Sliding the glass doors of the showcase that houses the various knick knacks my siblings and I accumulated over the past couple of decades in our home in Madras, I paused. Littered through the glass plates that served as holders, there were a multitude of ceramic figurines. A pair of wolves, a dog, a fish, a peacock, a couple of vinayagars, a buddha and assorted things. I eyed them with glee. I knew my Golu hunt had started. Part of my agenda for the Madras trip was scouting for small pieces to add to my Golu.
Amma smiled and told me they were mine for the asking. Turns out they were a legacy from my mom’s mom. As I carefully dusted and wiped them clean, I imagined my grandma either getting them as gifts from her mom or her in laws. Pieces preserved over a good 60 plus years. Perhaps more. The lines on the figurines were clean. The colors muted yet solid. As I wrapped each piece individually in bubble wrap to be carefully interleaved between the folds of a saree or a salwar, I realized how much like my mom I was becoming.
Years back in our annual sojourns to Amma’s native, I would look with disdain as Amma lovingly packed fresh pitted tamarind or raw mangoes as a relic from her home town. It amused me that she coveted the solid coffee filter that belonged to her grandmom or the brass vessel that had been in the family for generations. I felt the emotion she must have on each trip to her maternal home.
There is something very tangible about owning a heirloom. A tenous link to generations past. Its worth dictated by the owner. As I packed two huge suitcases worth of stuff from Amma, I realized how much these annual visits home must have meant for amma. A time to relax, unwind and feel at home. To be pampered by her mom as she pampers me today. To indulge in painstakingly made kozhukattai or walk on the terrace exchanging stories from our life past.
As I leave “my” home for K’s tonight, I will look back fondly on these three days. Days spent shopping for clothes and simple roadside stuff. Days that will mean a lot more in the future when I look back on my past.
On a different note, I had my first brush with the silver screen today when a guy from Vijay TV asked if I could offer soundbytes on Navarathri for them. Vanity sure feels good!