From this post onwards I will be chronicling the mischiefs that we 5 cousins- Kruthiakka, Sambramakka, Hithyshi, me & Sukruth were up to during our summer holidays at our Granny’s place in Madikeri. If you guys are interested in knowing about the personalities of my co-conspirators you can read it by clicking here— ‘Summers in Madikeri‘.
Now, there are some rituals that should never be changed, come rain or shine. One such ritual of us cousins every summer was the ANNUAL CLEANING OF THE LOTUS POND, situated in the front yard of the house. This was the event that we looked forward to the most each summer holiday. You ask me why? Well, the 5 of us considered this pond filled with muddy water, Lotus plants & fish as not only a waste of our play area as we were forbidden from playing there but we also wanted to turn it into our own version of a Swimming Pool (though it was just 4 feet deep) which provided us all with something to brag about to our friends once school reopened.Me feeding the fish with Granny by my side.
Are you thinking as to what’s the big deal in just cleaning the pond? Let me tell you guys that this was a mini adventure of sorts. Because every year cleaning the Lotus pond involved 3 stages- GETTING PERMISSION, CLEANING & PRAYING. Confused? No worries, let me take you guys through the journey of CLEANING THE LOTUS POND.
1. GETTING PERMISSION– this was the most crucial stage & also the most time consuming one. Usually about a few weeks into the holidays, me & Sukruth unable to tolerate seeing the pond being enjoyed just by the Lotus plants & the fish, would have a discussion between ourselves to finally kick-start the annual ritual. Sigh, if only getting permission was that easy. Because there were 3 important people who’s permission was crucial…
A) Kruthiakka– she was the 1st person whom we would approach because she was crucial to ask permission from the next set of people. She was the easiest one to convince though, as she also wanted to play in that pond. Her only condition was for her brother Sukruth to be on his best behaviour, though no easy feat he somehow used to manage. After her permission was taken, we used to keep her in front & then approach the next set of people which was…
B) Our mothers– this used to take the longest time since as a general rule mothers oppose anything that their kids suggest & also since cleaning the pond meant more work for them than for us. But somehow after 5 days of Kruthiakka convincing them everyday, Sambramakka & Hithyshi on their best behaviours, me eating all the vegetables with a happy face & Sukruth staying away from all mischiefs we used to get the permission, but on the condition that it’s allowed ONLY if the next person agrees, who was….
C) Kaveri– you ask who? Well, she used to tend to Granny’s gardens & also used to do various other odd jobs in the house. Why her permission? Because she was the one who used to spearhead the operation ‘Clean the Pond‘, so her agreeing to the whole thing was vital. Let me tell you guys a little about Kaveri, I remember there always being an undercurrent of tension between her & Granny as each hated the other’s guts. She was also a huge fan of Kannada cinema & used to recreate famous heroines hairstyles by self cutting her hair causing Hithu (short for Hithyshi) to envy her. Convincing her was usually left to Sambramakka & Hithu, with Sukruth especially kept away from her as after one time with him calling her hair ‘Dry Grass’ (which according to him was praising) we had to work extra hard for her permission.
2. CLEANING– In spite of getting exhausted from running around for this whole permission business, on the D-Day our excitement used to be unmatched. Usually this event was scheduled around noon. With Nidhi mama (our Uncle) & Kaveri making plans on how to do that & the 5 of us looking up at their faces in anticipation we used to kick-start the event. With Granny being worried about her Lotus plants & with all of us trying to ensure that not much fish casualties occurred, we used to take all her potted plants out first & then using mugs we used to catch the fish to be transferred to a big drum. After emptying out the pond’s dirty water, we would then set to work at rubbing off the lichens lining the pond wall. I remember Hithu & Sukruth always miraculously disappearing during this task. This is us at work. Don’t go by the picture guys, some are just posing for the camera here.
3. PRAYING– Now, you may be thinking as to how praying came into the whole picture. Well, after the entire pond was cleaned & the fish transferred back to the pond, there always used to be some fish who showed signs that they were about to die, probably from all that transferring into & out of the pond. This is a huge thing on a kid’s conscience & so every time when we spotted such fish, all 5 of us used to gather in the tiny puja room to pray that nothing happens to them. Honestly I think I used to pray more on those occasions than I did in a whole year. And since this whole thing was started by Sukruth & me, we used to continue the prayers even after the others left the room. Most of the times the fish survived easing our conscience. And then from the next day itself we used to have a gala time playing in our own Swimming pool for the rest of that summer.
And this completes my sharing with you all one of the many mini adventures that us 5 used to have during our summer holidays. Hope you guys had a fun time reading. I’ll be sharing many such interesting happenings in my future posts too in the series ‘Summers in Madikeri’. Till then I will leave you guys to ponder over Eckhart Tolle’s quote ‘Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour’.