Coming month is my grandma’s death anniversary. I do not remember the number of years since her death but remember that I was approximately 8 years old. She died at a ripe age of 86. So the general atmosphere in the Tharavadu or anscestral house was not one of mourning but nevertheless solemn. My grandparents come from a large family and so the rush of relatives in the house was immense.
My second brother and me soon got bored of the proceedings. People were reciting the rosary and relatives were talking in hush hush voices. We wandered off to the next parambu or an estate. The neighbor uncle was one of our favorite uncles. In our place in Kerala houses are afar apart separated by rubber estates. So it is quite a walk to the neighbor’s house. We reached his house in good time and he was so happy to see us. This uncle was the type of uncle you read about in fairy Tales. The moment he would see me, he would hide both his arms behind his back and say : “Guess what I have in my hands?” It would usually be a little chicken, a baby squirrel or one of the little kids his goat had given birth to.
He immediately bought two glasses of kallu or Toddy, freshly tapped from the coconut tree. It was a Sunday and the ritual in my village is Toddy and beef fry before lunch.
The toddy smelled good and was slightly foamy. My brother drank with gusto; I did take a sip or two but didn’t quite like it. After that Uncle, Aunty their teenage kids and both of us returned to the house for the funeral. By the time we reached the house both of us were tipsy. We managed to stand still for the long funeral proceedings mostly due to the large number of people because of whom we were overlooked.
But I remember nothing of the funeral because I was soo drunk :)