Tag Archives: memories

The Indian Crow

The sun is not visible today, but it’s heat can still be felt. I stand on my balcony, looking at the traffic at the junction.

My attention is diverted by a streak of bright yellow that is flitting between the branches of a tree. I realize that it is a beautiful oriole, busily going about his day. I keep watching the oriole for a while. My attention is then drawn to the pigeons – sitting on ledges, swooping down, taking a breather. There are so many of them.

Then I begin to wonder. There is not a crow in sight. In fact, I haven’t seen one in the neighbourhood in a long, long time.

I keep seeing mynas, sparrows, parrots and hornbills, but never a crow.

And suddenly I feel nostalgic. Nostalgic for my childhood, where the crow formed an integral part of our lives.

Image courtesy – Wikipedia

Where the crow featured as the hero in many of the stories told to us by our grandmom and aunts – intelligent in some stories, foolish in some stories, thirsty and intelligent in some others. But the crow’s presence in our lives could never be ignored.

Babies were fooled into swallowing uninterestimg vegetables and yummy rasam rice, when a crow swooped into their yards. Babies were mesmerised by this bird, whose caws in the gentle afternoon breeze sounded like lullabies.

When we were growing up, most Indian women would put out some cooked rice for the crows, on their window ledges or terraces, before serving food to the family.

The crows were so used to this that they would show up at the prescribed window ledge or terrace at the appointed hour. And, if for some reason there was a delay in the arrival of their food, the crows would caw loudly, causing the woman of the house to hurry up!

My aunt had names for the crows that visited her window ledge, and would talk to them everyday, and affectionately chide them if they cawed too loudly.

Such was the role that crows played in our childhood. The crow was truly one of our childhood heroes.

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‘Creating’ memories

The days are flying, and there are days when time seems to have vanished between sunrise and sunset. I try to recall what I did or what I ate, but I am simply not able to remember. Where did the day go?

However, I can easily identify every single classmate of mine from old school photos. I can remember the lyrics to most of the songs we heard as children.

But now, when someone asks me to sing any new song, I can only remember the tune, and I make up my own lyrics on the fly, much to the embarrassment of my children.

Earlier this week, I was a participant in an event, where our group performed a medley of songs.

We had lots of fun preparing for the event. However, all of us had a problem with our memories and the lyrics. For the first few days we used papers and our phones.

But as with everything else, confidence comes only if we are word perfect. So we tried our best to do away with the papers and our phones.

But this presented another problem – this effort required absolute concentration, where we could not allow even a stray thought to intrude into our minds.

One stray thought and the lyrics just flew away, leaving us opening and closing our mouths like fish, trying desperately to get the lyrics back into our heads.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

What happened to those memory chain games where a group of us sat and reeled off names of animals or fruits and added a new animal or fruit to the already long list?

These days, if I don’t remember to write things down, there is a 100% chance that they will be washed away from my memory, making sure to come back and haunt me in the future.

Once I make my lists, I need alarms on my phone as back up. What if I don’t remember to see the list?

And this is how it is now, my life, trying to ‘create’ memories of simple, everyday things.

Scratches on the table

I sit on the dining table, working on my laptop. I absently run my hand on the surface of the table, and realize that the surface has become rough and filled with scratches – the result of Bayblades tested on the table, and school craft projects built on its surface.

Picture courtesy – 123rf.com

My eyes scan our home. There is an incense holder that has been around for many years, unobtrusive and remembered only when I light an incense stick. Then there is the coin box, where all members of the family drop coins from their wallets and purses.  There is the fruit bowl, and the dessert tray, the umbrella holder and the kitchen plates, the key holder and the wooden stool, the bottle-opener and the coffee mugs.

All these objects are integral parts of our lives, but we do not stop to think or remember when we bought them or from where. They are mute spectators to our successes and failures, our joys and grief.  

The printer paper, mobile charger, blender, gas lighter – they are our silent supporters and back-office team. Even if one of them stops functioning, there is an impact – the smooth flow of life is broken – it can be as simple as a missing key or a missing bottle-opener.

The scratches on my table remind me that these little memories are what make up our lives – a scratch here, a stain there, a chipped ceramic mug here, a well-worn carpet there. 

Scratches that store fun family memories in their grooves, stains that show that we have been careless and silly at times, doodles on the walls that speak of a child’s creative expression, old fridge magnets that bring back memories of family holidays, dog eared books showing time spent on reading…and many more such.

Life is in simple, everyday things.

A Mother’s Love

There are two sides to motherhood. On one side is when you are a child and receive the love of a mother; on the other side is when you are a mother and give your love to your child(ren). And you realize the value of the former only when you experience the latter.

I still remember that my mom was the nerve centre of our family. Her smiling countenance, her commitment to giving her best to every single member of the family, her superlative cooking skills, her ability to take on her children’s problems and lighten the burden for them, her unshakeable faith in her children and the belief that they were the very best.

From home mechanic to recycling expert to instant gourmet meal producer, my mom wore so many hats with ease and changed them in a jiffy. 

I don’t remember her ever being really sick. Even if she was a bit under the weather, she ploughed on, ever cheerful. However, there was this one time when she had slipped and hurt her knee really badly, and was out of action for a week. I remember how my siblings and I moped. We felt that the lights were dimmed in our house, the thread that strung us all together and got us going was not there. So, we spent time in her room, reading our books or sitting with her, wishing to hear her voice chiding us or her ‘mom looks’ that could freeze us in our tracks. Even those were better than having her unwell.

I did not realize all that I had learnt from my mom till I became one, and knew that being a mom means to GIVE; to give unconditionally, every single day.

             Image Courtesy – http://www.Cliparting.com

To love so much that you hurt. To want the very best for your children. To care too much, but to also learn to let go..and let your children soar and fly.

And retain every single memory of the wonderful years that have flown past, and the days that are flying past even as I type this. Rainy afternoons with hot samosas and movies, cycling trips with the family, stick figure drawings on the refrigerators, playing referee to sibling wars, cuddles and hugs, laughter and smiles, and lots and lots of love.

 A mother’s love. 

Chocolate

My kids are now at an age where they want variety in their food. From a limited menu of around twenty dishes, their taste buds have suddenly exploded to include new tastes and flavours. 

However, one flavour that is a constant in their lives is chocolate! They can eat chocolate, drink chocolate and talk chocolate. They can have it at any time – day or night. They can have it when they are sad or happy, energetic or tired.

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda
They fight over it. Sometimes, they even share a rare moment of sibling harmony when they eat chocolate.

Chocolate syrup is a fixture in milk shakes and any snack that the kids rustle-up.

Chocolate moustaches and chocolate stains, chocolatey grins and brown teeth, gooey fingers and chocolatey kisses are only some of the cute memories.

Chocolate can mend sibling fights, brighten up one’s day and provide mouth watering memories.

Biscuits and donuts, wafers and chocolate-chip cookies, dark chocolate cake, chocolate fondue, chocolate ice-cream; the children have tried it all. I don’t think they can ever outgrow  this flavour.

According to my children – any time is chocolate time! 

Chocolate is the flavour for all seasons.

Walls

It only seems like yesterday that my son used his crayons to doodle on the walls of our home. Small squiggles, mountains with the a smiling sun peeping in between and random shapes; the wall was a work of art and love. Then again, my daughter discovered the beauty of her palm prints on the wall one afternoon, many years ago, when I was catching some shut eye. I woke up to pretty palm prints in red decorating our living room wall – the result of a tube of red lipstick that had fallen from the dresser.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

I conducted many experiments with the best cleaning agents for various types of stains and squiggles.  By the time I discovered the perfect cleaning fluid to clean the walls of these works of art, the children had moved to the next stage of using the walls of our home. They pinned pictures of their favourite characters, their drawings and school timetables on the walls.  Our walls also hosted dartboards, and served as bouncing boards for tennis balls and table tennis balls.

From posters to sketches to games, the walls have borne them all. I use the wall to pin my to do lists and frame pretty pictures.

More than all these, the walls have bounced and echoed the sounds of giggles and laughter, served as shields to children playing hide and seek, absorbed memories of our lives, giving us that much needed security and time-away from the pressures of everyday life.

In a few years, when my children leave home for University, these walls will stand quiet, till the children come back for their term breaks. Then, once again happy sounds will bounce of these walls.

And then again, there will come a time, when I will use these same walls for support when I amble slowly across the house, lovingly tracing my hand on these walls and remembering a time when tiny hands doodled and expressed their creativity.

If I had the time….

This evening, as I stood on my balcony gazing up at the sky, I admired the fluffy clouds moving gently across the sky.

I smiled, as I remembered a game that we played as kids, when we would lie on our backs on the lawn, with the most beautiful blue sky spread above us, with cotton-puff clouds scattered in various patterns.

We called it the Creator’s garden. Based on the shape of the clouds on a particular day, we would make predictions about what the Creator had planted. From cauliflowers to pumpkins to beans and carrots, we played this silly game over and over again.

Lazy holidays under the sun, watching flocks of birds fly overhead and colourful butterflies flitting about.

I asked myself why, as adults we don’t have the time for such simple pursuits that give so much joy.

I then asked myself this question and tried answering it – “If I had the time, would I spend time on such simple and fun activities?”

Yes….! If I had the time I would….

– chase raindrops on the window pane with my fingers

– cut okra slices, dip them in paint and make flower patterns on the wall

– blow soap bubbles on a bright, sunny day and chase the bubbles as they glisten and fly away

– eat a huge cotton candy

Courtesy – istock
– try hanging upside down on the sofa as we used to do as kids 

– play and fight with my siblings over board games

– watch the night sky and stars, sitting in our backyard

– laugh at old family jokes that are repeated ad nauseum

– splash water by jumping into one puddle after another on a rainy day

– laugh at silly things

– eat sugarcanes and mangoes, with friends and siblings on a hot summer’s day.

Sigh! If only I had the time….

What simple things from your childhood would you do, if you had the time?

Would love to know…