I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time, but I just kept putting it for some ‘other time’ – thought I might as well just do it. Recently I took a trip to my hometown, Kannur (Kerala) to attend a wedding in the family. Oh no, it’s not about the wedding – that went on smoothly – met relatives (mine and on the in-laws’ side, both), the works. What made me write this is the nostalgia bit.
No, the wedding once again is not the reason for nostalgia – though in a way it was – as in, it reminded me of my own wedding, 4 years ago, same place and almost the same time. It was the trip in itself that did this to me, AGAIN. In other words, every trip to Kerala since I ‘grew up’ has always been transporting me back to ‘good old days’.
The ‘ancestral’ houses where I grew up, visited every summer, had fun (needless to say), got caught, got punished, learned some wonderful lessons in life, learned some bitter truths, enjoyed scenic beauty, breathed fresh air, all seems to be crumbling to pieces. One of the houses has already bitten the dust (read ‘been demolished’) and the other, although standing upright, shows all signs of aging. The strong pillars that once supported the house, need support now. The windows that opened to fresh air and greenery all around, now creak painfully. The roof that protected us from the elements now needs protection from the most fleeting yet determined element – TIME. It hurts to see the representatives of my memories of ‘good old days’ now leaving my hand just like Jack left Rose’s, a la ‘Titanic’.
I remember the quiet warm afternoons at my paternal grandpa’s house when he and grandma would sit in a corner on the verandah looking out to infinity, hardly speaking anything – but actually expressing volumes in their silence. They taught me that love does not always need verbal expression. My maternal grandma did not have a single picture of any deities or religious heads. She was a believer all the same. She taught me that faith does not need an idolatrous expression. My cousins fought with me, hurt me (physically), made me cry, felt bad, made up to me – but they never said they’re sorry. They taught me, an apology does not need a mushy expression.
Where’s all of it now? All gone with the wind. Or rather, most of it is. It’s the time – that will never come back. The time when I was a kid, was innocent in all ways. The time that I spend with family. The time I played in the open grounds, fell down, bruised my elbows and knees. The time when a fight never embittered relations and had a very short lifespan. The time when envy was OK. The time when the competition was healthy. The time when snatching things from younger siblings didn’t make you a thief or didn’t end relations. Time, when punishment was always taken and never protested since the punishers only meant good. A time when chiding by elders was always taken constructively. A time when it was not a shame to cry – when crying actually translated to calling out for help (melodrama added in generous quantities). A time when happiness was pure and unadulterated.
That’s what I miss the most. Those times. Here I am, writing this in a time when punishment is not welcome – because we all grew up and now we think, we are faultless. A time when it’s not OK to cry since that makes us a wimp. A time when playing is more digital and less physical. We strain our eyes and thumbs more that our mind, body, and soul. A time when competition is the way of life and definitely not healthy anymore. A time when a fight could end relations – things that took years to build. A time when a truth is expensive and calls for a lot of courage for expression. A time when lies are commonplace since they are cheap and just calls for vivid imagination. A time when falling down means medical bills, taking leave from work (or at least one wants to stay home). A time when taking things from siblings leads to lawsuits.
Now that that time is almost gone, it hurts to see my daughter grow in solitude. No siblings to share her expressions with. No friends to play or fight with. I came home from school into the loving arms of my mother. Waited patiently every evening for my father (to see if he has brought us some goodies). My daughter comes home to a father who’s getting ready for work and will drop her at the day care. I wonder if she will ever get to experience the wonderful childhood that I did. Anyways all that can try is to give her the biggest possible slice of that wonderful time called ‘good old days’ to cherish when she grows up.
Bye for now. See you all later.