My ancestors lived and died in Kerala, a state rich in natural beauty and steeped in tradition. My parents sought their fortunes outside the country. Their children lost a heritage. Sometimes the longing for ancestral history is an ache, sometimes a vacuum. The stories I remember are thin strands of memories like the kasavu on a Kerala sari.

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an old kasavu sari that has been a festive favourite

Bullying cousins who couldn’t figure out our city accents. Hug-happy aunts who smothered us with slurpy kisses. Stories of witches and ghosts told in the dim nights by older chechis (sisters). The aroma of sweet coffee as the kitchen came to life. 36 hour train journeys and the rhythm of rails. Mangoes with their juices running down our fingers as we sat on trees and swung our legs. The abandon of freedom as we roamed the hillsides and farms. Bathing in the river only to be drenched in the sweat of the plains. Fireflies that lit pitch dark rooms and whispers under covers.

Perhaps all it takes is an old sari…

 

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4 thoughts on “Stranded memories

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