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163: It’s Time

13 Jun

S, A, and I left for the airport together, and sat to have our respective bevvys together while waiting for our flights. I watched his taxi to the runway and take-off, wondering just how big my baby brother had become. Soon it’d be our turn to leave.


Ma told me to have button idlis at the airport, so I did…and now I’m too full. Of everything that home can fill a child with. Including the heartbreak of leaving it. Sigh.

156: Another Holiday Monday

5 Jun


What if I become broke? But oh my darling, what if you become rich?

I couldn’t help adapt the popular quote to this bookshop that I first visited as a child. It was a new experience because this was a bookshop of a different kind; one where they sold old books that smelt the best and even took back books you’d finished reading. 

It was just normal instinct to walk into a bookstore enroute the restaurant my friend A and I were heading to, to stuff our face with Mangalorean ghee roast crab. 

Our afternoon was delectable, to say the least. 

155: Sundays Of A Different Kind

4 Jun

This was spent sitting on a wooden seat at St. Patrick’s Church during Sunday mass, taking in Sunday mornings from a different perspective. 


It was followed by this debauchery with R, over conversations, laughter, reminiscing, and joy. 


Apt for a Bangalore Sunday morning after a long time. :)

Now on to the match!

153: The Thrill In The Uexpected

2 Jun

Ever since I got here, I’ve experienced a series of unexpected joys. As I was very matter-of-factly walking towards the bus shuttle after exiting the airport, I chanced upon the first bus in line, which was relatively empty, that I decided to get home by. On approaching the bus, there she was sitting right in the front seat in direct sight – my first ever psychology teacher from back in the day. One really finds it difficult to sum up all the feelings that bubble and gurgle within you…a fine blend of shock, excitement, confusion, joy, thrill, all woven into a fabric of beautiful memories put together. We couldn’t believe our chance meeting – on a bus out of so many buses, at an airport of all places; and after what’s soon going to be 15 years. Of course this count was meant to highlight just how long it’s been, except it also reminds me just how long ago I finished my 10th board exams. It goes without saying that we spent the rest of the bus ride seated next to each other, sharing titbits from our life and experiences, and how the journey has been so far. To say that the ride was too short would fall short of how I felt; where’s that traffic jam when you really need it?!

In-keeping with this, and as if I hadn’t walked back in time enough, I passed my school during functional school hours yesterday for the first time since I’d left it. As I drove past it, I couldn’t resist the urge to get off the car and walk right in, to just perhaps see if I could meet the teachers I’d once spent every single day of my life with. And I did. I still cannot describe the feeling; perhaps the connections run so deep that they’ve remained embedded somewhere within me in a place that’s hard to access. Time really isn’t enough when you’re walking down memory lane. Sometimes words aren’t, either.

It’s a strange feeling, this. There’s always been an indefinable friction within me to go back to where I came from. Notwithstanding the trying times that they were, and not discounting the amazing things that were also happening back then, it really isn’t a road I like to walk down. Things change, people change, everything changes. Apart from this insecurity of not being remembered or being acknowledged like you perhaps once were, it’s this strange tug of war stepping back in time versus watching your memories from the safety of disconnected distance. As I walked away from these two episodes, it only reminded me that as the years pile up, so do our own thoughts and perceptions of the whats and hows. To say I didn’t take away so much from these experiences and in turn give so much to these experiences as well, would negate the actual power of reminiscence, time, and life itself.

152: Homeward Bound

1 Jun

I’m off to Bangalore for a short while, dear friends. It’s a break I have been looking forward to, naturally, and now that it’s time to leave (yes, I’m writing this after my successful book hunt at the airport – I picked up Maharani Gayatri Devi’s memoirs), the wait has become even more unbearable. What once used to take us days to reach by train, now takes us not more than 3 hours – we’re fortunate; but now even these three hours feel like a lifetime. My check-in was smoother than I’d imagined at this hour – and everything went off with a happy, genuine smile from both sides – from the lady at the check-in counter to the lady at security check to my coffee waitress. It’s a great way to begin a day, that’s for sure.

I hope to be able to write regularly, but there might be more cheating involved during this period than I’d like to acknowledge. I’m referring to blog cheating and food cheating, of course. Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between these secondary forces that pull me to Bangalore – is it the food, the weather, the memories, the walk back in time?, because the one thing I focus a lot on, is food. I’ll write more about memories on a later post; but food really seems to take precedence. Going back to what I was saying is that I hope I can maintain this venture while I’m busy stuffing my face with the madness Bangalore has to offer.

See you on the other side, dear reader! Have a pleasant and colourful June! :)

140: For Ma

20 May

This cake was a long time coming; one that I’d been dreaming of making but just never got around to investing time over, until today when it just happened. Needless to say, it was the most effort I’ve ever needed to put in for a simple tea-cake, but the results, as you can see, were fabulous, and just thrilling, to be honest.

Today is ma’s birthday, and it was absolutely fitting to have this bubble up in my oven and fill my house with the fragrance of love, and all things that ma is to me, and each of us. Besides, she loves her teacakes, and I cannot wait to make this for her, because we all have an Alex in us that needs to bite the Marty in us too. :)

This reminded me of two years back when I made ma her birthday cake at home; it was also the year I was moving away from home and her nest. It had to be doubly special for reasons still too emotional to describe.

Time flies, and here I am, sitting with another cake over yet another year that has arrived at our doorsteps.

While I can’t be with her on this day, and couldn’t be with her on this day last year either, this sense of serendipity makes up for it somehow.

Love is ma. Love is a freshly baked homemade cake, too. :)

135: Red Pen Memories

15 May

I’m sitting with a red pen, armed almost, and remembering the seed of fear it had germinated in me. The sight of a red pen in any of my work was only welcomed when it re-affirmed the best of my capabilities; and dreaded at other times. I wonder if it continues its legacy with the students whose work I mark today. Is there fear, or just complacency now? Kids today fear less, or fear different things. How far or how effective this colour is on their answer sheets is one I can only guess or confirm upon clarification.

Flitting between the rustle of papers, I feel odd and out of place in a bodily experience. Is this really me? Never did I think of being here, again. Never did I plan for any of this. Little did I imagine making someone chase marks again.

It’s a strange feeling.

For now I’m caught in the urgent thoughts of many squeezed in a 60-minute clock. There are spews of panic, confidence, confusion, “silly mistakes” (oh how I hated that word, because I made so many of them), hurry, and a slight streak of calmness. I can’t help but smile, and also grimace at the same time.

96: If I Could…

6 Apr

…I’d wish for this. 

87: Noon-time Nostalgia

28 Mar

He smelt of a heady yet comforting combination of old clothes which he refused to give away, asafoetida, mildew-y papers whose stacks never receded, mustard oil, Ponds talcum powder, and tea. He wore what were huge holes put together by what was once, I presume, a perfectly white cotton vest. His holy thread, too worn yet intact, always ridged through all that melted cotton, while his skin sagged and revealed the telling of being a grandparent.

He never married but lived close enough to become my maternal granduncle, and therefore my nana, by default. Many of my memories of him halt at his insolence; towards the maid, the handyman, and even towards the ones I held dearest to me. He demarcated his boundaries in a house that was otherwise not in his reign of control, for he had two spots that were his and his alone – one by the door in the corner of my grandmother’s puja room, and the other which was his makeshift bed in the drawing room.

His spot in the puja room was where our curiosities germinated, bubbled, and stayed. On his stool were clustered together papers, Hanumanji stickers and prayer books (he was a faithful devotee), lawyer collars (he was one), files (but of course), his aluminium tea kettle, herbs, threads, nails and screws, perhaps a couple of pens…but that’s all my memory now allows me to recollect. It didn’t even strike the child in me to ever ask him about his worldly belongings…because how can an adult life be judged with just some paraphernalia on a wooden stool? I never asked and he never said.

But more than all these myriad smells and belongings put together, it was the fragrance of a summery musk melon we’d avidly huddle over while it was being cut and sprinkled with sugar, that I somehow attached to him. Memories of him always come rushing back as if he were handing me this sublime scoop of melon while standing right next to me as I cut the fruit and bit into it today.

86: Of Revisits

27 Mar

The drawback of this challenge is that I’m constantly looking for potential blog posts whenever and wherever. It sucks because I become that creepy blogger who sneaks up on every unaware moment and throws the spotlight on it; waiting to prey on it with my bloggers’ magnifying glass. Sometimes I allow myself to be this way, sometimes I let go and let the blogger in me curse myself. The former option gratifies the post-hungry me, the latter gratifies the moment-hungry me. What can I say, it’s a win-win, lose-lose situation depending on how you perceive it.

I will not stop to tell you about the nasty pizza that ruined the culmination of what was an otherwise gorgeous weekend. I will also not stop to give you the gory details of just what it did to me and still continues to bestow on me. *have mercy* However, I will stop to tell you about revisiting my early twenties which were dotted with visits to my favourite pub (which of course, and sadly, doesn’t exist in its erstwhile form anymore).

Come Saturday evening, once we’d dropped my MIL off and returned back (to a comfortingly dark) home thanks to Earth Hour, we sat down together in the shade of a lone lamp and the embrace of a playful Spring evening breeze to this and daru (needless to say).

 

It was just a matter of time before one track tumbled into the other as memories snowballed into a collective of magic and washed all over me. A refreshing wave of magic and all things carefree and bespoke of earlier times when we’d guffaw over mugs of chilled beer, that free bowl of popcorn we’d judiciously savour (because two small packs came with one pitcher and what if we wanted to drink more but wasted it all on measly popcorn?), psychedelic paintings and conversations that were obnoxiously loud to keep up with the pub’s din. Those tables were much too large and broad, as we’d lean over them, still seated on our floor cushions, pretending like we were indeed too cool for anything. Sometimes we’d sneak in a smoke break if someone was feeling adventurous or had the money for such thrilling indulgences that made us feel rebellious and grown up all at once.

The music’d grow louder as we’d immerse our fast numbing senses into its depths; free-falling into the trippy world of classic music and alcohol. Someone would then rope onto their dimming inhibitions and adventure past page one of the menu; beckoning the waiter for more eats and beer.

 

 

Guns N’ Roses would come on and we’d lose it like we’d always belonged. Soon even the strictest of us would be lured into staying back, hanging out for another half an hour tops (what futile timelines those were). If GNR was on, that only meant the best was yet to come. And so it would. I always remember waiting for this magic to spread its wings and take me on its joy ride.

 

Pink Floyd epitomized the pub experience for me. It really was the cherry on this marvellous cake that this budding sense of adulthood brought my way. I remember sinking back into my floor cushions, shutting my eyes as I let chilled beer travel down my body like gold that knew exactly which spot to hit, and allowing myself to be carried away by this one particular track. Be sure to turn this one up. Always. :)

So it was just natural to be teleported back to those days the moment this track came on. And this hit the spot.

“Lost in thought and lost in time

while the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted…

…While I pondered on this dangerous and irresistible pastime

I took a heavenly ride through our silence…”