Thursday, June 23, 2005

Space Tolet

I grew up in a house that had only one level. My dad got into the idea of building the second level. It would have a separate entrance with stairs outside. Once the upstairs was completed, we got an unplanned bonus - the space under the stairs. This was very convenient for storage. Not just for us, but also for the neighborhood insects. These tenants refused to pay rent and could not be evicted.

Then for sometime, we had a different set of tennants. My father moved the golu bommais to this space for storage. The Gods ruled the roost, or in this case, under the roost, for some time. This was an era when Chennai was used to occasional downpours. That very season, the skies opened up really wide. Unfortunately for the bommais, they suffered a premature end when they drowned in the floods and turned to variegated slush.

So, again we cleaned up the space and it remained empty for sometime. Our ex-watchman's wife, who was now a widow, wanted to use that space in the night. We too let her, since we believed there was safety in numbers. She seemed to have no problems with her multi-legged roommates, if she came across any. And then, she decided to move to her native village. I missed her, a part of my childhood (toddlerhood rather), and also the fresh groundnuts she used to bring from her village.

It lay empty for a while. Meanwhile I was given a bicycle which found a home there. Since the bicycle was factory direct, it came without accessories - no stand, seat cushion, chain guard or other fancy stuff. It would lean pitifully against the wall under the stairs. For some reason, my dad bought me a lock, but I could not get the stand until much later.

Then, this enterprising lady decided that the place was ideal for a lending library. We sorely needed a library in our neighborhood and to me, having it at arm's distance was a heavensent. My mom hemmed and hawed about it, The insects got first priority and as most of us know, they are not good roommates for books. But eventually the lady got her way and started her small scale library. I think I read all the books there during that summer. Unfortunately, our neighborhood was neither the most erudite nor inclined to be so. Having failed to gather more than one member (me, but it was free for me since we owned the land), she finally accepted defeat and moved out. I was quite saddened, selfishly so, by the lack of success in her enterprise.

After that, the place was discarded by everyone except for my bike. After my bike was sold, that place lay vacant. And to this day, it stays so, patiently waiting for someone like Maadipadi Maadhu in Ethirneechal to fill up its emptiness.

8 comments:

Arvind said...

very interesting narration !, nice way you have there, articulating events :-)

me continue unfinished busy-ness..u see ?

Ram.C said...

malarum ninaivugal? hmmm....

anyother multilegged creatures, approaching nowadays?????

Kaps said...

Would it be a nice location for an IRON shop? I might be interested.

BTW Why are u using American English (neighborhood)?

Munimma said...

arvind - Thanks and please do

ram.c - we have cleaned up the place, so only the creatures there are mosquitoes.

Kaps - Iron shop - not sure, too hot :-)
I have been using Am. Eng. for the last 10 years, that it has become natural for me.

Balaji said...

very nicely written. its nice the way u can write so interestingly about something so generic. we had the stairs too though it was inside the house... so the only occupant was my BSA-SLR cycle :-)

Munimma said...

Balaji,
Thanks.
I remember that about your house. Mine is more like that now. You won't recognize it. I didn't :-)

I feel I write better about trivial things than when writing a story.

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