Tag Archives: Memories

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


P1210122 - Copy

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 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!

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.

Shore of peace and tranquility


This time I will go for a cool post.

Which is the most pleasant, cool colour? Of course, green. Have a look at these shots (stock from the last vacation – I have enough to last me for two years ;) ) and just start adoring green. The place is Alappuzha, Kerala.These pictures and the memories associated with those moments will revitalize me in the fatiguing summer. Hope you will enjoy them too. 1

4

5

6

7

2

3

8

9

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?

Paradise Lost


Balancing themselves on the ridge through the green carpet of the paddy fields, are two Red Riding Hoods, heading excitedly to their grandmother who lives in the little cottage completely cut off from the busy world. ‘Amminna’ is waiting to open to the little girls, the door of affection, freedom and exploration.

They would be there on a week’s parole to celebrate the most cheerful days of the year. That was some twenty five years ago! The youngest one – ten or eleven years old at that time – was me.

Amminnadukkal (amminna’s house) was a fairy land, a resort, a museum set amidst an orchard for us to marvel. A great mango tree (Why great? Wait!),  two chaampa trees as the sentries, jackfruit tree, kadaplavu, irumpapuli tree, guava, mulberry, papaya, puli, ampazham, not to mention the other galore of trees like the cotton, clove, cinnamon, jaathi, and the coconut trees strewn all over – that was the plot. Beneath each tree I used to linger a long time feeling its pulse and studying how it changed after my last visit.

Many of the trees are still ‘green’ in my memory.

My youngest uncle told me once that the mulberry bush was the rendezvous of my mother and her friends – gossiping, safely away from the evesdropping brothers.

The ampazham near the cow shed bore green olive-like sour fruits – the harvest was always bountiful, more than enough to fill the brine jars of Amminna.

During Onam the swing was made on the mango tree but once on the irumpapuli tree whose trunk was cloaked by the succulent, glassy green fruits. Those fruits were dried and pickled (I believe so).

Then the kadaplavu – the breadfruit tree – was the source of the special boiled dish with grated coconut. The most savoury papayas in the world, I would proudly say, were the ones which grew on my grandmother’s papaya tree. The jack fruit was preserved. I could still call to mind the colour and smell of the sweet, sticky delicacy with a dash of sugar over it.

It was our turn to sample the preserves, one by one.

The mango tree – really a ‘grandmother’ tree – was to the house, what a banyan tree is to a traditional Kerala temple. Even as children we could touch its low branches. The majestic tree bent lower when it abounded with the biggest and the sweetest mangoes I have ever laid my eyes on! Amminna used to support them with great love, the same way in which she tended to her calf-bearing cow. The axe laid on its trunk a few days after her death, ruthlessly cut off all the remaining tenderness associated with her. I couldn’t bear the sight of its stump! They could have spared just that one! Tears rolled down for the relishing treats it provided me once. The already dejected house now looked like a behaired Rapunzel.

Another scenic speciality – the only one intact even today – was the brook behind the house. It looked like a forest stream all overgrown with climbers and bushes. Had I been Tarzan I would have crossed the brook on those strong climbers. During the summers the brook almost dried up – the boys in the neighbourhood dug holes in the sand to eke out some water. But during the rains when the brook would be in its full swing, its rage did frighten me. We used to go and watch the boys catch fish at the check dam using traps and also the men collect the drifting trees uprooted from the highlands in the heavy downpour.

The narrow canal from the brook brought water in to the grove only when the brook was brimming. And when the grove was flooded, little fish swam everywhere in the shallow water over the grass. The house, still untouched by the waters was like Noah’s ark awaiting the waters to lash against it, any moment.

Today I jibe at my girl saying that while her grandparents’ house opens into the busy traffic of screeching vehicles, mine opened into the pristine world of Nature where we could breathe in the purest oxygen!

The nostalgic ONV song reverberates – ‘I long to be there once again….’