BATTLE FOR THE LOTUS POND
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'.