Weird week, Mi. You won’t believe the things I did. I drank hot water, and liked it. I heard your laughter with every sip I took. I avoided coffee and opted for tea instead. (Gasp!) Truth is, I couldn’t taste a thing and thought the […]
Memories from another day . . .
So my heart went back after the short break, Mi. I confess I did a wicked thing—when the airline called to say the Sunday flight was cancelled and asked if they should reschedule for Saturday, I suggested Monday. I mean, why would I cut short that visit, eh? It is funny, you know. The weeks before, we eagerly wait for his arrival. Then as the days pass and the time comes for him to leave, we feel sad. Of course we understand we’re in a good place, etc. etc. but how can one stop feeling emotional about these things? After all, I birthed him, right? I know you know how I feel.
We had a wonderful time, cooking, eating together, chatting, watching TV and movies. We even managed to go out one day for lunch as well as a visit to the bookstore. All in all, not bad at all, numerous hospital visits notwithstanding! Sometimes we just have to decide to be happy, no?
I am even proud of myself for setting aside work almost completely and only going online when I absolutely had to. I just had a great time in the kitchen. I now know exactly what you meant, all those times when you talked about cooking as the most glorious thing to do, while I either smirked or half-listened. I am happy you were right. So happy.
So Diwali came and went. I couldn’t help walking down nostalgia lane to that time when the house would be practically overflowing with sweets and khari. Of course we did change the way we celebrate festivals and traditions, but still. When Vidur was home we’d still go berserk making all the yummies. Now the two of us don’t really feel inclined to—and we felt happy to hear that he had a good time.
I fondly recalled those days when we made gulab jamun, and you would roll out tiny ones for him because he was small and wanted to pop the whole jamun in his mouth and described how nice it was to feel the juice oozing in his mouth. You would keep some fried ones before dunking them in the syrup because he would love to eat it at every stage! Best thing was the instant chakrapongal we made one day. And remember that evening with the long power cut when he wanted to eat vadai? He hung on to you and cajoled you to make it and even promised to “sing for his supper” because he had just learned the phrase. And sing he did, while we whipped up the vadai for him. Lovely memories.
The most hilarious thing was how, on the first Diwali after we moved here, we made loads of mixture and sweet for distribution, thinking people will be in and out of the house with trays. We were so surprised to see people stuck to themselves and did not even wish one another. Only two of our neighbors were friendly at the time and we made it a habit to exchange trays of goodies for every festival. It is heartwarming to think we’ve seen those kids grow up. Did I tell you that K and family live elsewhere because of that gruesome accident? So sad. I get updates when they come to leave their gas cylinder since it is tied to their address here.
Right now our floor is a lonely and very dusty place what with three houses locked, house renovations in full swing and the one family that pretty much keeps to themselves and one of course, our Mrs.G.
Time flies, life goes on, but memories stay fresh, Mi. Which is really a very good thing, no?
So, inspired by all the Navratri spirit around me, I decided to clean out the living room cupboard, Mi. Remember how, when we first moved into this house, it was half decorative stuff and half toys? Then gradually, over the years, two shelves were taken […]
Today, while channel-surfing casually–I was waiting to open the cooker–I came across DD airing MS Subbulakshmi’s Bhaja Govindam, Mi! She would have been 100 years old today, you know. Oh, that dear charming face, the gorgeous voice! How wonderful it was to listen. As the song played I quickly got lunch ready and sat down to enjoy it with the music filling my ears and my senses and of course, I couldn’t help but trail down memory lane.
I remembered how, during my childhood, on Sundays, we practically had a music fest after our brunch. Kondu mama would literally light up the place with his cheerful attitude, cleaning, cooking, triggering laughter and conversations, joking about all the people we knew.
We’d expect Bore mama to come over sometimes and while we were quite fond of him, we would love to tease him. I loved it best when Athai came over. I have such fond memories of Paati and Athai on one side of our huge “hall” aka living room, while others were scattered around, in their own favorite spots. I loved the window sill best, with a few of my toys and books.
Once lunch was wound up, and the kitchen cleared, we would all settle in the hall, in anticipation. What fun it was to have Kondu mama bring out the record player and the records, while Gopmama lounged with his crossword. Kittu mama would get busy browsing through his mental list of tiffin options for the afternoon, after we all had tea.
Then Kondu mama would start the musical fest with some Cliff Richard songs and we would sing along. Remember what fun it used to be, Mi? Summer Holiday was my favorite then! That would be followed by some KL Saigal, some Juthika Roy . . . And then, MS Subbulaxmi. How heavenly it was! Then at 2.30, tea would be made and enjoyed, sitting on the floor in the middle of the hall.
I especially recall those sparrows chirping–they had a little nest in the corner of the room near the window and they’d keep flying in and out through the window without bothering anyone. Such nice live and let live times!
After the last MS record, we’d listen to MLV and it would be the cue to start making tiffin. Kittu mama always voted for bajjis or pakodas, while Kondu mama would root for sabudana upma! Sometimes there would be a tie and both would be made and about an hour later, we would all assemble again in the hall to sit and enjoy it together.
It is funny to think that after that, later in the evening, we would go for a walk or to the temple nearby and come back for an early dinner before getting ready to start the week the next day. Around 9 the kitchen would be closed and we would listen to the radio as everyone drifted off to sleep, slowly. I loved how Gopmama told me stories, stretching those fairy tales with his own versions. But I loved your stories best, Mi! Hugging you and sleeping, as you stroked my hair, making me believe I was so very special.
Do you remember how I searched high and low to get that 5-tape set of MS’s songs? Still have it.
Fast forward to decades later, and we would play these on Saturday mornings and let the musical notes lovingly caress us before we decided to get up and start the weekend.
Yes, I still like to believe that when a leaf or flower falls on me from a tree when I am out there walking, it is a blessing. It is nice not to grow up in some ways. Because that’s how we create our cozy place–that place we can retire to, feeling the cocoon of love when we need it.
I wish you were here to listen to this song now. But come to think of it, you can probably hear it live up there, Mi.