Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cool stones

This is one of the best nooks in our ancestral home at Olavipe. The bench-like structures are called kuliru kallu which literally means cool stone. And they are really cool. Sit there with a book and a mug of beer perhaps. Or just look out and enjoy the breeze on the trees around and the birds (not so many these days). Or have a mat spread on it and take a nap. Never a mattress. The mat would be made of grass (pullu paya) or methapaya made from the leaves of Kaitha (Pandanus fascicularis).

I love the cool stones in the cooler weather, meaning, while it rains. May be change from beer to something stronger. Put away the book and watch the rainfall. Listen to the sound of raindrops on the tile roof, on the leaves. Or on the courtyard where the white sand suddenly turns darker as it gets wet. The initial raindrops are absorbed quickly.

Then pools start forming on the courtyard. They indicate uneven spread of the sand, which is to be rectified later. If too much water collects close to the house a worker comes out in the rain and makes small channels for runoff. One feels like going out and getting wet. But that would be considered undignified.

One cannot always do what one likes to, so sit back and think of the childhood days. No dignity to worry about. Just rush into the rain and get thoroughly drenched. That used to be great. Then the call comes – That’s enough, you’ll get sick, come inside immediately. Well, all good things must come to an end. So, in you go. Tried a couple of times going to the far end of the courtyard so that there would be a genuine excuse of not having heard the call. But that didn’t work. A servant would come with the message.

The cool stone has a functional advantage as well. Sitting there one can deal with all sorts of visitors, wanted or unwanted. The close ones of course would come and sit with you. Those who deserve a seat would be provided a chair. Then there are others who would stand, perhaps leaning against a pillar. The leaning part is not really liked; sometimes straighten the man with a question like ‘is something wrong with your back?’ No offence meant or taken. The workers would normally stand outside on the courtyard.

All these can be done even if one is sitting on the veranda on a chair. But there is a difference when one is on the cool stone. The prayer is always that no one should come to disturb the bliss. But wishes often don’t come true.


Photos: AT. Click to enlarge.

Also see: Memories: Shoeless on suburban train.



Cool, really cool - both the pillars and the seat

Unknown said...

Yes Raji, they are really cool.