoes in its early stages, then the juicy rich, mouth watering sugary taste when it ripens never fade away from the tip of your tongue.

Those wild summer seasons, the month of May, when the school is still on vacation and you the children are camped around the mango tree from dawn until dusk. Waiting in the soothing shadow of the vast mango tree in a hot summer, waiting for the cool breeze that brings you on its wings the cooling comfort of the Mother Nature. The same breeze that blesses you when it passes through the leafy branches of the mango tree when ripened, sweet, yellow burst, mouth watering mangoes are waiting for the feather touch of the wind to fall into your hand. The other companions that you fondly remember are those beautiful noisy, mischievous squirrels, crows and party above you who in their own celebration of the season jump from branch to branch in merriment and endless dancing that makes the ripened sweet mangoes find their way down to your eagerly and earnestly waiting little hands.

A falling mango is expected to make a thudding noise when it hits the ground. So, you keep your ears in a permanent state of alert. Once a mango falling noise is heard, your eyes simultaneously jump into action to locate the fallen fruit. It may have fallen on pure earth, or among the dry leaves. In the later case, it demands further exertion of your eyes to locate it exactly. Once it is located, begins the real "survival of the fittest" contest. The most sharp, agile, able runner may grab it. But if someone is lucky enough to be near the falling hot spot, he or she may get it without much effort. And others continue their wait for their lucky moment to arrive (fall).

Sometimes, arguments arise over a disputed grab of the mango. One says, “I got it first, but you snatched it away from me. So, it belongs to me”. Or perhaps he would say, “I saw it first” usually a weak argument point to make a claim.

But, often, with good solidarity, children share their fortune of sweet mangoes with their buddies who were not lucky enough that particular day. Thus, the good camaraderie is kept intact for the most part between the kids. After all, it was an age of innocence. Wasn’t it?

A scene from Vikom Muhamed Basheer's Balyakaala Sakhi comes to mind. In the beginning of the story, we see Majeed and Suhara under a mango tree arguing over a fallen mango. At the heat of the moment, ensuing an intense verbal fight, Suhara rushes forward and gives Majeed a skin peeling, burning scratch with her sharp, long finger nails. In reply, Majeed thinks over how to revenge her appropriately, but his imagination fails him to find a way. Then to his delight, Majeed sees Suhara’s small hut like house and his tile roofed comparably well built house through the coconut and banana trees. Both of them are neighbors. Looking at both the houses Majeed’s face brightens and he declares to Suhara with a victorious smile: “See, my house is tile roofed, but yours is leaf roofed” (roofed with dried coconut leaves). But then, to his horror Majeed finds out that Suhara is not a bit annoyed at this earth shaking attack on her honor. She simply stays cool and never loses her pose. He feels defeated and beaten by a “little girl” again. However, after this fighting between them and Majeed’s humiliating defeat thereupon, gradually, both of them become best of friends on the course, and the story progresses to a heart wrenching end that no reader of Basheer can ever forget.

28 comments:

  1. living technology is so simple. But the people are creating so many problems, moreover the nature also playing too hard mischiefs by the way of tsunami..etc..etc..

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  2. It's a fantastic article. You were really taking me back to the sweetness my nostalgic childhood period. Your narration is very simple and captivating. No irritation I felt at any context of the article. Certainly any Keralites from a village must have gone through this kind of a nostalgic childhood.

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  3. You said it..Nowadays most of the children are losing such child hood pleasures as they are bundled with studies and forced reality shows.As years go they may not have any nostalgic memories.

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  4. Oh Salam, how did you find out our "chakkara" mango tree this precisely. Your narration goes fully in line with my very own childhood. I will copy / paste these words if I ever write anything on my school days.

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  5. We did one better. We would never wait for the mangoes to fall - we would pluck them right from the tree.

    And there is no pastime that can rival pelting mango trees with stones and sticks.

    Thanks for the memories.

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  6. Words are beyond measure to explain the past.
    The same mango tree is still there ...waiting for the little feet in futile.No one is there to plea the squirrel and breeze for the little,sweet flavoured mangoes.
    Most painful picture is that ,these cute , naughty little ones play cricket with these mangoes.
    They don't realise their loss.
    The pleasant odoured'naattumaanga' passed their sweetness after generations and generations. Thanks for the nostalgic post.

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  7. The mother says dont touch
    those dirty things.Father
    says dont go to dirty fields.
    Still children are visitng
    clinics more often than those days..when hospitals were far
    away and vistis to those were
    only for serious illness..oh
    my past....i miss all those
    which i cant pass on to my
    children...thanks for the
    beautiful post...

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  8. Touching memories
    knocking the doors;
    Of my recolletions
    Like a series of waves

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  9. Down memory lane..
    so nicely narrated.

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  10. ബാല്യകാല ഓര്‍മ്മകളും,സുല്‍ത്താന്‍ കഥകളും ആര്‍ക്കാണ്‍ മറക്കാനാവുക.. തിരിച്ചു പിടിയ്ക്കാനാവാത്ത കാലങ്ങള് മനസ്സെന്ന ചെപ്പിലെ രഹസ്യ നൊമ്പരങ്ങളല്ലേ..നന്ദി ട്ടൊ.

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  11. Excellent writing Salamikka,
    In my childhood days, we also
    waited for the mangoes to fall.
    Because we girls, were not smart enough to pluck
    them with stones and sticks. Those wait for mangoes beautifully narrated like a poetry,
    it took me back to those sweet days...

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  12. One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.....
    thnx ma frnd for giving a chance to run behind those miracle days.

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  13. @യൂസുഫ്പ
    yes, we have become so greedy that we are fast annihilating the environment hopelessly.
    thanks for the reading.

    @Shukoor , @ജയിംസ് സണ്ണി പാറ്റൂര്‍ , @mayflowers , @കുസുമം ആര്‍ പുന്നപ്ര, @Sannuuu...!
    it's an unlikely post in these time of election and politics. yet, if you found it interesting, i should say thanks to you.

    @junaith
    yes, another aspect of the matter is that. the children these days don't really know what they are missing.
    thank you.

    @ajith

    ajith saab, it's the common experience of average mallu up to the recent decades. unfortunately not so for most of our children. thank you very much for your touching comment.

    @കൊച്ചു കൊച്ചീച്ചി
    yes, in fact i had it my mind, the boy's way of making the mango come down with the stones. but then i left it lest the post should get lengthier.

    @sreee
    you pointed out another reality of the present. that the children these days are even not aware of the value of mangoes that they even sometimes see it a substitute for cricket ball.
    thank you.

    @ente lokam
    hm, we have become more aware about personal hygiene, yet visit to the doctor have become more frequent. a contradiction we have to reflect upon.
    thank you.

    @വര്‍ഷിണി
    yes, can't forget Basheer. OV vijayan said about Basheer that geniuses doesn't have successors.

    @Lipi Ranju
    yes, girls had to be patient and wait for the mango to fall.
    thank you

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  14. Dear Salam
    those golden moments never fades from the treasure of our memories. whenever we think of it, it reproduces immense amount of energy to our body and soul. you have created a nostalgic universe around a mango tree. a poetic thought of a mango can change our life.. what an Idea sirji..

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  15. ormmakalku enthu sugantham, nazhtta balayathin sugantham..... aashamsakal.....

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  16. I remember vividly; the thud of a falling mango often triggered hectic action, even before it is located by most of us! We ran all over the place to locate it and then grab it. Nobody waited to see it first. But no body ate it alone. After establishing the unquestionable ownership, it was promptly shared by all.

    Charming days.

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  17. കാലങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് മുന്‍പ് എന്റെ സീനിയര്‍ ആയി പഠിച്ചിരുന്ന ഒരു പെണ്‍കുട്ടി കൂടെ പഠിച്ചിരുന്ന ഒരാളെ ഇഷ്ടപ്പെടുകയും അയാളോടൊപ്പം ഒരുമിച്ചു താമസിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു..ഞങ്ങള്‍ക്കെല്ലാം അതൊരു ഞെട്ടിക്കുന്ന(1999 ആണ് വര്ഷം എന്നോര്‍ക്കണം) അറിവായിരുന്നു. കുറച്ചു വര്‍ഷങ്ങള്‍ക്കു ശേഷം ആ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരന്‍ ആത്മഹത്യ ചെയ്തു. പെണ്‍കുട്ടി ഏറെ താമസിയാതെ മറ്റൊരു വിവാഹം കഴിക്കുകയും നിതാന്ത മൌനത്തിലേക്ക്‌ വീഴുകയും ചെയ്തു. ഈയടുത്ത കാലത്ത് എന്റെ മറ്റൊരു സീനിയര്‍ നെ കണ്ടപ്പോള്‍ അവര്‍ പറഞ്ഞു.. പെണ്‍കുട്ടി ഇന്ന ആളുടെ വീടിനടുത്ത് കുടുംബമായി കഴിയുന്നുണ്ട്.നമ്മുടെ പല സുഹൃത്തുക്കളും പലപ്പോഴും കണ്ടിട്ടുമുണ്ട് . പക്ഷെ ആള് മിണ്ടില്ല. വല്ലാതെ കല്ലച്ച്ച ഒരു മുഖവും പേറിയാണ് അവളുടെ ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ നടപ്പ് ,എന്ന്. ജീവിതം അങ്ങനെ ആണ്.പല കണക്കുകളും മാറ്റി എഴുതും.

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  18. Amazing piece.. revived my childhood memories too..!! In fact we learned to love and share from the nature- we got together, played, fought, argued but at the end every one loved each other- we did not need a book or a PD class to know the value of love and sharing, it just came to us. Looking to our children, aren't they losing all such pleasures of life? Now we have reached in a state that we need to 'TEACH' them to share and love. They grow more like a hormon injected chicken- inside the boundaries of 'hygienic living' and 'advanced technology'..

    Thanks for wonderful words..!!

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