Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Down the memory lane

I had an amazing start to the New Year, unexpectedly so.
My sister and I went out for shopping and we were desperately seeking a Reebok Factory outlet. It was no where close to where we stayed, so I decided to go to Kamptee road to check out the showroom there.
Most of the interesting things happen while I ride my bike, it seems :)
Both of us got talking.
While we traversed from west Nagpur towards east Nagpur, we realized that we were going down the memory lane. Our School- the roads still cramped with dozens of rickshaw fellows, school children dressed in red cardigans, fitting inside one auto, the old lady who still stood there selling the famous "Khatte ber".
Further as we moved towards the other end of the city, we reached a crossroad which looked familiar. I could have easily made the way through it to the place where I spent some of the golden days of my childhood. It was my grandparent's house.

Right after retirement, my grandfather, settled in a rented house in Kadbi Chowk. Everything in and around the locality had changed. I was telling my sister about the roads which led to Daddu's home.
I thought of going and actually checking out the building, if at all it existed.
I took a left from the Chowk. Then took a first right, and went straight until the old banyan tree hung it's branches drawing shed to the tiny road which led to the old Parsi bungalow which stood mightily next to Daddu's house.
I finally reached there and saw some workers working in the compound. The house was converted into a godown. The owners who stayed there had a big house in front, and a small passage led to the small house where my grandparents lived 20 years back.
My sister was apprehensive. She started to warn me not to talk to the workers, but I had started a conversation with one of them, already.
"Andar jaau kya bhaiyya", I asked.
"Kyu madam, kya kaam hai?", he asked.
"Hum pehele yahaan rehte the. Andar wala ghar ek baar dekhna hai", I said, looking intently at the construction which stood in front of me bringing back all those wonderful memories.
"Jaaiye", he permitted, wondering I was some crazy female.
We walked carefully tossing the possible insects, dried leaves and reached the place where our grandparents stayed. It was broken. It was spider's haven.
My sister reacted just like Ron would have reacted after seeing one of those huge spiders.
The entrance still had the three racks intact, which held Daddu's tobacco and shaving box. He would sit there, chew tobacco and shave. I still wonder how he multitasked.
I went inside and checked out the hall. I could imagine the old back and white BPL 14 inch TV playing Chitrahaar and my grandmother singing along. Avva, as we lovingly used to call her would always be in the kitchen -cooking, or making those delicious chutneys for Daddu or for us.

I could clearly recollect the fragrance of the strong Sambhar powder enriching the daal which cooked merrily on the gas stove. As we'd go in, Avva would make us sit down and serve us hot idlis and boiling hot  Sambhar, wondering when will Daddu finish his shaving business. Her’s was one of the best Sambhar’s that I have ever tasted. Her culinary skill is another topic to write about!
Daddu would only ask for a tea and nothing else.
All fragrances, voices, scenes, memories stood alive. It was indeed nostalgic.
We walked out and my sister pointed out to a lemon tree which stood right in front of their house. I think, that is the only thing she vividly remembers.
We walked out of the house analyzing the surroundings, how things had changed, how some things still remained untouched.
We spent some really wonderful days there, flying kites, making swings out of broken tyres, climbing up trees and playing hide and seek.
I wonder how long will this construction stand. It might be destroyed to pave way for a 40 storied residential scheme.
Where some little houses made fond memories, a few more houses look to be constructed to make newer memories. But what the little, decent and conservative constructions gave; the tall 3 bhks residential apartments would never be able to match.
I still vie for solace in a place like this.