Friday, May 30, 2008

Old habits die hard, old memories die slowly

The frangrance of eau-de-cologne always takes me down the nostalgic lane.

While i was still curled up in bed, Ajee would wake early at the break of dawn. The only birds you can hear in Mumbai at that hour are the crows. A steaming cup of tea would await her at the dining table. Ajoba and she would sip in silence. For whenever i saw this composition, i remember it to be very brief. Ajee would never linger over her first cup of tea, even as of today.

Picking up her thin white towel, blouse and petticoat she would begin her day with her bath. Luke warm water - only a bucketfull was sufficient. Another bucketfull of soapy water, she used to wash her saree.

By the time I awoke to her morning call and the sunlight seeping through the transperant curtains, often made from her old sarees, the first fragrance that my nose would catch was that of her eau-de-cologne. Probably that was the first smell my nose, when it was more tender, learnt to identify. So fresh the whiff was eventhough she didn't use much.

Ajee never really appreciates 'other' perfumes. "Such strong fragrances, you people use. It is almost suffocating." - she always comments, every time i walk out fresh from my bath. The Eau-de-cologne, however, has never seemed to entice me. Probably because I was introdued to the variety of the fragrance industry, at the beginning of my teenage or maybe because even today the eau-de-cologne comes packed in an open headed bottle to be unscrewed and poured onto... 'a hankey' probably? I mean what were the manufaturers thinking, when other companies were instroducing spray bottles or roll-ons.


This is probably only one of the many memories that Ajee has etched for me. Her banana milkshake (where she squished the banana in a bowl with her hand , sprinkled sugar and poured milk over it) became a part of my breakfast in the later years when i went to college very early in the morning. Her morning walks, story telling sessions, singing poetry on cold evenings as we sat around the fire in Lonavela... these moments have all, in some way, become a part of my life. Their impact will probably reflect when I grow older and have more time for people around, than alone for myself.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

it's been some time, it seems like a short time

I was extremely excited to see little Gaurav.
The place seemed like home. Familiar faces (this time) and everyone remembered my name.
When you have a name difficult to spell, sometimes it also becomes difficult to remember. But i realised how nice it feels when people remember your name. Especially people you have met not more than once. Probably I smiled onl once at many of those faces that called out to me while passing through the field. It was almost like i had ben a part of their extended family - the village.
Well the hills were cloudy and mornings were misty. I ate a lot of kafal: they are red berries that grow in abundance, once in two years. This was a lucky year! Every home i visited offered me kafal, not handfulls but bowl fulls. I often thought i was taking away all that they had, but when i stepped into their storage, i realised they had basketfulls - some to give, some to store and some to eat now. Eating these berries is a good pass time. They are sour and have a sweetish tinge to them. A tingling is left on your tongue for some time after you have eaten the first one and before you pop the next one into your mouth.
At Rashmi's place, i ate khurmani - apricots.
The trip was very satisfying. the girls were happy with their anklets.
The little kids were overjoyed about their new clothes.
Deepa and Kedar were most pleased with endless photos i took of little Gaurav.
I wish I could have stayed a little longer.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

im heading out!!!

i am a happy child.
the heat is getting to me now. by the time i dress well in pretty clothes, im soaked in buckets of sweat. plus then those train rides , everybody is always travelling in this city.
anyways the much awaited break is now here. i am heading to the hills again. to Avani! i am quite excited.
there will be a little new voice to welcome me. i have so many things for him - socks, diapers, jumpers, rattles! Oh... this is surely going to be fun.
i don't know a part of my journey, though. the trip from delhi to haldwani. im wondering if i will get a train ticket. or else a bus journey is my only option. it will be hot and sticky (not sweaty, though). i will be dropped at haldwani at 3 am. the shops will be shut. not even a place for a glass of lassi! Hmm, the wait will be till 7 am. i am not exactly looking forward to that.
but well, i know im so committed to this trip, that all will be well... or i will make it well!