Dr. R. Praveen
Add a ‘g’ to old, it becomes gold,
So they conveniently say “ old is gold”
Old products rust and rot,
But old memories, never far in time or space,
For they can be summoned at will
Or by solicitation of circumstances,
On one such instance,
The pictures of my native village in the early 90s
or my father’s to be precise, flashed in my mind
The first image, is of my grand father,
An old man with a dusty brown complexion,
Close to the colour of a mortar brick wall plastered in mud,
Freckled face, laughing at my silly comments
Lying on a floor mat made of hemp in the cow shed,
A reddish brown calf tied to a pole
standing a few feet away,
Across the street was the housing quarters
Four thatched roof settlements,
two on each side facing each other
Comprising of kitchen on one side and
The living area and store house on the other
with a path separating them,
The first layer of roof made of woven dried coconut palm leaves,
Above that the dry sugarcane leaves, making it waterproof,
The frame of roof and its pillars, dry casuarina logs,
Walls made of bricks, lime and mud,
Plastered with paste of cow dung and mud..
The kitchen always smelled a bit smoky
With the soot smeared on the casuarina logs above,
The stove made of two hollow spaces,
out of a rectangular mould of mud and bricks,
With the firewood kept beside it
The holes in the roof, revealed themselves in the morning sun,
Illuminating the room in cylindrical rays
With the fine dust particles dazzling in them
Like images in a kaleidoscope
The central pillar made of casuarina log
Leaning on it a single tungsten light bulb,
to illuminate after nightfall..
Leaning on the kitchen wall outside, a wooden plough,
Opposite was the living quarters, with ‘thinnai’
Or the moulded stone bench aisling the entrance,
On stepping inside, first you could find a ‘thombai’
Or the big cylindrical mud cast with bricks to store food grains,
Turning to the left was the living room per se..
The whole imagery, kindled the spirit of artistic aesthetics in me..
Fast forwarding the memory in time
All were looking razed and charred down to ashes..
Courtesy of arson by casteist forces..
Now the settlements are built in concrete.
I prefer it progresses to multi storey building..
The foppish nostalgia can stay locked down in the memory lane,
Let’s not spend more time there
What’s needed is path of progress, healing from charred scars..
To progress from present to new..
Do not mind them saying ‘old is gold’…
For nostalgia is the only resource of the lazy and old.
Dr. R. Praveen is currently pursuing his Post Graduation in Preventive and Social Medicine.