It was a 4 storied building where I spent my chilhood.Each floor had four flats or apartments.We lived in first floor.A lovely terrace where we used to play all sorts of games(!)including cricket.Obviously every second ball used to be hit out of the terrace and next 15 minutes spent retrieving it.4 apartments but only six of my age to play with.Kite flying was one of the favourites in the city I lived in,with elders participating forgetting their age.When elders occupied the terrace we were mere spectators doing all odd jobs like fetching water,etc.There were three south indian families in all .All south Indian families generally addressed as madrasies!All that was known was..south of Vindhyas only madras existed !
Kishore, Mohan, myself were the three boys,mohan being younger brother of kishore.Naturally ,being the eldest,I had the advantage of making mohan do the running around like picking the ball etc.They lived in the third floor.
With too many people in my house I used to spend a lot of time in kishores house.Theres was a small family.kishore,mohan ,his father and mother and Kishores fathers brother(Donno how to call a chitthappa in english).He was called KAKA, with the looks of a hero wearing spotless dresses with an ever hanging fag in his mouth.A hero for most of us.He used to hold Lakshmi vedi in his hand allow it to explode,during DIWALI time.Unimaginable by any standards by us.He never went to work and perhaps was living on his brothers income.But the stylish man always had his seperate room ,squeeky clean.We were never allowed to step in there.
Summer holidays were intersting days when parents used to quietly send of their children to neibhours house ,passing off the headache,i guess.So kishores house used to be my place to spend the day ,since the terrace was there anyhow for the evenings.
Kishores father was an intersting person too,full of jokes and he used to sport a funny looking hat whenever he went out.A sort of straw hat which,the chennai policemen use in summer.He used to leave home in the morning at 7 and return only by 10pm or so. But every afternoon,kisores mom used to ask us to go off to the terrace or go onto the street for two hours.I thought she wanted to rest and she was particular KAKA should not be disturbed.
One day,I was told, Kishores father got transferred to a remote part of the country and I never saw him till I left that city.Years rolled by and I was around 14 or 15.
One day Kaka passed away and it was a sad day.Not many people had turned up and those who were around also ddnt understand the customs.Calm and composed Kishores mom called mohan (who was by then around 11) aside and told him ..Mohan I want you to do the ceremonies since KAKA was like a father to you.. Appa maadhiri da..appa ne vechu koyen !
Enakku appo athoda artham puriyale