Earlier this morning, the deep brown crust of the vegetable sandwich, i had prepared for my husband strangely carried me back in time all the way to my childhood days . My mom would pack a surprise lunch in my school lunch box, each day – puris , paranthas, sandwiches of different varieties, delicious upmas,pohas etc. I loved the vegetable sandwich that she would prepare for me with a deep brown crust,much like the ones that i had prepared for my husband. I distinctly remember the smell,the taste of the beautiful brown sandwich and other yummy treats gifted through my lunch box by my mom. How much more enjoyable my lunch breaks were because of my mom’s untiring efforts each day! She did not wait for a “thank you “ at the end of the day to make yet another delicious treat for my lunch, the following day. Happy memories associated with the vegetable sandwich revived a host of other memories about childhood , school, my mom’s unconditional love.
The afternoon pitter patter rain transported me in time to those rain-drenched days. No greater fun and freedom than dancing in the purifying rain. It amazes me that when we were younger, we did not care much about umbrellas. Rather, we happily opted to bathe in the rain, despite the umbrellas. I realise, my mom wasn’t half as paranoid as i am about my child. She would let go, at times, and let me be one with nature. And , they are among my most cherished memories. The pools of water bring floods of memories of those “kagaz ki kashtis”. My grandparents would be the enthusiastic referees in the paper boat race between their dear grandchildren. The stacks of “useless” newspapers in the store room would become our prized possessions on rainy days, helping us manufacture boats and helping the winner taste sweet victory. Its all so vivid in my memory- how our hearts would sink with the sinking boats. Simple joys, treasures forever. And whoever can forget the hot pakoras and delicious savouries on the “the rainy day menu”!
The other day, i visited the post office for some urgent work. A terribly rare visit in this era of internet communication. My mind travelled back to the times when i would eagerly check the mailbox each day for a letter from my friends, my teacher or my grandfather. My grandfather used to write to me in those yellow little post cards with a return post card stapled to the letter . One, each week. A happy reminder of how much he cared. Its relevant to mention here that i used to stay in a hostel at that time. Suddenly, the weekly letter stopped . There were no mobile phones in those days. One had to visit the PCO( public call office) to make an STD call. After two weeks of wait, i called up my uncle to ask about him.I learnt, he was sick.”One more week and my exams would be over and i would get to go home and see him – my dear grandfather”, I thought to myself. That same evening , my sister told me that my grandpa was no more . It was a catastrophic loss but his beautiful handwriting , happy letters and many happy memories associated with him remain etched in my mind – for ever. Whenever i open my case of old handwritten letters, i see him smile through those yellow post cards.
As a mother , i am re-living childhood with my child through Disney Jr and Nick Jr, Dr.Seuss and Sandra Boynton, re-reading of fairy tales , hide n seek, play doughs, crayons on paper, legos , rhymes and more. However, i miss tales of Mahabharata and Ramayana narrated by my dear grandmother in those lazy sleepless afternoons , the games of hopscotch , kabaddi, pitto with my beloved friends, counting stars under the clear blue skies, the countdown to the only “cartoon” day – Sunday, my school uniform, the friendship bands on friendship’s day , the morning assembly in school, the hymns, the teachers, the pampering , the good old carefree days. Even though the days are no more, the happy memories live on – to heal, comfort and add good cheer.
published here earlier