Friday, 15 July 2011

Chandigarh in the Summer Hols..



Those were the best days of our lives...


Here, I recollect and recount some lasting memories of my life, and in so doing, I've borrowed a line from my favourite, Bryan Adams!!
Dad's mail about the best decades in the last century triggered my memory, so here it is:
It was a good time! A time of discovery.. long summer afternoons spent exploring the Assam gullies, full of tea-coloured water that runs off from the rain-swollen terrain... building mud-dams, looking at water snakes and leeches, snails and earthworms!!
No hair dryers no straightening tongs for the teen years, just windblown hair and a red bar of  Shikakai soap and Dabur hair oil!!
 The days when stylish meant a home-cut fringe, or maybe long tresses untied!!
 When fun multiplied exponentially in the summer holidays cos all of our cousins came over, if we couldn't manage a trip to Ahmedabad! 
 When my lovely aunt and sweet, exuberant (not to mention incredibly stylish!) cousins gave me a makeover!! When we would all sleep on cool gaadla's on the living room floor in the hot summer nights, talking & giggling into the darkness!!
Having fun riding a bike, sharing toys n games- UNO n LUDO, playing THOOSO with Ba n sometimes faiba! Eagerly listening to Dad n Faiba all laugh together, as they recollected their childhood days!!
No mobile phones, no e-mail yet we still have those enduring friendships to this day... long talks in the park or when walking home from school... when friends were for life n you met them everyday...
When love meant gazing into the eyes of a special someone n feelin' those butterflies!!
 When love was innocent adoration and dreamy and sweet..Sighing over those teenage crushes and waiting for at least a fortnight to get a reply in the post!! Days of asking mum n dad, "may i go to so n so's??" No falling out, no stroppy outbursts, no T.V (atleast for us in our family of six!!!)...
A time when picnics meant cooking and packing all the food- theplas or puri-shak, pulao and alu-mattar, carrying a cool-keg of icy water with a little aluminium cup rattling inside because styrofoam and plastic cups were non-existent..,, there were no bottles of water on sale, and consequently, no plastic to recycle!! When games like frisbee n cricket were played on emrald green lawns, when mum and dad would hum softly to each other, which was far more beautiful than Lata Mangeshkar's crooning on a portable radio, which we never really needed! When mum's smile and Dad's twinkling eyes felt like a warm, loving blanket that kept us safe and happy! I've never seen them arguing with each other in my entire life, and that's one thing I've always aspired to having in my relationship too. Its a shame I still haven't quite got that, yet...maybe, if I were more like my Mum; calm, loving, understanding and not quite so ready to take offence at things my husband Raj says when I'm sure he means well...
 A time when a car was a cherished member of the family and like all our vehicles it was adorned with a garland...Taditionally, mummy would do the aarti for them all- from my bicycle to the car on dussehra...
Getting our first car was a memorable event, which began with Ranjit Kaka driving from Delhi to Bangalore!!!! We would fall asleep in didi's lap on long trips n it would just as easily ferry eleven people as it did six!!! All it asked was to check the distilled water n radiator water level, and the occassional push-to-start!!!! I remember a time, enroute from Puttaparthi, when its hose-pipe blew and we saw steam billowing from underthe hood...
No baby-sitters or creches- just Ba, our grandmother and us on our parents' IAF evening parties when we would be at home alone with Ba.
When Ba told us stories to cajole us to sleep, and occassionally gave us a thrill of excitement with LPs playing in the night and impromptu dancing on carpets!
 When ABBA and Ghulam Ali, Talat Mehmood and Umrao Jaan serenaded their loves from the 33.5 RPMs vinyls at home.
 When DIY meant Dad Involved, You may watch n learn!! He'd fix everything from a SONY player to the kitchen mixer.
When he took Ma shopping on the trusty BAJAJ, and they came home loaded with groceries n vegetables, fruits and sugarcane... no pre-packaged supermarket fare, or BOGOF offers.. cakes were baked, not bought and cards were made and painted by hand.
Above all, a time when our parents, silently and dedicatedly, put their one hundred percent into bringing us up right, and gave us values to last us a lifetime! Here's to them, the real HEROES of my life, my parents.
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