Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Woh Lamhe - Part Deux: The verandah

The house would lose so much of its charm without the verandah. Spacious and airy, I think Valiachan spent most of his mornings sitting out in the verandah and enjoying his newspapers/magazines. Post-tea, he would again venture out to take in the cool evening breeze, and watch the sun set - mind you, this was before the place (over)developed. More often than not, someone would drop by during their evening walk to have a short chat. There was a time in the early 70's when you could see all the way to Maruthamalai from our verandah.

The verandah will always be the place where my parents got married - as did Chittamma and RKM. I wonder if there will be another grand event (like those two weddings) gracing the verandah again. The whole idea of getting married in the same place where your parents got married is a rather "cool idea", and there's still time!

On one of the walls, next to the front door, Valiachan used to keep track of the heights of all his grandchildren, noting down the date and height in pencil. Sadly, those marks were whitewashed a long time back; but it would have been interesting (and a humbling experience) to see how we all grew. During our summer vacations, Rama and I would convert the verandah into our own Wimbledon, to play our own version of tennis, with table-tennis rackets and balls, pretending to pit Rod Laver against Bjorn Borg. (And oh yes, Laver always won!).

But the best part of the verandah was the thinna (the cement bench running around half the verandah, for the lack of a better term to describe it). How I would kill to be back home, sitting on it, watching everything go past, Amma picking jasmines in the garden, Valiachan 'chilling out' on his chair, Ammamma looking at all her flowers and Achan sitting on the thinna enjoying a good snooze!

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