BAT­TLE FOR THE LO­TUS POND

Great fun!

Woman's Era - - Contents - Dr Navya Naren­dra

USU­ALLY ABOUT A FEW WEEKS INTO THE HOL­I­DAYS, ME AND SUKRUTH, NO LONGER ABLE TO TOL­ER­ATE SEE­ING THE POND BE­ING EN­JOYED JUST BY THE LO­TUS PLANTS AND BY THE FISH, USED TO HAVE A DIS­CUS­SION BE­TWEEN OUR­SELVES TO FI­NALLY KICK-START THE AN­NUAL RIT­UAL.

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 five of us con­sid­ered this pond filled with muddy wa­ter and lo­tus plants and 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 four feet deep) which pro­vided us all with some­thing to brag about to our friends once school re­opened.

Are you think­ing as to what's the big deal in just clean­ing a pond? Let me tell you guys that this was a mini-ad­ven­ture of sorts be­cause every year clean­ing the lo­tus pond in­volved three stages. Get­ting per­mis­sion, clean­ing and self­con­science. Con­fused? No wor­ries, let me take you guys through the jour­ney of clean­ing the lo­tus pond.

Get­ting per­mis­sion: This was the most cru­cial stage and also the most time-con­sum­ing one. Usu­ally about a few weeks into the hol­i­days, me and Sukruth, no longer able to tol­er­ate see­ing the pond be­ing en­joyed just by the lo­tus plants and by the fish, used to have a dis­cus­sion be­tween our­selves to fi­nally kick-start the an­nual rit­ual. Sigh, if only get­ting per­mis­sion was that easy. Be­cause there were three im­por­tant peo­ple who's per­mis­sion was cru­cial...

Kruthi­akka: She was the first 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 granted, we used to keep her in front and then ap­proach the next set of peo­ple which were...

Our moth­ers: this used to take the long­est time since as a gen­eral rule moth­ers op­pose any­thing that their kids sug­gest and also since clean­ing the pond meant more work for them than for us. But some­how af­ter five days of Kruthi­akka con­vinc­ing them every day, Sam­bra­makka and Hithyshi on their best be­hav­iours, me eat­ing all the veg­eta­bles with a happy face and Sukruth stay­ing away from all mis­chief we used to get the per­mis­sion, but on the con­di­tion that it's al­lowed ONLY if the next per­son agrees, who was....

Kaveri: You ask who? Well, she used to tend to granny's gar­dens and also used to do var­i­ous other odd jobs in the house. You ask 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 and granny as each hated the other's guts. She was also a huge fan of Kan­nada cin­ema and used to recre­ate fa­mous hero­ines’ hair­styles by self-cut­ting her hair caus­ing Hithu (short for Hithyshi) to envy her.

So con­vinc­ing her was left to Sam­bra­makka and 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.

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 would be sched­uled around noon. With Nidhi mama (our un­cle) and Kaveri mak­ing plans on how to do that and the five of us look­ing up at their faces in an­tic­i­pa­tion we used to kick-start the event.

With granny be­ing wor­ried about her lo­tus plants and with all of us try­ing to en­sure that not much fish ca­su­al­ties oc­curred, we used to take out all her pot­ted plants first and 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 and Sukruth al­ways find­ing some vague ex­cuses to dis­ap­pear dur­ing this task.

Self-con­science: Af­ter the en­tire pond got cleaned and with the fish trans­ferred back to the pond, there al­ways used to be some fish which showed signs that they were about to die, prob­a­bly from all that trans­fer­ring into and out of the pond.

This is a huge thing on a kid's con­science and so every time when we spot­ted such fish, all five of us used to gather in the tiny puja room to pray that noth­ing hap­pens to them. 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.

So this com­pletes my shar­ing with you all one of the many mini- ad­ven­tures that the five of us used to have on our sum­mer hol­i­days. Hope you guys had a fun time read­ing. Till then I will leave you guys to pon­der over Eck­hart Tolle's quote 'Life is an ad­ven­ture, it's not a pack­age tour'.

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