Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “home.” Use it as a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. Enjoy!
I am reading two fascinating books about the past. One is The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore by Manu S Pillai and the other is To The Letter-A celebration of the Lost Art of letter Writing by Simon Garfield. That made me look through my grandfather’s memoirs. I have written in another post that I am amazed by his memory. This morning I was listening to a lecture on The Geeta by Bannanje Govindacharya. He said once people started writing, they increasingly lost their memory power.
Anyway, even after seventy years my grandfather wrote in detail about his home in a village called Polya. When he was small, his grandparents, three sons and their families lived in one house. All the household work was done by the women. There was a courtyard in front of the house. To the left was the well. Water was drawn from the well for cooking and drinking. On the right side of the house was the bathroom. In those days the bathroom and toilet were not built inside the house. Just outside the courtyard was a small pond. Its water was used for washing clothes and for bathing. Water was heated using firewood, the husk of dry areca and dry sticks from the areca garden. The fronds of the areca trees were used to cover the roofs of the house, bathroom and cowshed. The roofing was changed every year as there were no tiled roofs. Most of the things people used in those days were either home-made or grown in their gardens or fields.
My grandfather remembered that when they returned home from school, he and his cousins spread sand or rice dust on the floor and drew in it the letters of the alphabet or numbers. Life went on in the small village. Due to certain circumstances the family lost their home and lands. The elders in the family made new lives for themselves in different places. My grandfather never went home again. Some years ago, my elder brother and my father went to see the place where my grandfather had lived. The house was still there. The owners were happy to show the place to my father.
My grandfather completed BA Honours in Mathematics and English in 1920 and worked as a teacher in different schools. In May1925, he was in Madikeri with my grandmother when he saw an advertisement in the newspaper. A headmaster was needed for the Municipal High School in Hosapete. That town was about 400 kms away, a long way away in those days. He asked his friend’s advice and applied for the post. He was asked to join in June 1925. In those days people rarely moved far from their homes in their villages. But my grandparents took the decision to leave their familiar surroundings. They made their home in Hosapete.
In 1979 my father went to Nigeria for three years. The Indian railways sent a large contingent there on deputation. Due to this my parents were able to save enough money to purchase a house and some land in Puttur in 1980. This town is not far from the home where my grandfather had spent his childhood. So, it was back to the roots. But my grandfather passed away before he could see this home.