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Recalling childhood

What do you remember when you recall your childhood? I am assaulted by doubts when I think what my daughter will remember of me during her childhood.Will it all be evil? Full of shouting? Angry outbursts? Hurtful words?

Then I decided to see what I recalled from my childhood.

There are sights and there are sounds that came flooding. Often there have been episodes and incidents which crop up from nowhere, at times surprising me with the intensity and clarity with which they come on a perfectly normal day. But when I made a conscious effort of remembering the days bygone I was surprised with the warmth and fuzzy feelings that I encountered. Here is a peek.

I recall changotra sessions at my naani's house. This is quite vivid. I can smell the winter sun of Palampur even now at its mere mention. The fragrance of this huge citrus fruit as it was brought out before the lunch hour from a tree in front of my naani's house.The peeling, the preparation of a special herbed salt and then the process of distribution- my maasis and naani at work diligently trying to reach a perfect taste by striking a balance between sour and sweet.

Another weather memory in conjunction to my own nanihaal is that of the rains. I see it in my mind now. I come from the school. Being told by my naani about mangoes in a bucket that I can only have after changing out of the school uniform-the grrey skirt and white shirt. I can see the small sized iron bucket kept in the verandah, brimming with small green coloured mangoes. And I can see myself discarding the shirt hurriedly, throwing off the satchel in the room besides this veranda and then going for the mangoes with the school skirt still on. I ate and ate till I could eat no more. Mee ji had gone for her afternoon nap when I had come and there wasn't anyone else around to stop me. I think I must have fallen sick the next day...hahhahaa. Surprisingly I can also see the exact shade of grey that filled the skies while I looked over the balcony as I suckled the mangoes. The rain had stopped but the grey ruled the day and my memories. From that house I remember a huge wooden dressing table filled with all the wonders of the world. A rouge, lipsticks, nail paints, assorted hair pins, kajal ki potli and what not!

Of the Palampur afternoons I remember being treated to katori-full sugary sessions with my Bauji after every meal. I remember being sent to his shop for one chore or the other, which to think of now, was just a ruse to get me out of the house and out of the way of work which Meeji had plenty.

Books can't be far behind from this storehouse of memories. I remember an evening in the drawing room of this very house where I was teased for mistaking Enid Blyton as Gnid Blyton by my Mama. Alongside him I remember a big  box of 5 star chocolates. I remember sitting on the floor with the special bhujia that he would bring from Bikaner in a katori and with a glass of water on my side.

Of the smells that I associate with my childhood, a very fond memory is that of a big cake being baked in an electric oven at Meeji's house. This one comes with the taste of the batter which I was given to lick from the big pot that held it before the majority was transferred to the baking dish. Here I also see Anju maasi whose complexion resembled the yummy batter of the sponge cake.

From one of the rooms of the same house I recall stories, songs on the radio and high heels belonging to my youngest maasi. I partly think that I inherited the radio from her- Mamta maasi. Sitting at a window, gazing down the street, we would listen to songs and jingles on Vividh Bharti. I recall lying in bed with her appreciating her slender fingers, crossing them with my chubby fingers and wondering if I will ever have long, gorgeous nails as hers.

Of my own home, one of the most interesting sounds that has always stayed with me is that of my mother's ring as she rubbed a steel glass between her palms to cool down the milk in the evenings. I was intrigued by the sound and often used to wonder about its source. It took me a long time to figure it out but that tak-tak sound is like none  other that I have heard or tried to produce myself with many a steel glasses.

Of the favourite sights that are fresh in my mind one is of my father coming home from the University on his grey Bajaj Chetak. The sound of the horn from the top of the street alerted us that he is about to reach. Me and my sister would abandon whatever we were pretending to study and rush downstairs to meet him at the gate of the house. During the holidays this run was made to grab the movie cassette that he had been asked to fetch from the market on his way home while on the other days this was just an excuse to get away from the books.

Like I mentioned in the beginning as a mother I always feel that I am falling short....short of patience, short of being a good example. I am really not a picture of a gentle, loving, calm and composed grown up even when I am at my best behaviour. I am more of a nutty meets happy meets shaky. So when I see these mothers who seem to be fully in control of everything them- their houses, kids, selves I try to think of my own parents and decipher whether they were nutty or the in control of everything.

Alas! I fail. I don't remember of that much and there is hope in this because I can maybe depend on the fact that my daughter too shall not remember my outbursts. What I remember though is my lovely mother in saris and how she walked across the school ground. Confident. Happy. Smart. I remember the sudden happiness that gripped me from inside when Papa reached home. So, like I said there is hope in here.


Jaya said…
Childhood memories are very special and unforgettable. This reminds me my special time. thanks
Neha Kalra said…
oh! Amu no memories of Chandigarh or us... :) can't be :P

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