Withered Dreams Revisited


With a cup of hot coffee I sat down one afternoon underneath the huge Peepal (Sacred Fig) tree in the endless lawn in our ancient ancestral property. Flood of thoughts as usual, I had in my mind. The effect of coffee it might be that I slowly stabilized and could focus on a few weird ones, as usual. 😀

There was a Moovandan Maavu (mango tree) right in front of me. It surely might be more than my Amma’s age, coz I’ve heard stories from her about her childhood and the important role the tree has played in it. There was also our Sundari Pashu (cow) that was grazing in the vicinity. She’s a few years elder to me in the family, coz Ammamma used to tell me that she was brought in just before Amma‘s marriage. In that hot and humid afternoon, it was now just the three of us in a magical dream world created inside my thoughts…the Maavu (Mango tree), Sundari (the cow) and myself. Each one of us were lonely in our own domains, talking to ourselves, contemplating about life so far. But together we weren’t lonely souls any more.

We spoke for hours at length…or so I felt. The Mango tree shared it’s story of how Amma (my mother), both my Mamas (my maternal uncle), Mema (maternal aunt) and their cousins used to play around her, climb upon her, enjoy her fruits and how they even used to escape punishments by hiding amongst her branches. She was so loud and clear that I could actually see all of them in their childhood playing and enjoying around her. It was almost real. She even mentioned how she had witnessed Ammamma and Muthacha‘s marriage, then their children and so on. And today, there my kids were playing in the lawn. What Pride…isn’t it? 🙂 😀 😉

It was Sundari‘s  turn to pour out. She mentioned of how she had witnessed Amma-Acha‘s pennu-kannal (the occasion where the groom comes with his family to see the prospective bride). Then their marriage, my birth, my sis’‘s birth and of all the marriages of my Mema and Mamas, births of their offspring, and in between the demise of Muthachan and Ammamma. She was also boasting of how she was flooding the house with prosperity with her rich milk supply. I actually wanted to tell her how many litres of milk I had spilled down the drain. But I didn’t, for fear that someone might overhear and I would have had to listen to Amma‘s hour-long lecture on why milk was so very essential for a growing child. 🙂 😉 😀

Finally, both of them stood there looking anxiously at me, probing me to start my story.

My Story… 

Yes!!! I too had a story which I had shared that afternoon in that dream world of mine with Moovandan Maavu and Sundari.

28 years back on a fine winter morning around 4.30 a.m., I find myself standing with my Amma, my 2-year old sis, Raj uncle, Kiran aunty, Babu uncle, Geetha aunty and Ravi uncle, our neighbours, waving bye to my Dad who was going abroad for better prospects. Life changed irreparably for me that very day and probably more during the course of the time.

Few days later Amma told me, “You are the eldest; you should be responsible and should take care of your little sister.” Though it wasn’t easier to comprehend for a 5-year-old, the tears in Amma’s eyes somehow made it register in my subconscious mind.

I had transformed myself into someone I wasn’t. Till Dad was there with us, though he could hardly spend time with us because of the multiple assignments he had taken up, life was pretty. 5 years of my life, I had only had Dad as my bestest friend. No, nothing wrong with my Mom, she was the best I could have ever asked for. It was only that the person who spends less time with you scolds you less, gives lesser lectures, and supports you more. Mom had a 2-something Renu and the obvious sibling J-factor too had slowly crept into me.  Later as I grew I wore a mask to keep myself away from the fast and cunning world…the only thing that was on my mind was I am supposed to protect my Amma and little sis from everybody. I never used to go out with my friends (only once after my last board exams to my friend’s place for a few hours), never went for any movies (except ‘Kareeb’, that too because my dear friend wanted to go and her parents wouldn’t allow her out without me), never enjoyed anything…all this to hide the feelings, kill the dreams of a very basic girl with natural dreams and aspirations. I somewhat succeeded in my endeavour.

Dad still was my bestest friend through the hundreds and hundreds of letters I used to write to him. A huge void Acha’s absence created within me…though I was always in touch with him through my endless letters. But now I had things that I had to hide from him. No, no, not because I was doing something wrong. But, because I didn’t want to hurt my Dad who was all alone miles away. That 5-year old little soul was scared that her Dad might cry alone and there’ll be no one to wipe his tears. So she never spoke about her mental fears, the struggle that she was going through and thus no one ever knew. I was fighting a battle deep inside. I used to be upset with Amma (I always used to think Amma was the reason that Dad had to leave us behind), at the same time I used to love her a lot. Of course! Else why would I not tell her anything about my fears, my insecurities as a child. I didn’t want to increase her burden, as I knew she already was over-loaded with enough and more.

I used to save a piece of every little delicacy I was offered for my Dad, be it school, home or vacations at Ammamma (maternal grandmother or Naani) or Achamma (paternal grandmother or Daadi). But, after days when the item started rotting, I used to quietly throw it away and with it went away a portion of my faith that I could meet my Dad soon. Dad used to come for vacations once in two years for 15-20 days. Something I used to eagerly wait for and it used to get over in a fizzy.

I had made myself quieter. Loved to stay away from people and places. I refused to get dressed up for functions. Amma always thought I refused because I wasn’t interested. No, Amma! I refused to get dressed up for I feared someone might follow me, stalk me, hurt me and in turn hurt all of you. I suddenly wanted to be your son, who could protect all of you, share your burdens, be your pillar of support. Only my late friend Latha knew about all these that I am sharing now. Miss you dear! 😦 😦 😦

With just this I could see Moovandan Maavu starting to wither and Sundari already had tears rolling down her cheeks.

Memories of that innocent little 5-year old I keep revisiting…

People nowadays tell me, I have changed. Yes! I have changed, I have changed a lot, I am no more the same old person who never had anything to do with herself. I am more confident, more mature, much more assertive, happy, cheerful and optimistic…all because I now have my Dad with me along with the one who has taught me to be brave all the time, expect the unexpected and be prepared for the worst.

Mr. Right, I owe you myself. You brought back life into all of us.

I am sure, this that I am having now is the best part in my life, and I feel blessed to have such good friends with whom I am re-discovering myself, rather re-living those years that I lost years ago. It was always family and friends. Now, I have started living for myself. I have started enjoying life, I have started doing things that I wish to, I have started buying things that I personally like, I spend time doing things I enjoy, I take out time for myself, more than all I now have someone I could share things with, without any fear…

All this is true, but I really miss the old ‘Me’ with the mask…

…she had so much to tell me…and I had so much to tell her…


Related Posts

To Amma and Achan, With Love

Miss you Muthacha

29 Replies to “Withered Dreams Revisited”

  1. mesmerized by the thoughts of that lonely girl whom we all loved a lot and still do. U. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WAY OF WEAVING UR THOUGHTS AND WORDS. Keep up this rare talent to weave more and pile them into creations of a published author.

    1. Thank you, Teacher! I try to come out of those days, but they seem to have inhabited my mind and soul forever. Thanks again for the encouragement. If it wasn’t for your efforts, I wouldn’t have been what I am today.

  2. A great way of narrating the inner conflicts. Recently, I was introduced to the new of narration in Malayalam, about all those who went abroad and this felt like a change. What happened to the minds that stayed behind. What all did they went through. Rekha, you have captured the essence of the thoughts of a child who missed her father. The start with the nature scenes was obviously something that pulled me into reading it. Great share.

    1. Thanks Manu! This is a very small account of what that girl went through. I’m sure if I dig deeper there’ll be lots that my mother and my sis would have faced. And most of all, it’ll be Dad who would have had the toughest of times with none of us around. Here are few of the related posts. You might wanna read them.



  3. Even my dad lived far away from us but I never experienced what you did. I took it very normally, may be because he never lived with us, he visited or we went to meet him. It was a very emotional read for me.

    1. Yes, Saru! May be because I was too close to Dad. May be because my mother couldn’t give me as much attention because she had my lil sis and lot many family members to attend to. May be because 2 years was too long a waiting period for a toddler.

      All I know is as a child I was deeply hurt then. And it took decades to come out of it.

  4. Oyieeee…! I just loved this at its peak. Liked the plot and way in which you narrated the story. Thank you so much for this awesome piece of share, Chechi. 🙂


  5. Hello, Rekha! I have recently become acquainted with your nephew, Aswain Nair. He sent me the link to your blog. I was intrigued by your writings! You have a fabulous way of narrating with your words! I too, have inner pain from my childhood, but for different reasons. I was 4 yrs old when my parents divorced. I am now, 51 yrs old. I still remember having to move in with an aunt who lived in another state after they split up. One never really gets over something like that. I hope and pray you will be an encouragement and inspiration for all who read your writings, whether they can personally relate to the stories or not. I believe you will! God bless!

    1. Thanks so much, Tamara, for those wonderful encouraging words! I can understand what that 4-year old would have gone through. A child’s mental state is very much influenced by its surrounding and most of all anything to do with the parents. I wish you were finally able to come to terms with all those painful moments. Yes, I too wish my words are able to bring in some relief to aching souls and becomes a n inspiration to many. Blessings from experienced people like you is always sought and appreciated. Thanks again! 🙂

  6. woah.. one humdinger of a post. I actually empathized with a lot that you had to say, even though my journey has been different. The ‘new’ person we become maybe better and more capable of tackling the world but a part of us does yearn for the younger, more naive version too… the one who could dream without reality seeping in to those dreams.

  7. I loved how the story shifts from the lawn to the yester years, smooth narration and expressions that touched my heart. A beautiful read.

  8. Lovely to read this Rekha. Like your post about your Granpa, this too touched my heart.
    Just tell that five year old that you are there for her. Tell her about the strong person she has become. Tell her all is well.

    1. Thank you so much Preethi for reading and understanding me. Some incidents mould you into a very different person and refuse to leave even though you try hard to overcome them. But yes, I am now a lot more stronger, emotionally. 🙂

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