Wings and Chirps

Wanderings of an Itchy Feet

Wings and Chirps

Tag: nostalgia

A Whiff of Nostalgia

This morning I woke up to this beautiful blue sky decorated with cute patches of crispy white cotton wool. It felt like a drop of dew after months of drought. You ought to experience the worst to be able to appreciate the good. After experiencing infinite number of days of multiple layers of soot and unimaginable levels of air pollution, today looks good. A delightful, cheery and shiny morning with occasional eclipses as the bright orange ball of fire hides behind the visibly bigger cotton patches.

I woke up as usual and sipped my glass of hot water that the loving husband lovingly brought me. He then barged into the washroom for a quick bath before leaving for work. I thanked the inventor of mixer grinder as I ground the leftover saag from last night and kneaded it with the flour for the paranthas. Boiled a few potatoes and made the masaledaar stuffing too. The man who is a foodie and enjoys every bite was delighted. First star of the day, I dreamt.

Task number 2. Switched on all the lights and tried to wake up the girls singing ‘Darling aankhon se aankhein chaar karne do’ in my melodious voice as they curled once again into the cozy razaiis. Stop it, Mamma. 5 minutes more!” Couldn’t blame them but the strict mommy sprung into action and tickled them out of the bed and pushed them into their respective bathrooms. Fed them and packed them off to school with a “I’ll miss you.”

Dropped in at Mom’s place for exactly 7 minutes and rushed back home at the speed of light to escape the house-help’s wrath for making her wait for precisely 3 minutes.

Once she is home, I am like that witch on the broom who runs from here to there at super speed clearing up the mess that we jointly created throughout the previous day and the Mahabharata Yudhha that had taken place just that morning . I hate winters for the extra workload of folding the jumbo razaiis, the jackets, the sweaters, the blazers that have to be hung all around the house. Plus the number of times one has to turn the washed laundry to get it all dried.

I was folding the washed laundry when I rushed to the househelp who was cleaning the utensils. A whiff of air brought in an old yet unforgotten scent from yesteryear. That’s when the mind started playing this ad.

I was confused as to why me of all the people on earth. And why 555? This was one of the few things I disliked from what our generation had to bear with. Such sick colour, texture and odour.

Kiran, yeh 555 jaisi smell kahaan se aa rahi hai?” 

“Pata nahi Didi. Mujhe bhi lag raha hai.”

Actually this has been going on since past 3-4 days and today I studied the pattern. It was only happening every time Kiran was washing utensils. I made a few calculations in my mind and drew up a picture.

“Pakka! Bartan ki tray ke pass aaloo sadd raha hoga.”

“Par Didi aap to har do din mein tray saaf karati ho.”

“Kahin dish washing gel ki smell toh nahi?”

“Naa…pata nahi kya hai. Ho sakta hai bagal waale ghar se ho.”

This is when the detective in me caught the fumes coming out of the geyser plug point. It was melting. A bright and sunny morning with 200 ka fatka early in the morning. Glad that nothing major happened. Just thought of sharing so you check your plug points well in time.

While you’re off to check your connections. I’ll savour this parantha. Now you know the reason for my health…right??? 😀

Nest – A Place You Call Home

Do deewane shahar mein
Do deewane shahar mein
Raat mein ya dopahar mein
Aab-o-daana-dhoondhte hain
Ek aashiyana dhoondhte hain
Do deewane…

As Bhupinder and Runa Laila sang this song on the radio for the nth time this morning my heartbeats multiplied to the tune of n. It’s been playing in my heart and mind ever since I was a child and witnessed my parents hunting for the many houses that we called home for the little time we stayed in them. The lyrics paint that picture perfect house in my mind.

On our way to the school every morning and back in the evening, our school bus had to cross river Yamuna. She used to be a different person in those days. She was full of energy and brimming with water. The water with black silt underneath used to flow along graciously like Rapunzel’s long locks.

Death is inevitable and my young mind knew it very well. Funeral pyres that littered the banks of Yamuna, the twin sister of Yama (the Lord of Death), and the acrid curls of smoke that rose from melting flesh and charring bones was a regular sight. Another sight was that of people who would throng the place to throw the ashes back into the water. The half burnt corpses lay on the banks and sometimes floated on the river. A feast for crows and the then abundant species of vultures that inhabited the banks. So much for a favourable rebirth.

I do remember the army of worshippers that stood up to their waist in the river on chilly winter mornings, chanting their sacred verses and then immersing themselves in the holy yet utterly filthy water. It used to be crowded during the Shiv Kanvarias season and Chhat Puja. Women in bright coloured sarees with even brighter coloured sindoor. It ranged from maroon, red, orange and even fluorescent green. I guess these bright colours were not just worn to celebrate the festival but to hide the dull, sleepy and hungry faces. All of them with the cane baskets full of fruits and other goodies. I would have loved to see their counter parts joining them and standing hand in hand, making this the most beautiful depiction of love, care and equality.

It was also the dwelling of elephant mahouts whose elephants were hired for the annual festival at the Uttara Guruvayoorappan Temple. The barely dressed children from the JJ Basti, the cluster of slum dwellers, would jump into the water as we cheered for them from the moving bus. A reciprocal waving of hands and a few words that never reached us were enough to keep us motivated to cheer more.

This was the story around one bank of the river.

My story, the one I kept painting and improving in my mind, was more about the other bank.

Acres of lush green farms on the government land on the river bed with a few thatched roof huts and some mango and banyan trees. This was a feast for my hungry eyes. There was this one hut closer to the river. It had a huge mango tree outside. There was a swing hung on it. A tyre swing on which kids could be seen swinging. One or two cows, a few goats and a brood of hens. A little away was this lady. The mother of the house. Sometimes she could be seen making ‘uplas’ or dung cakes. At other times she could be seen spreading the washed laundry. Some other times she would be making chappatis on her ‘chulha’, the traditional mud stove. Her man could be seen toiling in their nearby land.

To me, they were a perfect family. And that leaking hut was a perfect home. Imperfectly perfect! I wasn’t bothered about the security issues or the minimal space or the restricted living. The man. He made that picture complete. He was easily approachable. At times he could be seen running after the kids with a stick in his hand. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that he was there. Right there. He completed the picture. The missing link in my own family picture. And at that time I used to imagine all those letters from Riyadh being thrown high up into the sky. As they fell back slowly on to the ground they transformed into a figure. That missing figure. The one that would complete my family portrait. My Dad.

I had imagined all of us running hand in hand around the hut singing this beautiful melody from one of my most favourite movies, Saath Saath.

Ye Tera Ghar Ye Mera Ghar
Kisi Ko Dekhna Ho Gar
To Pehle Aake Maang Le
Meri Nazar Teri Nazar
Ye Tera Ghar Ye Mera Ghar
Ye Ghar Bahut Haseen Hai …

Home. Nest. Veedu. Ghar. Aashiyaana. Aabodaana. Ghonsla. Abode.

Words that I love. Words that I live by. Words that make me feel alive. Words that rejuvenate me. Words that resonate within me. Home is where the heart is. Home is the people in it. Home is the memories it creates. Home is nostalgia. Home is the pictures that one’s mind captures with bare eyes.  Home is the bonding that it represents. Home is the stories are written together. Home is where you are yourself. No boundaries. No restrictions. No inhibitions. We may grow in age, we may move places and we may forget about it totally. But deep inside, the memories, those pictures are deeply engraved within each of us. The ones of the picture perfect home that you long for even after ages.

What are your fondest memories of the place you still call ‘home’?

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