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I was six when my father took me to Mullaperiyar river. That was the first encounter with the river. The river took me in her hands and embraced me since then. Recently, I came to know of a significant connection my family had had with the river. My grandmother's family migrated to Vadipatti to work as coolies when a canal was built across the river.
When the water flow is less in the river, I help my father to catch fishes with his towel/dhoti. I learnt swimming by myself. Nobody taught me. Father simply had thrown me in the river and I learnt after some struggle. The times are etched indelibly in my memories, the moments of swimming from one bank to another and the sheer joy of triumph with my friends. We go home with the fishes and eat them with glee from my mother's hands. I spent more time in the river than being in classrooms at school. I didn't study well. But, I started experiencing more from nature's kindness. I used to help my chitapa by tending cows and goats. I take them to the river, bathe them, play with them and without any conscience of me making beautiful memories. With my friends, i climb tall trees to catch parrots and from there look at awe, the distance blue mountains of western Ghats. All seemed to become only just memories. Corona came. I had to take a hiatus at my home. Now, I am at home with the river again.
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