Tag Archive | memories

RD musings

Yesterday was a special day. For the first time, me and my son watched the Republic Day parade together.

All these years when I used to wake him up early, he would just roll off again to sleep. But this year he had asked me repeatedly to wake him early. Why? Because his school teacher had explained how good the parade is and asked all of them to watch it. So what I had been trying to do all these years was done by a single lecture by the teacher 😀 But then that is effective teaching.

I remember rushing home from school to watch the parade on TV. My father and me would sit side by side watching the tableau while he explained each one. Now and then he would tell some story of the freedom struggles. Oh, what joy….what pride.

In the intercepting years I have felt the pride of being an Indian dwindling not only in me but in youngsters nowadays. While I see the Bahrainis or British talk with so much pride for their motherland; the same pride I do not see in fellow countrymen.

And here I was watching the parade with my son. ‘Do we have so many states?’, he asked. I said ‘yes’ and then proceeded to explain a little about each state.

Then came the BSF jawans on the bike and he watched with his mouth agape. And I felt waves of happiness as I saw the same pride and incredibility on his face which I always have while watching the parade.

And then it was all over and the National Anthem began to play and yes I still get goosebumps when I hear the music.

He was silent. I asked why. It was AWESOME, he said.

But then India is AWESOME, isn’t it.

It just happened

We were taught to help around the house from a  young age. While my sister was amma’s second in command, my brother used to bring the milk from the dairy farm which was a bit far away.  He would take his cycle and pedal away. Sometimes he would even get vegetables. For this contribution of theirs they would get pocket-money, yes we had to work for our pocket-money.

But when they can earn, why not me, I asked. The age difference between them and me was quite a bit but I wanted my pocket money too. And for that the parents decided that my job was to prepare the dinner table, the only meal which we all had together except the days when Papa had second shift and would return home by 10.30p.m.

My mom was particular that the plates would be washed again and wiped before keeping them on the table. Owing allegiance to my butter fingers everyday one or the other plate would fall. Papa would call out, ‘What fell now?’. I would cry out, ‘The plate. But it is not my fault, it just happened‘. It was good that we ate on  stainless steel plates. If not the regular intervals at which i dropped plates would make us bankrupt. It happened with such regularity that everyone else would come and sit on the chairs knowing that dinner was ready. The aunty living next door would send around some special dish which she had prepared just on hearing the sound of the plate crashing.

My specialty did not remain with crashing plates. I destroyed whatever I touched. Like my brother had a collection of pens which he would keep in a safe place. Once I had severe viral fever and did not go to school for some days, none of the pens survived. When he came to know he advanced toward me with flaming eyes and flaring nostrils. My excuse, ‘But it is not my fault, it just happened‘.

My husband loves glassware. Before my arrival he had beautiful vases, fruit bowl etc. None of them survived. When his favorite vase broke, he asked me almost teary eyed, ‘How did you manage to break this’. My reply, ‘But it is not my fault, it just happened‘. He never bought anything brittle from then on.

My niece is almost my copy both in looks as well as habits. The only difference being she is an extrovert, I was not. Nothing escapes her hand. Whether it is a glass or a CD. Her excuse, ‘But it is not my fault, it just happened‘.

My son is no better. While his things survive, ours do not. Pens, CDs, mobiles every thing is at risk when he is around. You guessed it right, his excuse. ‘But it is not my fault, it just happened’.

Traditions you see, in our family, are carried on. 😀

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This post is part of Write over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian bloggers by Blogadda. The theme this week being fun with repetition, My sentence, ‘But it is not my fault, it just happened‘.

Holiday Chronicles III

Life takes us on myriad paths and when we come to the original path taken, we seem to be lost.

Same happens when you meet someone after a long time and you are shocked to see how life has treated them.

But then life is like that.

We were in Mysore for a day. Hubby had some work and we tagged along. Morning was spent at the zoo. The kid enjoyed even though he had to walk about 3 km, And we had a nice time with him, explaining everything and answering billions of questions.

But it was evening that I was waiting for. I had done my B.Com in Mysore. We were to meet my Uncle and Aunty. Uncle had been my father’s colleague in Bhilai. A relationship which began there had matured to them being my Local Guardian.

Those three years will always be cherished. It was that time when I finally started understanding life. Aunty who helped me transform. Uncle who guided me and in true sense they two are the ones who laid the foundation of my spiritual growth.

Even today I can smell the badam milk which she used to give me early in the morning while MS’s Suprabhatam played in the background.

Sickness, moroseness, celebrations all had one destination-VINUTHA. (the name of their house)

Sonny wanted to see the ‘bus’ of Mysore and so we boarded a bus to their place. Got down at the supposed stop. Only to realise that the whole area had completely changed in the past 17 years.

And they too are living in a different house now as their house is being renovated.

What followed for the next half an hour was chaos. The better half being the better one geographically got angry that I could not locate a place which I had frequented so much. The anger was more because the son had had to walk some more.

He wanted to return to the hotel room. I refused to comply. Nowhere was I going without meeting my mentors.

Then finally Aunty asked us to wait where we were. She came in an auto. I got in and she hugged me then and there. The wise one’s anger melted away. The younger one was shocked to see someone other showing so much love to his mother.

We went home. It smelled the same of badam milk and agarbathi, of love and familiarity.

But what I was not prepared to was the vagaries of age.

In our databases we nourish the same old image of years gone by without realizing that age might have caught on.

We caught up on memories, The other two ‘s eyes bulged out more and more. They had not prepared themselves for the love and memories that we exchanged.

And all the while I burnt inside

How could time tarnish my happy memories. Why aunty had to shuffle, why Uncle had to tremble?

But still there was a feast to gorge upon. We were touched. In spite of physical limitations Aunty had taken so much care to see that we were fell fed. And everything prepared by herself. In an age where we pick up our mobiles to order food for self or guests. Here was a woman in her late 60s who made everything herself for a friend’s daughter.

We got up to leave she hugged me again. I choked up. Will I be able to meet them again? How much more would Time have hurt them?

We came away wiser. Their love flowing through us which in turn strengthened our bond.

And while I say a prayer for them everyday, I say a request too now, please keep them in your loving embrace always.

English

Ganesh Chaturti is a big festival in our families. The family (from my husband’s side) having acquired gigantic proportions has now formed a trust and the trust now celebrates four festivals in a year grandly. The rest can be celebrated at home if you so wish or can forget.

So on that grand day we assemble at our ancestral house which we technically call as ‘hod ghar‘. (big house) situated in Gangulli. Where is Gangulli? Well it is a scenic town near Kundapur, Udupi zilla. Have a look here. Well this picture was taken from a moving bus by yours truly, so please forgive the quality.

Chaturti is a time when we deck up in our traditional best and amidst the cacophony of mantras and gossip; celebrate. Kids run about, women whisper, men break coconuts and the devout sing.  Me personally enjoys the scene.

Lunch is usually served at 5 p.m. Don’t panic. Before that we have had our turns of Taani (meaning snacks and coffee/tea)

After a sumptuous meal, we gather around the well to wash our hands and well…to chat some more.

And it was then last year that I met my hubby’s cousin. We chatted and then she heard me talking to my son in Konkani.

Shocked she asked,’ You speak to him in Konkani not English’

Me: ‘Why should I speak in English’

She: ‘But you stay in BAHRAIN’

Me: ‘So’, I was going to say that Bahrain is a part of this Earth only but stopped myself.

You may ask why.

In our families, my husband is supposed to be sadhu and me jor. (Aggressive) Well the closest know the internal dynamics. But let us not discuss all that right now.

The jor that I am, I had a devilish plan.

Me: So which standards your sons are studying in.

She: The eldest is in 4th, younger one is in Balwadi. We speak in English at home, so that it is not a problem for them.

Me: Problem?

She: Yes, You know how important it is to know English. and so….

She went on explaining the need of speaking English at home. My smile went on becoming wider.

In some time, the hubby joined us after breaking coconuts, serving food and having eaten himself.

He: What are you two talking about

Me: Akka is telling me the importance of speaking in English, they speak English only at home.

He (shocked). Why?? Kids have to be comfortable with their mother tongue first. English as such they learn in school, don’t they. Yes, English is necessary but our regional languages have better grammar ……..blah, blah blah.

I stayed in the background and watched Akka being bombarded with facts and figures.

Jor who Me?? *evil grin*

Detour

The plane was about to land and I was excited. I was meeting Aunty after about 15 years and I was damn excited.

The Tambes had been our neighbors for a long time. Till the time they decided to shift to a bigger house, they had been with us, through good times and bad; through thick and thin. As a child I remember whenever the food was not to my liking, I would run across to their home, to see what Aunty had prepared. When I was sure that I would be scolded for my mischief’s, i would run across. So many memories came to the mind and I chuckled and the person next to me was shocked. Yes, shocked. He must have thought that I was mad. 🙂

I was going back to the town I grew up for the alumni meet of our school. More than the meet I was charged up about meeting aunty. Her son Ajay lived in Mumbai.  Uncle having passed away, some years back, aunty lived alone.

After a hurried bath, I took a cab and rushed to meet her. Ajay bhaiyya and me were in touch via facebook and he had passed me her address. Uncle having passed away, she had moved into a one bedroom flat.

I had not informed her and had forbid bhaiyya too. I wanted to see if she would recognize me. And so I rang the bell and stepped back. After a full 7 minutes, I heard foot steps and after about a minute the door opened. I am sure she mist have peeped through the peep hole.

‘I don’t want anything, what are you selling?’, she said that in a single breathe. Though her voice cracked a bit now but it had the same vitality.

‘Aunty, don’t you recognize me?’, the vitality of childhood had returned in me too.

She opened the door a little more and then after some seconds, ‘Shamo…’

We spent the better half of a morning catching up on the news. She made me masala bhath, jhunka bhakar, which I gobbled up sitting on the kitchen platform, the same way that I used to do in the childhood.

But something puzzled me. She never mentioned about her son. It was absolutely visible that her arthritis was painful and yet she was living alone. Why?

In the evening I probed the matter.

‘Oh, that. You know sons change after marriage. It is only his wife now’, ignoring all my other questions.

The meet went well. Though scheduled to catch my flight from New Delhi, I changed my plans and instead went to meet Ajay bhaiyya and barged into his office.

He smiled and said, ‘I knew that you would be coming’. Having been raised together we knew each other’s psyche  well.

He left his office early and we went to his home.

‘Life is not always as you see, Shamo’,  he said.

‘Still fuming, I said,’ Meaning?’

‘You think I have thrown out Aayi from my life.’

‘Yes’, I said. I was so angry that I was in no mood to be diplomatic.

‘Do you have time? This may take some time’.

‘I have al the time for aunty,’ I said mockingly.

He let out a sigh and started.

‘You know aayi and baba had started everything from scratch. They formed their own lives. Which is good but when we were growing up, they forgot that I too had my aspirations. I tried to spread my wings in the limits set by them but when I got married it became worse. Baba had a heart attack  and expired. Aayi alone was lost for direction and instead became more overbearing. My wife Nisha had to dress the way she wanted, to behave the way she wanted , to eat what she wanted etc. Nisha understanding her mental state agreed but when our daughter was born; and Aayi continued with her ways, she put her foot down. What Nisha said was that she wanted her daughter to be raised not like a robot but as an individual. And I agreed with her’.

My anger by now had melted and I listed with rapt attention.

‘Aayi who had ruled her world for over 30 + years, just could not accept that. She just could not adjust. Do you remember Bhargav uncle?’

When I nodded a yes, he continued. ‘Bhargav uncle had come down to Mumbai and I told him the situation in our home. He said that as Aayi was not the person who would ever adjust or let go, wouldn’t it be better if he she went along with him to our old town. There was a flat vacant in their building, she could stay there and as there were a lot of ‘old friends’ living there, they could all spend time nicely and look out for their needs. Aayi,  jumped at this idea and returned.’

‘Tell me Shamo, was I wrong?’.

I was pensive in my return flight. The best of people ruin their lives just because they let their ego run their lives and do not adjust and accept.

* fictitious