Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blast from the past

I was a naive seventeen year old when he first came into my life. With his charming smile and deep,warm eyes he soon swept me off my feet. I began to look forward to our weekly rendezvous. I loved his easy wit and debonair charm, and the way he could handle any situation with his characteristic chutzpah. It was just a matter of time before I was headlong in love. On Thursdays, our designated weekly date, I would reschedule my life so that nothing and nobody would disturb that precious one hour with him. Those were the days! But then one day he had to leave for ever, as suddenly as he had come into my life. I was heartbroken, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. He was gone, just like that, leaving only his memory behind. I occupied myself with other things and learned to cope without him. I was nearing the end of college now and there were other mounting pressures. Time passed. I went on to complete my post graduation and got a job that I loved. I still thought of him, but less and less. Sometimes though the memories were powerful and I would get a rush of nostalgia for the old days. Along the way I met a nice boy and got married, and we had a beautiful baby girl. Life was perfect.
And then last week he came back into my life! Just like that. The door opened and in walked P...with HIM! I was dumbstruck. Of course I'd spoken about him in passing to P a few times, but I never though it mattered to him. It had never occurred to me that P would go to great lengths to track him down and bring him back. But here they were. Both of them. Of course I was happy to see him but I was worried too. Wouldn't this affect my relationship with P? What with the baby, time was always at a premium these days.

I needn't have worried. P was more than eager to get to know him as well as I did. "Switch on the TV honey!" he told me with a broad grin, " I want to meet your Remington Steele!"
And so it began all over again. P walks thru the door in the evenings and immediately starts putting Nikki to bed. As soon as she's asleep, we grab dinner and plonk ourselves in front of the TV to catch one more episode of Remington Steele. He's just as good as ever of course. Some things just get better with time :) Pierce Brosnan, younger and oh so gorgeous, teaming up with the effervescent Stephanie Zimbalist in this fun detective series is a great, anytime watch. The fact that I'm seeing it after ages makes it even better. Viva nostalgia! I just can't get enough of it! Any Remington Steele fans out there?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The way we were

There's been a disturbing story in the newspapers recently about a family in Mumbai, in which the father held his wife and daughters captive in squalid conditions and regularly tortured them for reasons that defy logic or reason. What shocked me more than the story of this family itself, was the fact that none of the neighbors of this family, or other building or society residents had done anything to help the unfortunate family, even though several were in the know of what went on in their flat. Its a sign of the times we live in I guess, where all of us are so boxed into our own worlds and lives that we've stopped connecting with each other the way we used to. I'm as much a part of this as anyone else, though I like to think I've changed, or at least I'm trying to since Nikki's birth.

Pre baby our home was mostly an overnight pit stop as both of us clocked crazy hours in our mad run on the corporate treadmill. Our friends in the society we lived in were friends we knew from elsewhere, b-school or work or somewhere else, but nobody we'd made friends with just by virtue of living in the same building for almost four years. Or even on the same floor for that matter; our neighbors always seemed rather nice but nobody had the time to socialize. I remember returning home after a party one Saturday night to a loud and merry celebration emanating from the apartment opposite; it was their seven year old daughter's birthday and the party was on in full swing. P remarked wistfully about how, in his childhood home, it was unimaginable that a child would have a birthday and the next door neighbors wouldn't be invited.

It used to be like that when I was growing up too. My dad was in the Navy and spent several months at sea. Since mom also worked, my sister and I spent a large part of our growing up years at my mom's parents who lived in the same city. They lived in a shady, tree lined Mumbai suburb, in a little society with two five story buildings. Each building overlooked a little garden overflowing with Rajnigandha plants, a tiny pond and a rock garden, meticulously tended to by the society residents. Being a small society, everyone who lived there knew everyone else and over a period of time it had become like an extended, close- knit family. All the kids had formed one large gang and evenings were spent playing hopscotch or hide and seek. Often, the younger kids were coached in badminton or chess by the elder, more experienced lot. On weekends we'd be in and out of each others houses all day, as a result of which weekend meals were always a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines covering the length and breadth of the country. Breakfast with the ground floor Tam Brams, lunch with the Bengali music lovers and high tea with the nice Catholic family who brought Enid Blyton high teas to life! Oh and a quick stopover at our Maharashtrian neighbors to sample Aunty's weekly pickle. Festivals were always great fun with everyone coming together to celebrate in style. I have fond memories of Holi especially, when celebrations would start a full fortnight in advance with all of us meeting on the building terrace every evening to plan our Holi strategy. The end objective was destruction of the gangs of kids from neighboring societies and hours were spent every evening filling up water balloons and stocking up buckets and pichkaris. On Holi day itself it was understood that we would be out of the house all day battling it out and return only post dusk, weary soldiers. My mom never worried about all this, and this was a time when there no mobiles. It was understood that as long as we were with the society kids and within the building premises, we were taken care of. Even the building watchman Makkhan Ram (yes that really was his name!)was part of this large family, cursing at us good naturedly as we'd climb the solitary coconut tree next to his watchman's hut on weekend afternoons and pelt the roof with marbles.

I think life was just simpler back then. I can't imagine letting Nikki go unsupervised the entire day a few years from now, even when she's old enough to play by herself. In fact I think, no I'm convinced, I'm going to be one of those mums skulking in the playground bushes. The milieu I live in today is very very different of course. Though I like the society I live in very much, even with its many amenities it really doesn't make up for the fact that few people here really know each other. Most relationships are superfluous, transactional at best. I would love to bring Nikki up in the kind of environment I grew up in, with a web of close relationships and people who knew each other acting like a blanket of warmth and security, always at hand. Maybe for that I'll have to go back in time. Back to the days when the lack hi tech, fast paced lifestyles were more than made up by the warmth of close relationships and the simple pleasures of everyday life.