And there I was, on different weeks, in different places. You might wonder why the nostalgia then. I did NOT feel one bit nostalgic. Oh no! Not this time!
Instead, it was my parents who went on a trip down memory lane. One week, I was in Kodumudi, one week I was in Ariyalur; you might have guessed, both villages but claimed by my parents with pride that they are now towns. Yeah yeah, let’s keep them happy and assume the same. (Ariyalur more likely as it is bigger).
It was on a Friday, when my father firmly said “Anirudh, you are coming with me” and even though I didn’t know where I was heading to, I just agreed and to my surprise, I found out that my dad had been called by the school he studied in to be the chief guest. (I was absolutely elated! I was eating pride alone for the entire weekend at large! Haha) . Anyway, we reached the village and a chuffed daddy started smiling at everything, from a blade of grass to a random old man walking, to broken windows on ancient houses to thatched roofs. The usually quiet dad started explaining everything and it rained stories. The rain was like the one that hits after a dry spell and my grandmother was appreciating everything, like the person who appreciates every drop of the rain.
Probably 10-20 streets and 3 schools, a river bed outlining the village, 5-6 places of worship and yeah I think that’s about it. Oh yeah and a railway station. Sorry, dad. I missed that one. He said he lived in a plethora of houses across the village. Totally agreeable if rented. Anyway, his memory movie came to an end after much chattering. Also, what a chief guest he turned out to be, treatment paralleling a king’s treatment.
Kodumudi; it holds a special place in my father’s heart.
Moving on. It was Friday again, this time my mother said “Anirudh, you re coming with me”. I nodded., but I knew my mum would take me to functions and more functions if it meant to occupy the entire weekend. So I was dragged to Ariyalur. Once in Ariyalur, my mother was also bombarding me with her stories but then unlike the once seasoned village traveler (my dad), mummy lived only in one house the entire time she lived in Ariyalur, that saved a twenty-minute conversation for sure.The house that people of the family fondly call the “pedha illu”( pedha means big and illu means house. Also the words are from Telugu, a language spoken in the south of India). Apparently, large portions of super/ hyper/ enormously extended family had houses on that road where the big house was located. We visited the school where my mom studied, the temple near the house and a lot of roads. Elation, elation, and more elation. In fact in the function (next day), my mom could brag to everyone that she had been to her hometown, in a function where 80% of the people shared the same hometown and whose parents/grandparents were neighbors to my grandparents at the time. Ariyalur; it holds a special place in my mom’s heart, my grandmother’s heart, and all the mothers’ before my granny, their hearts too.
Ariyalur is dotted with cement factories. The highways surround Kodumudi like a necklace.
Let me be honest with y’all.It is like the movies, where, if a person goes back to a place that he is really connected to, he goes back in time, reliving the memories; Something that I need to experience and
probably, because of continuous travel, I will never connect to a place deeply.