Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein
p/s : Exactly a year ago today, I started this blog !
I was busy doing my laundry when I suddenly saw this hot air balloon passing by my window. I blinked a few times to make sure it was for real, before running like mad around the house to get my camera and trying to capture the beauty of it !
It was late afternoon and the sun was almost set, giving me these beautiful tones of evening sky . . .
At Granny’s, whenever the cousins, nieces and nephews gather, one must do activity has to be fishing in the river that flows opposite the road from Granny’s house.
It’s fun, especially for the boys, but also a great time for all of us to catch up with each other. We talk about school, college, work, dreams, the latest gossips in town, and life in general, and of course, fishing too !
I don’t previously remember looking at my Grandparents’ house the way I’m looking at it now. Perhaps, because I’ve been visiting this house since I was born, I am taking things for granted, thinking I’ll be coming back again and again. I forget that over time, things have changed.
Almost sixty years ago, Grandpa bought a paddy field after he married Grandma, then built a house on the paddy field after Grandma gave birth to my mum, and they lived there ever since. Grandpa, a farmer, and Grandma, a housewife, they were never rich, but happily married. Together, they went on to have seven children and my mum is the second child.
I spent a lot of childhood at my Grandparents’. The house was never photo perfect, far from luxury, but full of love and happiness. My memories of waking up in the morning to the sounds of chirping birds as the wooden windows opened, and a view overlooking Grandma’s beautiful blooms of white and yellow frangipani on a path from the main road that leads to the house, were simply a perfect way to start a day !
The house is surrounded by the paddy field, giving a beautiful green view when its newly planted crop begins to sprout. Over the months, the field will be transformed in colour to golden yellow, giving sign for the harvesting season to come. According to mum, the money they had was not much, but the harvested rice was always good quality and enough to feed the whole family. I used to eat boiled rice that had been harvested from the field, and fresh green veggies that came from a garden planted around the house by Grandma. As well as the field and the garden, they also had chickens in the backyard ! I had the pleasure to experience collecting fresh eggs, then having them cooked for my breakfast by Grandma on her wood stove.
Back then, there were no tractors to do the planting and harvesting work. Grandpa, as the major breadwinner in the family, worked hard on his own land, with the help of his two buffaloes. Routinely, he started his day very early, as early as just after dawn. With Grandpa busy in the paddy field, Grandma stayed at home, looking after their children. When she’d done with the housework, she would be working in her vegetable garden, some produce of which was sold at local markets by a collector. On top of her daily routines, without fail, Grandma would prepare food, and deliver a lunchbox to Grandpa. Together, they would have lunch under a big mango tree in the paddy field, a favourite spot for Grandpa to take his break as it provided shade from the scorching afternoon heat.
Back at the house, after the sun set, Grandpa would light up gasoline lamps because there was no electricity. Later, when electricity arrived, but television was only for the rich and Grandpa could’t afford one, he would listen to his favourite songs played by the local radio channel before calling it a day. Most of the time, Grandpa would wake up in the middle of the night for a coffee, and maybe a biscuit or two. Whenever I was visiting, I would wake up too, simply to share his cuppa ! Those were the days …
Its now been four years since my beloved Grandpa passed away, and Grandma is too old to live on her own in the house. At first, she refused to leave, but since the day she fell in the shower and broke her arm, she’s been living with her children. While the paddy field is now taken care of by an appointed farmer, sadly, the house remains empty.
Every now and the, mum and her siblings will visit the house, and sometimes stay for a night or two. Occasionally, during school holidays, or festive seasons, the house will be full again when the families gather. Grandma will smile as the house becomes alive with the chatting of her children, while her grandchildren and great grandchildren happily run around playing, although her smiles are never quite the same as before, like they were when Grandpa was still around.
But time goes buy, and things change, and the house has changed too. Still, it holds so many happy memories, and I will always cherish every moment I spent there. While the breathtaking scene of the green and golden coloured paddy field is permanently imprinted in my mind, actually being in the house will always remain my favourite place to be. Above everything else, and for all those places that I’ve traveled to, this house will always remind me of my roots.
We are at the end of July and I am a little behind with my blogpost. Nevertheless, About Siti is seven months old and so far, I have managed to update this little space of mine at least once a month (although I missed February), and I am happy with the progress.
Having said that, I might have taken this blog a bit too seriously, so much so, that I enrolled with MatadorU Travel Writing Course on the first day of this month. Virtually, I met lots of students, and some of them are established writers from various part of the World. It’s only been a few days and I’ve already learned a lot. They truly are an inspiration as I am taking my baby steps into travel journalism.
So far, I have submitted one assignment and I still have eleven more to go. For someone who writes no more than routine nursing reports, I have to admit that this big jump does tax my brain !
Indeed, it’s a big learning curve for me and I am excited to see where it will lead me to … but first, lets expect some positive changes in my writing style for the upcoming blogpost