Those were the best days of my life!

Yesterday as I was walking with my husband as I usually do in the evenings in my apartment, we were reminiscing our childhood where I was telling him about my summer vacations in Trichy (Sri Rangam) and he was telling me about his vacations at Seyyaru. As I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for a long time for an idea for my next article, I got this impulse today to document my childhood days spent in the temple town, my most favourite town in the world.

As my mother hails from Trichy where my grand parents and maama still live, she used to take me and my brother to Trichy for most of our summer vacations. I have too many fond memories of the place to actually record, but have tried my best. My uncle has lived in many houses in the temple town around Sri Rangam, so I have distinct memories associated with each of those places.

The most favourite memory of mine is when I spent my summer holidays in my uncle’s place at Mela Chithira Veedi (west Chithira street). Just remembering the house, the neighborhood and the streets fills me with a sense of nostalgia and pleasantness I cannot describe. I fondly remember the summers I spent there, having lovely home-cooked meals by my grandmother and my maami, playing street-badminton in the evening with my neighborhood friends and sweating it out under the sun, having fresh drinking (Kaveri) water right after our games which used to feel so heavenly, devouring the hot and tasty bajji, pakoda and other snacks my uncle used to buy from the street vendors (believing they were all made from fresh oil as we never used to fall sick), spending the breezy evenings at the Ranganathar temple, and the curd-rice, puliyogare and vadas we used to buy from the temple and take to the the manal-veli (the open area filled with sand within the temple premises) and eat with family and friends in the twilight, and washing them off with a mango milkshake from the juice shop Pazhamudhir cholai !

And in the late evenings, we used to laze around in the “easy chairs” (meant for old people) on the verendah and get some cool summer breeze, and sometimes elders used to indulge in talks with friends and neighbors. It is amazing how people lived together as one unit those days. The people belonging to a particular street knew each other well and helped one another in need.

The streets, espcially the chithira veedis (east, west, north, south – kizhakku,  mela, vadakku, therku) encircling the Ranganathaswamy temple, comprised mostly traditional old-styled houses, and sighting scorpions were commonplace. I remember my aunt always used to live with the ever-looming dread of sighting scorpion in the house with kids (my uncle’s children). Thankfully, although we have had one or two close encounters with the arachnids, they didn’t  end up for the worse.

I used to find it fascinating that the neighborhood kids while playing, used to casually chant Vishnu Sahasranamam and other slokas alongside the audio that was played aloud from the speakers from one of those houses. I realized it was rooted in the culture of the land that it seemed very natural that these kids were able to effortlessly memorize and chant these slokas. I’ve to admit that it was inspiring for me and I made it a point to learn Vishnu Sahasranamam because of the positive feeling it (listening to my friends chant it so casually) evoked in me.

Life is after all, an assortment of memories. I’m glad that as I look back at my life so far, I have only pleasant and happy memories for the most part of my life (thank god!). Just a mere recollection of our happy days, am sure, is enough to energize us and give us the courage to face life in all its highs and lows. And about my Srirangam days, I quote this line from the song Summer of 69 – “those were the best days of my life” and it is no exaggeration.

 

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About the Author

Sukanya Raghunathan

Sukanya Raghunathan is a leadership trainer and a faculty of management. A mother of an eleven-year old girl, she also teaches Carnatic music and her hobbies include singing, dancing, playing keyboard, reading fiction/non- read more...

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