Old Leaf in Yellowed Leaves of Kalyan
Come July and I start missing out so many things. I suddenly become restless and want to have all those things back in my life that I have lost in the race against time.
These days our block wears a deserted look as almost all the occupants have gone along with the family to their ancestral homes, a yearly pilgrimage for many of them. Not long ago I, too, would be waiting for the vacations of my kids to start so that we could go to my mothers’ place. We went quite frequently to their Dadi’s place because of close proximity but to go to Nani’s place would take just once or twice in the year, hence the wait.
The kids would be excited as now they will have unbridled freedom to explore what they could not do back home. They would go to the nearby Khadd to have a bath and I would be so worried till they returned as during rainy season, flash floods in the reasonably placid waters of these khadds was a routine affair. It would be pure adventure for them but they still rue the fact that because of so many restrictions imposed upon them, they could not learn swimming! I would tell them not to venture into deeper waters and allow them to bathe in shallow waters only. They still blame me for not giving them enough freedom as they would not avail of a chance even behind my back if they were denied the permission to do so.
During the long days, they would go through the stacks of old comics and story books which at one time were the prized and most possession of my little brothers! And the day my brother allowed them to take the treasure to Hamirpur, how happy my kids were as if they were given the most precious thing in the world. Now they started pestering me to return back home as they were afraid that my brother may not have a change of heart! These comics are still lying in one of the cupboard and even I read them at times.
I would be the one who would be given a royal; treatment. My ma would make all the delicacies that I loved to eat. She would grind the urd daal on the stone slab and would stuff the same in bhaturas and then would deep fry them. The aroma of the ingredients would fill my nostrils and soul with a memory to last for a year! She would force me to eat while she served them hot and fresh. The look of satisfaction in her eye would speak of her love for me. Since it used to be rainy season, she would make Pateed for us that would be sumptuous!
Mouth Watering Seasonal Pateeds
Having eaten to my fill, I would laze around and browse over old issues of once famous magazines and journals that still were around. Opening the almirah that had stacks of old issues of “Kalyans” was another pastime. I would read portions out of many of the famous issues or sometimes would just scan through the pages. Many a times I would come across old letters or some pages cribbled in my childhood handwriting; that would open the charm of an old bygone era. How I longed to be a small girl at that time. Some old school reports, some pressed flowers and leaves that I would keep in the old volumes of “Kalyans’” yearly issues, would peep their head from the yellowed pages of the books.
Sometimes I would ask my Ma to open her trunk that was like an old treasure for us—old clothes—each with a distinct memory. The satin blouses and petticoats of the years gone by and a pair of flower vases and the list would go on and on.
Another object of much interest would be old photographs that were kept in the trunk, my fathers’ prized photographs. One that I vividly remember had the Lakshmi Bai regiment of INA!
My fathers’ stamp collection was another invaluable thing that we poured into. He was an avid collector of First Day Covers and would buy them come what may. All those lie in one tin trunk in some neglected corner of my mother’s home. So many times I thought of putting them in an album but other things predominated and they would always be relegated to some other time. And that time has not yet come!!!!
I can go on and on writing about what I miss during the month of July as these days I don’t go to my Ma’s place in the vacation period as I wait for my kids to come to me during the month of July!
And when they come, they all indulge in all these activities that once I would do. Life seems to have come a full circle only the roles have changed!