Of All the Travels and Vacations I’ve been on, and most likely even those that I will go on in future, my best vacations will undoubtedly be the summers spent at my Maternal Grandmother’s(whom I fondly call Mamma) extraordinary mansion in Taccode, a small but the best town in Mangalore.
I call this house extraordinary, not because of its design, architecture or ambiance, but because of the love and laughter that it held between its walls. I call it extraordinary because of the moments and memories that I cherish, which no photo or video could really do justice to. I call it extraordinary because of the people who lived it in and the experiences we shared.
As summer holidays would commence, I’d find myself bidding adieu to my parents and running off here, being welcomed with open arms by my grandmother and my aunts and uncles. My mother has 8 brothers and sisters, and at this point 5 of them still lived here and were in their twenties!
At our house, we had 7 wonderful dogs, 4 cows and for a while, we even had a magnificent horse called Ashwee. I’d spend my days, waking up early in the morning, having a hearty breakfast and going exploring. I’d talk to the cows, feed them and help with milking them. I’d assist with grooming our horse and feed it her favorite food, mangoes! Most of my day would be spent with the dogs, some of whom would even give me piggy back rides. My grand mum also caught me innocently stealing from the breakfast casserole and feeding the dogs secretly everyday!
The best days would be when my grand mum would pack me a picnic basket and a book, and would send me exploring in the forest(I later got to know, she would send a whole bunch of workers to trail me and keep an eye on me). Sometimes, my cousin sisters would come on these picnics with me, and we’d pretend we were tribes, using leaves to make chutney and fruits to make pigmented lip balms.
My uncle and his friends, would take me swimming in the river, what a mighty river it was! That’s when I grew more fond of swimming and being in the water. Sometimes, I would even watch them cliff jump! Even as a child, I would always need a book to keep me company, so my aunt would take me to a nearby library every week, so that I could borrow 2 books and pick a colorful ice lolly.
Another of my loving aunts, would do my hair in french and mermaid braids, give me bubble baths(Yes, she had a lovely bath tub then!), and teach me new songs to sing. She’d fuss over me and praise me so much, even though I couldn’t really sing.
We had no cellphones, no computers at home, and no generator. We had only one landline which we occasionally used, and the days when we had power cuts, were the best days! Because we would all gather around, light candles or our emergency lights and talk through the night, singing or playing games.
The best moments of my life, were spent in the walls of this glorious house, with the most lovely people. If I could go back in time and do vacations again, this is the only vacation, I would play on repeat, again and again and again. We all have our own lives and families now, but along with grand mum we still do get together very often, albeit in our new houses usually, but we are blessed, as the laughter, love and conversations are still ongoing.
As for the house, it still stands, triumphant, high and tall, immortally etched with all our fondest memories.