I am sure that not many children were fortunate enough to spend quality time with their parents in their childhood like I did. I believe that childhood mould’s a child’s character and hence parental bonding at childhood is vital.
In the earlier days when I was young, there used to be an area of rugged terrain in Cochin where grass of about a feet or two high. To me it was the ideal concept of heaven. It was in a place called Kalamasherry on the way to a Medical College. There also used to be a huge wet land completely abandoned by the city mob nearby. We called it our secret place. Both I and my mother enjoyed spending time with each other in this very special place not known to many.
I was brought up in India till I was 7 and both me and my mother ensured that we made a visit to our secret place at least once in a week. I believed that I could see till the end of the world from up there. I would be indulged in picking flowers, chasing birds, butterflies, grasshoppers and pappus while my mom would be totally involved in reading books as always.
By sun set we could see a group of tribal women and children carrying water in their clay pots, sticks on their heads and children on their backs. Basically they were rag pickers who lived in a colony in the down hills and hence my mother used to be extra cautious while they were around since they were excellent in kidnapping kids. They were dressed in old tribal clothes, mostly worn and torn ones and also wore different looking cheap metal ornaments on their ankles hands neck and waist. The wetland mentioned earlier was a source of fresh water for drinking and irrigation for these tribal people.
Though I was just a kid then, I used to have a strong psychological bond towards that particular place and believed that heaven had kept something special hidden for me there. I could neither see nor touch it and yet I was supposed to find that something special there. Though it created emptiness, this feeling encouraged me to keep going to my little heaven each time I visited India.
In 2000, a few years after my family migrating to the UAE, “The Government of Kerala” established “The Cochin Medical College” and the culmination of which resulted in the relinquishment of the grass land, trees and shrubs for construction. A land once I called my heaven became something totally alien to me.
More than a decade later (since I left to Dubai), I spent a year in India to prepare for my Med School Entrance. I ensured that I made it to the Gym regularly and sometimes then I used to sneak out early and drive all the way to my heaven alone to watch the sun set without a license ;). Though there was nothing left there, I used to stand far away and watch the coulee laborers invading my heaven and constructing a new building. And in 2008 I heard that my heaven is going to be the new IT hub of Kerala just like Infosys in Trivandrum
(The Tribal Children Looked Similar to the child above)
I felt like sharing something very special of my own with the rest of the world and there was nothing that I could do about it. I could neither protest nor campaign against it. I always wanted to be a mother like mine to my children and I always imagined taking them to my little heaven like my mother did, but now they are never going to see or know how it really looked and felt from up there.
There is a story behind every small piece of land that we see and stand on and I am sure that none will never see or know in real about how much that place meant to me.
(The Tribal women wore jewelry similar to the ones that the woman in the picture above wears)
A Village trip from College that reminded me of my secret heaven -(Me & My friend Jostin)