Monday, March 20, 2017


When I was into my early years at school, Dad would take me to our ancestral home in Kerala during my summer holidays and leave me there with my cousins for almost a month. I have witnessed mid summer rains and the ensuing floods that would fill up the paddy fields and come up to the steps of our house. Sometimes it would come into the house too.

My cousins were so good at climbing trees and they would do it in a jiffy. I would struggle but finally make it with their help. Many times I have sat on very nice seating trunks and watched the flood water below me, so full with fishes, frogs, water snakes and tortoises. We would buy a fishing hook and a nylon string from a shop close to our home and then catch a few innocent tadpoles and use them our as our baits. We would tie a thin banana stem that would be the float indicator giving us the signal when the bait was being taken. I have caught a few fishes and my cousins were really good at it. We have caught several varieties like the stone sucker (referred to as  kalle mutti in Malayalam), the banded snakehead (referred to  as varaal in Malayalam) and the catfish (referred to as kaari in Malayalam). The sizes of these were pretty big and we could either keep them in a vessel of water or keep them bound in a wet cloth and they would still be alive for a while. I am sure that the trees in my ancestral home will remember the company I gave them during these times.

As soon as I would see the floating banana stem getting disturbed and pulled I would become a shade desperate. Timing was a problem for me but my cousins would time it very well. I would either pull it up too early or too late after the fish had dragged it far into some thick bush from where it would be almost impossible to pull it out. Once when I thought I had timed it well and pulled it up, what came up was a fresh water snake (referred to as pulavan in Malayalam).

My daughter will be into college soon God willing and am still over protective of her. We have never let her stay alone with her cousins in Kerala so far. All that has happened till today has been just a few days with her cousins, with my wife giving her company. On the flip side, I doubt whether the children in Kerala today, affected like everybody else world over with the invasion of the digital devices into daily life, really venture out for these natural adventures. I feel so sad for my daughter as she may never get to experience this anytime in her life. Maybe we as parents could simulate it for her in some holiday resort but nothing comes so close to a beautiful natural package gifted by Mother Nature.

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