Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of copper suns and scarlet seas

Born in SL, I grew up in Africa...

Some of my earliest memories are of the swaying grasses of the savannah as we drove from Zambia to Zimbabwe to Kenya. Long legged giraffes grazing peacefully by the roadside, zebra, elephants and antelope. The blazing hot sun as I ran around the garden.... and the dense exotic smell of the flowers cultivated in dazzling, unruly profusion by my grandfather.

I remember being cuddled by Rose, our housemaid, as she fed me kshima (the local porridge, made of maize). Guests were offered a sumptuous meal whatever time they turned up and I remember my grandma presiding over the kitchen, directing a dozen cooking activities at once... I remember Ms. Launa (Laura?) in Nursery school teaching me to curtsy. I remember running screaming around the playground, colour, race, nationality not yet an "issue".

I remember the gentle spray from the Victoria falls, and my mother saying sweetie, this is the biggest body of falling water in the world. I remember wondering what it would be like go over the edge... the water looks smoother from a distance, I had no concept of the mindless raging swells that would have dashed me to pieces.

I like to think that I still retain an essence of that lush, golden, wonderful continent... that it somehow colours my words, my actions, my thoughts. One friend (who had no knowledge of this piece of my history) said I had an "African aura" around me, words that caused me to smile out loud. Memories still surround me...

Copper carvings of elephants adorn the walls...

Ivory bangles and earrings lie nestled in velvet, too politically incorrect to be worn...

A rhinoceros horn necklace gently decomposes in a sili sili bag, too manky to be stored in velvet, too connected to precious memories (raiding grandma's jewelery box, dancing around with said necklace draped in hair) to throw away...

Malachite ornaments... Copper flower vases... Strange carvings of faces, frozen expressions staring at me staring back.

It's been almost a quarter of a century, memories are faded at best... yet in a strange way, I miss it...

And I yearn to go back...

18 comments:

TheWhacksteR said...

africa has always been a place iv wanted to visit

pissu perera said...

nice one angel! maybe you can make a trip back (yeah, i love stating the obvious :)

one thing though, you mean victoria falls? unless my geography is very much failing me, i think the niagara falls are in canada?

Knatolee said...

What an idyllic childhood! No wonder you want to go back. I do so want to visit Africa.

I grew up in an ugly suburb of Toronto, and am suitably jealous of your childhood. :)

surani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Angel said...

Whackster : maybe we can make it a blogger group outing! :)

PP : you're absolutely right - and I stand corrected. My experience at Niagara falls is best left to another post!

Knatolee : thanks! It wasn't all idyllic - other experiences there include near drowning and being robbed and having the mumps!

Surani : I apologize, I read your comment after I hit publish! (which kinda makes me wonder at the point of comment moderation anyway!)

Delilah said...

i spent my early years in africa too. and now you've gone and made me homesick :) lovely post.

Mutt said...

Jumbo!

Went to Kenya a very long time ago - loved the place, including the climate.

Will love to climb Mr Kilamonjaro sometime before I kick the bucket.

~ lo$t $oul ~ said...

memories is what carries through days sometimes. the sweet ones obvious :)

soo ur miss aaafrricccaaa!!

~ lo$t $oul ~ said...

ur post reminds me of Akon - Mama Africa.!!

sach said...

so you had a life before you became a doctor? :P nice post.

aufidius said...

great stuff! always wanted to go to africa! after India I think africa has the most colour!

Knatolee said...

Hey, the parts that weren't idyllic make for good story-telling material!

Jack Point said...

Nice post.

Angel said...

Delilah : thanks!

Mutt : hope you get up there soon

Lo$t : I downloaded the song... nice!

Sach : yar men, sad noh?

Aufidius : it's beautiful

Knatolee : more stories soon, glad you like

JP : thanks

Anonymous said...

Wow, so beautifully written... Went to Kenya on a holiday and it is one of those wonderfully precious memories that I would revisit whenever I am sick of living in a concrete jungle..

Harumi said...

Wow Angel.. didn't know about this piece of history.. a marvelous one written so beautifully as always!

It's a beautiful, mysterious continent no doubt, and I've only seen it via Discovery. Hope to hear more about it, if time permits you. ^__^

Thanks for sharing.

The little green alien - Suranga said...

Hey,
Wow! Ur post on memories of Africa is quite nice... it is obviously one of a kind continent. Makes me feel jealous though.. :-D.. I was born in the poor but beautiful country Lesotho.. but grew up here in Sri Lanka. I have no memories of my birth place coz I was way too young.. :-(. All I have is a couple of pictures that were taken with my family. Though my parents assure me it was one of the most beautiful places they have seen.

Well hope to hear more about ur life in Africa..

Adios.. and thanks.. its a joy to read such wonderfully written posts.

Angel said...

Annon: sounds like you had a great holiday... I hope I can go back sometime soon too... memories are fuzzy, I'd love to be there again...

Harumi: will try to write more... so happy you enjoy reading! :)

Suranga: Thanks for the kudos... I'm so glad you can identify with it...