We all have certain fond memories attached to our childhood days. Whether it’s something that used to fascinate us as a child or something that scared us to hell or even simple day to day chores, whenever we look back, it definitely brings a smile to our faces. Here I’m sharing some of the fondest yet simplest memories I have as a child.
Ours was a middle class, joint family and I have grown up seeing my mum & grand mum cooking and cleaning. On a regular Sunday morning (back in the nineties), my mum would grind spices on a shil noda (the Bengali name for traditional indian stone grinder) for the afternoon meal, my grandma would cook fish in a tangy & spicy mustard paste, she used to call the dish maachher tauk ( tangy fish). Yes, we Bengalis eat fish every day. My father would try and tune in the old transistor (we did have TV but listening to the transistor on Sundays was like a ritual) to the appropriate station for those soft & melodious pieces of Rabindra Sangeet. Once done, he would fix a small mirror at the corner of the porch and would concentrate on cutting down (with a pair of an old big iron scissors) the first signs of his grey hair :D. At times, my mum would intrude him and suggest that he should start colouring his grey strands, which my father would royally ignore :D. My grand father was a religious man. By now, he would have bathed & draped his fresh white dhoti (of course in Bengali style) and would be chanting mantras (almost in the fashion of a professional pandit) in front of the deities carefully hung or placed one adjacent to the other in our little puja room. He was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali. My sister was a studious kid. She would be immersed in her school books mugging up history lessons taught in class the day before or would be cracking math problems with utmost sincerity. Unlike me, my sister was quite a scholar. Be it maths, history or chemistry (the subjects I hated to the core), she would always top class. I, on the other hand, would be loitering between the porch and the patio (uthon), sniffing the fragrance of freshly washed linens hung loosely onto nylon ropes tied at the corners of the patio or stroll into the kitchen lusting for the ambrosial meal being cooked. Seeing the aimless child in me, my mum would keep reminding me of the approaching exams and how important it was to burn the midnight oil and score well in class to be successful in life. And yes, she was quite an influencer since she was able to instill the fear of exams in me (after which I read my books for an hour or so), but alas, only temporarily! My wandering mind would again drag me back to the patio, the kitchen and beyond!!
Wow! Nostalgic were those days! So simple, yet so beautiful. I wish I could embrace my childhood days once again and live every moment in it. All I can say is I miss being a little kid.
“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of a child”—Pablo Neruda