Days gone by.

I think so fondly of those days gone by. When the world was so small. When horizons were so close that you could touch them with your fingertips. When the sun was a squint and a hand stretch away and the moon was a friend of story times. When we slept on bamboo mats outside, watching the stars twinkle and those that didn’t had a sad story, that chitthi would start off as, ‘once upon a time’ and end with, ‘so we must always obey our parents’! And we would fall asleep, cousins after cousins, some still whispering a long heard ghost story, while the rest gently fell asleep, vowing to do their holiday homework as soon as mother asked them to.


The scorching summer heat meant holidays till the eyes could see, shorts and haircuts, cool buttermilk and lots of fun. Rolling discarded tires with the village boys or making our own personal palm cars out of eaten palm fruits. Watching with fascination as those urchins, dusty and darkened by the mud and the sun would catch fishes and dragonflies and show the city dwellers that they were no less! They would gawk with open awe and disbelief as we told them tales of the city and when we spoke in English. They would then test their language prowess with ‘maai, nam ees, Yem. Chinappa.

When for a brief period, mothers and fathers were but a blur, a memory. When brothers and sisters were all who would play hide & seek and lock & key and would climb the tall towers of the village church as quietly as possible. And we watched the world from there. Thaatha and ammatchi became little people. The surly cook with her bent back, blackened by exposure to the sun would look up and swear that tonight she would cook us for dinner as we hooted and called her, ‘sidumoonji’! Oh there, where the tall palm tree was, that’s where is Pondicherry and oh, look to the left, see where the birds are flying? That’s where Bangalore is! And no no, don’t look towards the right, it’s a Wednesday and the spirit of the Rock girl enters whoever stares at that huge boulder which ncidentally begins looking like a girl after constant persuasion and subtle emotional blackmail!

Sunburnt skin and sun kissed hair. We would all skip back home. To our refuge. Mothers, chittis, maamis, atthais and ammatchis sitting around the huge outdoor kitchen. Talking more than cooking while dads, maamas and chittapas seriously discussed boring things like DMK and AIADMK. We would return to the ladies where the conversation was ever more so interesting!

Soon one of the older cousins would call us and say, ‘who wants a story ?!’ and we would rush like little puppies and sit around her! Each one trying to grab her attention, trying to get as close as possible! And she would begin a story, over distant lands. Of fearless men and beautiful women. And our smiles would slowly disappear as the villain made an entry. Of huge mountains and deep valleys. Of curses and spells and goodness and evil. The rice and stew mixed and made into balls and pushed down our agape mouths was not even noticed. And good always triumphed over evil. As always.

And we would sleep. Amidst our gentle snores, the innocently swaying coconut tree became the evil monster. The shadows were ghosts creeping in through the gaps in the doors and the grills in the windows. And one child would begin to whimper and another would begin to wail. And soon there would be a cacophony of voices crying for its respective parent!

We all have come a long way. We’ve grown up. Some memories forgotten, some faded. Some still fresh. Like thaatha gathering me in his arms and kissing me, while I giggled and complained that his army moustache pricked me! Or like Ammatchi coming running from wherever she was, stop at a distance, shield her eyes from the sun and lovingly say, ‘Aasikaaaaa’???!! And smother me with her love! Or like Christy akka and I sharing our own little secrets as she tousled my hair till I slept.

We grow, yet we remain rooted to our early days. We travel far and wide, but remain at home, in our hearts. Promise ourselves that we will never forget what it is to be a child. Then the cares of the world take over. And we forget what we promised not to.

And one fine day, when the sky is overshadowed, pregnant with rain clouds, as we sit on our beds with a cup of tea, far away from home, from those whom we love, they come. The memories. Like a warm blanket on a cold night. To envelope us with a feeling of such goodness and joy. And we go back in time, to days gone by.

And we remember again, what it is to be a child.

Comments

Arun Ramkumar said…
gee ..ya write very well...! This one in particular made for a wonderful read...
!! Oxymoron !! said…
Danx ba!:D
u were taking me also to those days of memory with which I too got tied with my childhood memories..........well written Aashikaaa
lemon said…
beautiful post..! :)
u almost had me in tears...
All Blog Spots said…
your blog is really nice , it simply tells how beautiful your thoughts are ! Great wrok
Unknown said…
Wonderful imagery, oxymoron. There seems to be a poet hiding inside you.
About remembering what it is to be a child... well, I periodically get ticked off by Sheela for spilling coffee on my shirtfront (apparently coffee stains are not "in" in the best circles) and on such occasions, I can relate to that (being a child, I mean) wonderfully well.
!! Oxymoron !! said…
cerenity- thanks u!!
lemonade - awweee! thanks!
all blog spots - thank you :D (psst..I have dark ugly thoughts too..hehe)
narendra - poet?! me?! yippee!!stung by the..-mikka nandri snehithee!!
Divia said…
looks like ashi is home sick!
neyways 'woman of substance' this is how you will be called hence forth [:)]
!! Oxymoron !! said…
@ trinity

hehehe!! thanks, i like that!! :D
Aarthi said…
y dnt u write a novel or sumthng...
!! Oxymoron !! said…
@Aarthi
Haha, I'll surely give that a shot!

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