|A Tharavadu In Kerala . Image Source : here|
My mother’s ancestral house (Tharavadu ) , a formidable building encased in a vast area of land , is tucked away in a remote village in Quilon district , which happens to be barely two hours from the city I reside . As was the general norm a few decades back , my mother used to co – inhabit the house with her parents , cousins , nephews , nieces and grandparents , and as she reminisces to this day , sans doubt , they used to have an enticing life in all its pomp and splendour . The older women of the house helmed the kitchen , while adolescent girls of my mother’s age caressed their babies and adorned them with every piece of fancy ornament they could get their hands on . A few exuberant male members took charge of the land they owned , tending to the coconut and jack fruit trees which blossomed in abundance and a few others who were educated undertook the office works . My mother , with much effort and determination , used to attend school , not missing a class , though she had to walk for a few kilometers by foot to reach the destination .
Even when i was home from college for the holidays , i rarely could conjure myself to listen to her , blame the multitude of assignments and social networking engagements that devoured me wholly . Accustomed to the pleasing sight of vast expanse of lush land spreading out in her neighbourhood back at her home , it came as quite a shock to her the sight of concrete blocks that were independent houses , sprouting up seamlessly , the land stripped of all its existing greenery . Before we knew , my grandmother had retreated to her niche back in her village , because for her, by the passage of each day the hours seemed to tick away much slower than the previous day .
My parents for having had the courage to chase their dreams ? My grandmother who finds it difficult to tear herself away from the land where she nurtured every bit of her happy moments and still hoping to do so till the end of her life ? Blame the industrialization , mechanization and degradation of relationship values which stimulate humans to withdraw into a self imposed shell of their own concoction , that they barely have time to reciprocate and appreciate the innocence of a baby smiling endearingly at them from across the road or to lend a helping hand to an elderly man stumbling with his stick in his concerted efforts to cross the road ? What about the many such grandparents who are stranded at their ancestral homes , for whom a meeting with their children is limited to the times they spend glancing at their well framed photographs ?
What if you are too late to turn back now ?
. We shower praises at cultural practices alien to our country , embrace them like a piece of heaven and even go to the extent of despising our culture as not relevant enough . It takes an expatriate’s opinion or some Hollywood movie actress going gaga over Yoga , to knock us back into our senses , pricking the halo of resentment that we weave towards what is indigenous to us .
. We have the privilege of staying connected with our virtual friends 24hours a day , so why bother dealing with the close ones over a cup of coffee for the sake of sustaining friendship ?
. Forget the much awaited family outing on the weekend with an intention to keep the fun element sustained , now there are highly diligent boys adorning pretty hats , who with their prompt delivery make sure that you are fed four square meals a day in the comfort of your own home .
. Why would our kids march in flocks to the neighborhood with a focused intention to stone down swollen ripe mangoes , when they have carton sealed health drinks at their hand’s reach enriched with fruits to revive their slogging thoughts , dampened with the constant whirring of a laptop or a head phone ?
We are indeed sailing on the clouds of heaven , aren’t we !
Why would anyone with good sense be foolish enough to forgo all these pleasures and set aside time from their seamless schedule for the sake of consolidating familial ties and traditional values ? What could we possibly gain from that ? Now , that is something which is going to dawn on us on one of those drab , dreary days , when we sit high and dry in that dream mansion of ours , with not a person to share our thoughts with , several years down the lane .
Let us not fall off the abyss that is being dug around us by our own haphazard deeds .
Let our kids , infact, let US , imbibe the goodness of love – the one power that outlasts all gory revolts and disasters . Is there any better way to let it happen other than by bonding with our best friends since birth – our family members ? Our festivals are so construed that , in addition to the religious practices they stand for , they stress the importance of people confluencing together to share their days with the company of their family members. Not all traditions and festivals are rational i agree , infact, the irrational ones need to be shunned with the same vitality as we practise the sensible ones . And those sensible ones need to be encouraged for they uphold the goodness of togetherness and being there for each other. We should also remember that following traditions ought not to be the end , rather it should be the means to sew the frazzled pieces together , the onus of keeping it glued together would and certainly should rest on us and us alone.
By treasuring the traditions that have been passed onto us by our predecessors , by understanding the essence of our past – our music , our cinema and our literature heritage – and thereby educating our next generation about it , we would be encouraging them to cherish those and be proud of their own lineage and legacy. Instill a passion in them to delve deeper into our history, so that they would realise the stark truth that , the freedom and grandeur that they relish today was not created overnight by the sweep of a magic wand and so also they shouldn’t take those for granted . Let us not forget our roots , the very base of our existence . Let us not thrive this world hoarding a smoke screen in front of our vision , eluding the joy of togetherness and life’s small pleasures, for by doing so , in our frenzy to conquer the farthest mile , we stand a risk of missing the precious little milestones that we are blessed with on our way.