Walking beside my grandfather, I still remember the lush green mountainside where birds sang their hearts out. The river, trees and even the wind joined in as chorus to one of the greatest medleys I have ever heard. Jumping from one rock to the next you could see the sun resting peacefully in the crystal clear water, silently enjoying the grand orchestra. The whole of the mountainside was one big concert with a lush green audience listening closely and joining in every now and then, never missing a note. I have never been to a place of absolute peace and serenity as that one.
Just a few kilometres from my ancestral house is where my grandfather started his life as a farmer. He worked the land with his wife and children for years before he moved into his current residence. Even after moving on to a better life, he did not leave that land unattended. He regularly visited the place and kept the place as best as he could. It was a few acres of rubber and a small but beautiful house in the centre.
It was a favourite place for almost everyone in my family. I could tell that from all the stories my dad used to tell me about his childhood there. The times when his brother lost a tooth diving onto a rock, the times when they shot wild pigs, or the times when drank toddy, from the palms right in front of the house, and made merry. We used to go there with the whole family, cook food in the old house and sit beside the river and listen to all those old stories all over again.
I never missed an opportunity to visit the place. I would tag along with my grandfather whenever he went there. Just thinking about those times brings to mind a swarm of good memories. The one restaurant that we visited every time, the fun ravings of my grandfather and his old pals over nothing. There was always work to be done, I would usually be tasked with going about all the fruit trees and making sure that I have collected all the ripe fruits, or helping my grandpa with pesticides.
With just a few houses nearby, the place is always quiet. Since there are no proper roads to get there, no one other than the people who own land comes there. It is a secluded sanctuary in a crowded, loud world. I still remember making my grandpa promise to not sell the place so that I could buy it from him once I grew up and made the money. He kept his word until he passed.
If I had a chance to visit anywhere in the world, I could most certainly find another place where all those qualities I listed above are in abundance. But those places will have no memories, it will be a “Tabula Rasa” to me. When I walk into my grandpa’s land I walk into my childhood, into my dad’s never-ending stories.