Category Archives: Nostalgia

Can’t let it go…


“Change can be good but it’s always tough to let go of the past”
― Emily GiffinLove the One You’re With

“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!”
― Steve MaraboliUnapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

P1210084 - CopyTime to thank the year for all its tests and lessons (not lessons and tests)!

Invisible roots


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I had no idea
That I had grown
So many
Roots invisible
That supported
Sustained,
Tethered too -
Never letting go,
Smothering, pulling,
Whining, threatening,
Emotionally blackmailing!

Fed up,
I broke off,
Dreaming of new pastures
Unknown nourishment,
And experiences.

Now they haunt me -
The unseen ghosts
Of my Invisible Roots.
They blame me
Entice me
They whisper out loud
‘Come back!’

Some day I must,
And try to reconnect
The severed roots
One by one,

Patiently!

Happy Hormones


 

I feel happy!
(Just feel?)

Happy Hormones
Activated, I sense.

I want them to stay
Prospects are bright.

Cheerful,
Chattering,
Complying,
Consenting,
Condoning,
Cooking ‘successfully’ (!),
Lavishing stars and marks…

Don’t you think
It’s worth it?

But the minute
My HH’s get deactivated,
Keep
*
*
*
*
*

distance.

[Written in June when I was in a real happy mood.]

Who knows what made this unknown person so cheerful that day!

‘Self propelled flowers’


“Is it possible to become friends with a butterfly?”

“It is if you first become a part of nature. You suppress your presence as a human being, stay very still, and convince yourself that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the butterfly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally.”
Haruki Murakami

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“Butterflies are self propelled flowers. ”
― R.H. Heinlein

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“A fallen blossom
returning to the bough, I thought –
But no, a butterfly.”
― Arakida Moritake

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“You can only chase a butterfly for so long.”
― Jane Yolen

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“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

How heartless of him! :D

The Silent Bell


“The bell is not ringing!” This was a frequent complaint during the last two days from the annoyed teachers.

To understand the extent of the problem you need to be a teacher. In a school the absence of bell means a standstill. This is how one teacher reported, “I came prepared for the 40 min class, but even after completing it, together with some activities I concocted just now, it’s not getting over. 40 minutes,  this long? What’s going on?” I looked at the clock and sensed trouble. The bell!

The fed up teachers longed to flee the thoroughly enlightened class; the bored students awaited the next teacher for a different kind of replenishment.

Who was responsible? Who had been ringing the bell all these days? Kaka, a hapless victim of the new laws, used to do it. The bell had been punctual all these years and we never noticed the presence, the effort of a human being behind it. We took his service for granted. Now the person has left, leaving the bell dumb and the whole schedule upset.

*       *      *

The attendant is reminded once again, the bell goes and the each one heaves a sigh of relief.

The situation rings a bell and I recall O. Henry’s The Pendulum:

 Nobody heard the click and rattle of the cog-wheels as the third-floor front of the Frogmore flats buzzed its machinery back into the Order of Things. A band slipped, a spring was touched, the gear was adjusted and the wheels revolve in their old orbit.

I reflect: We miss you Kaka. Grateful to you. May God keep you safe, wherever you are!

[Thank you, Julia, for the inspiration!]

Happy Birthday, Papa!


“Bindu!!!!” Papa’s calling! What went wrong this time? I shuddered each time the furious call rang through the length of our house (such an elongate house indeed). I was not a very naughty child but still there would always be something to rile the precisionist. I had never had the nerve to face up his wrath. (I’ll meet the raging of the skies, But not an angry father.”—Lord Ullin’s Daughter)

That was long, long ago. ‘Time eases all things’. Now he is no longer the Papa I was used to.

Papa and me

Papa and me

Tomorrow he turns 78. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the whole family came together to celebrate his 50th birthday?

Apart from the scary image of an austere father, he possesses a lot of rare qualities I admire – systematic, organised, punctual, and perfect!

At the remotest corners of my memory are two scenes – the way he sharpened our pencils with his special little chisel and covered our books during our school days. It was such a pleasure to watch him meticulously perform those tasks. Now when I sit with the books of my kids or when I seek a knife to sharpen their pencils I find myself mimicking my father.

I used to boast to my friends about my father’s artistic skills. Carpentry being his hobby much of the furniture in the house was his creation. The duties of an accountant never prevented him from pursuing his passion. His workshop housed a perfect collection of tools, machinery and knickknacks, enough to make any professional carpenter green with envy.

The workshop was (it is still there intact) such an amusing place walled with shelves of compact racks. The place contained a world. You name it, you find it. The restricted place which suggested TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED held enough magic for the curiosity cat in me. The minute the ‘Giant’ stepped out of the house the workshop would be all mine, to explore. In spite of the intricacy of the place it was never difficult to locate an item because they were all neatly labelled and arranged. I was pretty well acquainted with the place. But he was shrewd enough to smell the intrusion had a single item been misplaced. Needless to say I was very cautious and mindful whenever I encroached.

He has been a hoarder too. Coming from a house without a sq. cm. of free space I have made up my mind not to be a pack rat. I do collect, but I can get enough nerve up to throw them out too (instead of letting them gather dust), when they start cramming my tiny home. Space is freedom, comfort, relief – I now realize.

He taught himself a lot of skills. That inspired me to pick up a few skills myself. I always tried to learn something he was not so good at – say, drawing, stitching, versification etc. leaving no scope for the critic in him. Rarely did he commend our skills. That’s why when he chose me to press his clothes (after he stopped giving them at the dry cleaner’s) I considered it a token of appreciation from him. Each time it was a test and the smile on his face was my trophy. (On a lighter note: After I left for my higher studies I once asked him who did the job for him. He retorted, ‘As the pennu (maid) who used to do it has left, I have to do it myself these days.’)

Above all he is a wonderful narrator. Even a trivial incident would be woven into a fabulous story with a dramatic introduction, suspense and climax. He knows how to hold his listeners with the spell of story-telling.

Thank you Papa, for what you have taught me to be and not to be.I feel proud when Mummy says ‘she takes after Papa’. I am imperfect in my own ways. And as I grow older I realize we are more or less the replicas of our parents. Let it be so. It’s all in our genes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wish you peace, health and strength!

My village


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rubber close

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Jack fruit 1

banana

Jathi

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Pulhi

wildflower

Bamboo

And when they met again…


For years
They were one friendly flock
‘Of a feather’.

Then it was time to part -
Autographs, promises, tears,
Farewell, well fared.
And they flew away
In fifty diverse routes.

Years thence
They met again, virtually.
Longed to make it real.
Yearned to relive those days.
Planning, preparations…

Then the great day came,
Birds flocked again.

How tired and old each had grown!
Feeble smiles and hollow words
Couldn’t gloss over the chasms.

What went wrong?

They had outgrown their nest,
Moreover, they were no longer
Birds of a feather.

Time and experiences
Had painted them all different -
The dull ones with bright shades
And the bright ones with not-so-bright.
Each flaunted its hard-earned hues.
No wonder it turned irksome.

Disappointed, dispersed again,
This time, for good.

Editing Nostalgia


How do you make use of your past, I mean, your distant past whose wounds are long cauterised?

We merrily let ourselves stray to the (so-claimed) picture-perfect days of our distant past, only to dwell upon the deterioration of modern times. How many of you could solemnly assert that, in every sense your past outshines your present?

Some recent insights have gainsaid a few of my long-cherished convictions, the most striking one being those about my school life.

It’s true that my school used to obsess my thoughts as a green pasture. But ask me what I enjoyed there, and you find me groping for words. All I could dig up is hardly a handful of such jolly instances juxtaposed with a longer list of scathing or scary ones!

No resentment. No plans to pay back. Because if things went wrong for me they were merely the reflections of my attitude – years later I am mature enough to say so. Now looking at the educational system from a teacher’s standpoint, it is quite lucid why the abilities of timid students are rarely ferreted out and thereby go unsung, especially when they have no feathers of academic excellence to sport on their mortar boards. I was one of those few diffident lads later doomed to repeatedly chant “If I had been more …

Then why all the hoodwinking, while reality has always been plain as day?

This is how my conscience puts it across. “You feared getting stamped and sidelined as the black sheep when it is customary to exalt school life. The easy way out was to feign a happy teenager and keep on crooning: Oh, how I wish to be a school girl once again!”

  • Nostalgia is an emotional state in which an individual yearns for an idealized or sanitized version of an earlier time period.

That well expounds it. We idealize or sanitize our past. Communication experts term it Selective Retention. We retain only what makes us happy while we connive at the bitter ones. When the present turns grim, our conscience turns to the past for solace.

But what if both past and present are equally despicable? Patch up the past, and tag it ‘nostalgia’. If you can make yourself fanatically believe in your renovated past, you are nostalgically happy. Cool!

  • Nostalgia is excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.

Nostalgia is the haven of the ‘excessively sentimental.’ Note that it is far from reality as it is just a yearning for something lost forever.

Even history has  repeatedly been subject to this sanitising process. So I can excuse myself, a ‘nobody’, for that fib about my school life.

What about the other places/persons in my nostalgia-list? Scrap them too?

Thank God I was not so ill-starred to go to that extent. I would rather accept my past with all its lapses, than laud them to utopian levels. We and our lives have never been perfect, so why should we strive to sanitize our past or feed ourselves on lies when that won’t, in the least, improve our present?

A wounded soul returning for revenge – that’s just fiction, I believe. The past won’t/can’t hurt forever.

Learn that nostalgia is a “sign of old age, extolling the past at the expense of the present” (Sydney Smith).

I am not old, and I have proved it. What about you?

Onam


(Yesterday, 9 September, Keralites celebrated Onam, the national festival of Kerala.)

It’s all about happiness. While many of the festivals segregate people on the basis of religion, Onam has no such bars, I believe. Onam was once celebrated in a
humble but jovial way by every Malayalee family. It used to be a perfect combination of the ingredients required to make an average human (of those days) happy – perfect weather, food (the extravaganza of vegetarian food), games, and other activities like singing and dancing…!

Times have changed. We prefer staying indoors hesitating to make Onam a reality.  Nowadays the ingredients mentioned above (except the first one) are accessible to us any time of the year. Onam has nothing special to offer; we find nothing thrilling in it. We are content with the virtual Onam, listening to what the celebrities say about Onam.

Thousands of miles away from the homeland we (affected by spells of nostalgia) managed to prepare a few Onam special dishes at home. Paradoxically, our relatives back there in the land of King Mahabali purchased the readymade Ona-sadhyas (meals). May be the captivating TV programmes do not let them waste their precious holiday in the kitchen. Times have changed (repeated, with a sigh)!

This Onam has touched me deeply. Early morning I got a call from my Uncle greeting us. It truly imbued me with bliss. I decided to pass on the surprise and bliss to some others other than my close relatives. The same pulses of joy were felt when I spoke to my old friend and my cousin (who I met recently after more than twenty years). They too might have spread this spirit of Onam to somebody unknown to me, I wish.

Simple gestures of affection are enough to brighten up and enliven even an ordinary day. Life is all about these little surprises and smiles – only that we store them for special occasions. Today somebody cared and bothered to express it. The latter deed made the difference. I feel buoyant and satisfied today. Let the feeling last forever – for me, for you and for them. Happy Onam – translated as pinnacle of happiness!