Tag Archives: Memories

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. 

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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.

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.

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…”

78: Switch

19 Mar

Sometimes it all feels like a dream, or an alternate reality, to be more real.

Sometimes I find myself wondering where I am and how my life’s just switched from one to the other, like a transition that enjoys pronounced dichotomies.

A just walked up to me as I was browsing through photographs, feeling how photographs generally make one feel.

And all of a sudden I couldn’t comprehend where I was or what I was doing here, in this house, in this space, in this whole new life so measurably different from the ones those photographs absorbed me in.

Am I really married? Is this person opening this jar of walnuts really my husband? Wasn’t I just sprawled on my own bed thinking about walks at Ulsoor Lake and beers at Windsor Pub, classroom conversations and how funny our eyebrows really looked back in college?

I did come across pictures of A when we first decided to meet, and then eventually met. What’s he doing here with me now, where’s my nook on my sunshine yellow bed next to ma’s, why’s he hanging around here like he and I belong here, like we’re on our own now, I wondered.

Strange as it was, and as sober as I am, it’s such a warp to get lost in the world of memories, now prefixed with old attached to them. It’s a mindfuzz to come back, make the switch, and get on as if nothing ever changed.

55: Not Counting

24 Feb

I’m not counting days.

…days since I woke up at an obnoxious hour, but in excitement.

…days since I couldn’t contain my elation as the magnetic doors of the airport opened and took me a step closer to my Bangalore-bound aircraft.

…days since I easily breezed out of BIA’s airport, strode to the bus stand, boarded it, got off and took an auto to get home…all without any creases, any worries, any stress.

…days since I got home to welcome post-it notes.

…days since I sat with ma and talked, argued, bickered, laughed…

…days since I lay next to her and slept like a baby.

…days since I revisited my memories of growing up.

I’m not counting days because they flew by and I’ve lost track of them.

*sigh*

50: Unchanged

19 Feb

50 days, 50 posts.

Through all the changes, here’s my toast.


While 50 is not much, I think it’s deserving of some special attention, even if it’s with something small.

A lot has changed since I first sunk my teeth into these smilies back in 2006/2007 (I can’t remember).

Then I was a student, now I sometimes wish I was.

Then I thought twice about ordering a plate all for myself, now I can’t do without sharing them for old time’s sake.

Then the waiters hated waiting on us, now they go out of their way to say hello. (It happened yesterday)

Then it was coffee and smilies, now it’s rum iced tea and smilies.

Then they were shared over project discussions, now they’re downed over reminisces and current stressors.

Then we’d wait for money to decide our next meeting, and now we wait for time to be kind.

49: Of Over Ten Years

18 Feb

The thing with girlfriends is this:

we take forever to make plans

we’re almost always caught up in our own shit, a lot of which is known to each other

we’ll take time out from our respective shittiness to meet up and generally forget about the world while we meet

we’ll laugh like we’re sitting in our own homes and most often even speak as if we’re the only ones around

we have no problems talking about anything and everything

we talk about everything and tend to expertly discuss all topics that cross our minds and lives and paths in general

we eat together

we eat some more, together

we counsel each other and find wisdom for ourselves from our conversations

we laugh at each other and with each other

we bitch if we have to

we cry when we really feel like it

we bicker, even

we reminisce, we dream, we talk, we wander, we listen, we hug, we have mini conversations within a big conversation, we sing sometimes, we go crazy all the time.

Today R, R, R and I met after what felt like an unending planning session. We each had our things going on – one was knee deep in work around the time our meeting started, one hadn’t slept much, one had to go shopping after, while I had to finish a few chores after. Lots of food, an ample supply of iced tea, and a river of conversation later, we ended our meeting having forgotten about everything else that was on our agenda even before we’d met. R had downed a couple of coffees and spoke about life with her boy, R forgot about her shopping altogether, R seemed to have eased up from her busy work and home life, and I felt like time played a fast one on us. I guess that’s what happens when you meet your girls, no? Over raucous laughter, snickers, jokes, and inside details, we managed to feel like it was just yesterday all over again.

46: Back To Where I Left From

15 Feb

Today seems to have been a never ending one. It started at a cruel 4am and has been on ever since…it feels like forever. What actually felt like forever was my journey to Bangalore. I did spend my time quite productively in transit – I ate, drank my tea, read my book, and slept. But it seemed to go on for longer than the scheduled 2 hours 45 minutes that my itinerary told me. It was especially trying when the captain said we’d be landing in 20 minutes but the aircraft showed no signs of descending or going anywhere but in circles. But I reached, and here I am, in Bangalore.

There’s always so much that floods my senses when I step into my city…so many big and small changes, so many reminders to tell me that I have, indeed, left. The Coca Cola factory we used to visit has now given way to a new construction. I don’t know if this is a new thing. The petrol pump I remember seeing since I was a child has been demolished and barricaded. I forgot to check whether the Amul hoarding just above it still holds fort. Tomorrow, I shall. The busses I used to travel by or watch pass me by as I waited for mine, still ply on their respective routes…raggedy, blue, and gigantic as ever. It feels like I’ve opened a closed chapter. It makes me look within and wonder just where time went off to.

While I was reading on the flight today, I came across these lines which made me stop, and read them again.

Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me…but at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I’d left behind.

Thomas F. Hornbein

Poignant for a homecoming, more so when memories come knocking at my door.

During my auto ride today, I asked myself again if I missed Bangalore; a question my friends always ask, or used to at least. When I returned back for the first time, the answer was as shocking as it was clear – I didn’t miss the city, I missed its character, the multitude of memories it gave me, and of course, over and above everything else, I missed the people who lived in it, and still do. Today I bargained and reasoned and came to understand that, perhaps, my new home has my heart while Bangalore has my soul. It seemed fair. It seemed reasonable to feel this sense of belonging here, and there. The rest of the auto ride went peacefully thereon.