My Childhood Memories

Thank you Mr. Kaarthik. Only because you have been good enough to visit me in my Room No. 38, Kairali Flat, Panampilly Nagar that I am able to write about my journey to life and journeys so far undertaken by me all over the world. My journey starts in the temple town of Aluva where every year the Maha Sivarathri is conducted on the banks of the Periyar River. I was born on 5 March 1930. My mother has told me that I was born in the Brahma Muhoortha i.e., early morning hours. Most of my childhood was spent in Aluva.

My mother is from Thekkanath family. She was very proud of her family, which had large properties, acres of Teakwood and the forefathers used to travel on the elephant. My mother was married to Francis Master of Udayamperoor near Thripoonithura. When I was 5 years, I started journeying to Udayamperoor, my father’s place.

Udayamperoor means the place where the sun rises. I believed as a child that the Sun rises first in Udayamperoor and then only he goes to other places.

Everywhere children believe that the sun rises in their place. Japan is called the land of the rising sun. Only when children grow up, they start believing that the sun rises all over the world and there is no place where the sun doesn’t rise. We may not see the sun rise if there are rains or there are clouds which completely hide the sun. Only later as a child I realized that we get all our sustenance, food, dress, culture, lifestyle, weather, climate, etc. from the sun.

My mother was called Annamma and my father, Francis. My father and mother loved each other and I don’t remember a day when I saw them quarrelling. My father was the first person to get educated in our place and the one who could read English. My grandfather did not know English and he thought it important to send his son to high school. In those days, high school education was very expensive. But my grandfather somehow thought that it was important to give such education to his son. When my father used to come to the house in full-suit as that was the school uniform he used to be made fun of by his playmates in the locality.

My mother was very beautiful and she used to be complimented on her beauty. I used to accompany my mother in Aluva in Thainoth Kadavu (bathing ghat). Along with my mother the men and the women used the same bathing ghat and as a child I wondered why the men were looking at my mother always. When I used to accompany my mother I remember the playfulness with which I jumped the steps of the market on the way to the river. My mother with the bundle of clothes to be washed had a difficult time in controlling my pranks.

Five sisters were born to me, of which one baby called Clara had died soon after the birth. She was born at Udayamperoor.

While my mother was very proud of her family, my father was also very proud of his family. The stories which I heard about my father’s family are from my Uncle Lukose, younger brother of my father. By some reason I have never heard about my father boasting about his family.

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