Posts Tagged With: nostalgia

Are you sure no-one lives on top of the cloud?

“…somewhere above an ocean we are flying past a vast white candy-floss island which would have made a perfect seat for an angel or even God himself in a painting by Piero della Francesca.”
-The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton

from the airplane windowRemember the childhood days when we used to make faces and shapes out of clouds? I used to believe that there exists a world above the clouds where the fairies live. And then I took my first flight. I looked outside the window and saw those huge cotton balls just floating along side me and there was no-one on top of them. If I wasn’t a little older, I would have actually went and asked my mom “Are you sure no one lives on these clouds? Do they just hide when humans come? Maybe we can’t see them and they are right there looking at us through the plane window” 🙂

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Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

The Highway Project: It’s my Truck!

If you have ever taken a long road trip, you would have noticed the long-time “canvas on wheels” of Indian roads.  I have always been fascinated by the colourful and kitsch pictures and messages at the back of a truck. To the extent that I have at times asked my dad not to overtake until I’ve read it all :).

This Diwali, when we took a road trip from Vadodara to Udaipur to Jaipur and back, I decided to take up my highway project. Here are some that I captured

I’m big and I am the king of the road. I don’t see you so if you want my attention you need to BLOW HORN. OK?

Graffiti at the back of a truck in India; truck painting; truck pictures

I can’t see you! Blow Horn

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Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

I dream of a library…

Growing up, my first library was the local kirana(grocery) store that used to keep a big stack of Hindi comics like billu, pinky, chacha chowdhary, phantom, commando Dhruv etc.

Characters of Diamond Comics Indian Comics Magazine

Characters from my first ‘library’ books!

Then from 2nd grade onward it was school library, where I got introduced to Noddy, Ruskin Bond, Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Heidi, black beauty, little women and many more. That was also when the nearby book club had Tinkle, Champak and Chandamama. In junior classes we had to sit on the ground around a low table and in senior classes there were proper table and chairs… I so looked forward to library period, half an hour of stories! 🙂 Continue reading

Categories: Books, digital living, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

And that’s how the story goes…

बस इतनी सी थी ये कहानी…

yaadshehar-yaadon ka idiot box

That’s how Neelesh Mishra ends his story every evening. His show ‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ is the only show that I look forward to, on the radio. The regular FM channels are now just a few songs in between a lot of advertisements. And these days in Gujarat, it’s become particularly difficult to listen to radio as its predominantly mudslinging between Congress and BJP.

‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ is a radio play narrated and enacted only by Neelesh Mishra. The stories are regular, everyday stories from your or my life. The characters live in a fictitious small town called yaadshehar (यादशहर) created by Neelesh Mishra himself. A small town where all of us had once lived. Its neither too far nor too close. It’s in a time when  only Sharma uncle’s house had the telephone in the whole locality and everyone would go to Sharma uncle’s home attend calls. There were black and white televisions with wooden shutter doors (Oh! How I wish I had a picture of our’s). I still remember how mummy used to clean the screen and then close the shutter :). Every night after the prime time shows.

antique black and white TV with shutter

I don’t have a picture of our antique B&W TV, but this one comes fairly close 🙂

I discovered ‘Yadon ke…’ By chance and now, as much as possible, I try to be cooking during its airtime so that I can listen to it without any interruptions :D.

I don’t know if many would remember “hawamahal”, a radio play that used to (& still does) come on Vividh Bharati ( the DD equivalent of radio). Hawamahal is mostly comic story lines and there is a whole cast with different characters being played by different people. Unlike ‘yaadon ke …’ there is no narration.

When we were kids, we lived on the 1st floor and had a huge balcony-terrace. There was a tall eucalyptus tree, extending way beyond our terrace, on one corner. Every night after dinner, all four of us used to sit in that corner, enjoying the night breeze and listening to hawamahal on our antique radio! It was a red and silver color radio set, with three buttons, one for tuning, one volume and one power.

Those were the days of black and white TVs with wooden shutters & no remotes (there was only one channel so no issues of changing channels:)); small radio; one telephone and those were the days when we had time to sit together and enjoy a radio program and not just limit it to drive time.

I miss my childhood.

I miss my childhood, nostalgia

It was so much fun back then!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lies of our childhood

Never tell a lie (else your nose will extend like Pinocchio!). This was and still is a consistent teaching from my mother. But during this vacation, while trying to make my 5 year old niece eat her food, I realized that our childhood is full of lies.

why I lie to my kids

Oops! I swallowed a seed!

And as innocent we are as children, we believed in them. I don’t remember even once challenging them. Things like don’t eat the seeds of a fruit else you will have a plant growing inside. I still remember on days when I accidently swallowed a seed, I actually used to dream at night that there will be branches and leaves coming out of my ears and nose when I wake up.

Or don’t go outside the gate alone; there is a baba on the street who takes away children.

The maximum lies were in food items. I used to hate yellow moong dal and love yellow urad dal. To make me eat that moong dal , my mom said it’s chota urad (small urad dal) and after that I ate it.. Despite the fact that I still didn’t like it’s taste, just because it was the smaller version of a dal that I loved I ate it. And this is the lie that I believed in till I went to college and fellow students in the mess told me that there is nothing like a chota urad and that this is moong dal.

Then another one that I remember was for arbi (colocasia). She made me eat it saying it was potato! Though I am proud to say they weren’t able to fool us for baingan, lauki, torai, tinda etc (eggplant, bottle gourd, snake gourd etc) :D.

A recent retort by Nandini (my niece) to didi made me realise not only were we innocent, we were also outright stupid :).

Here’s the incident:

Didi: Nandini sit upright.

Nandini: No. I want to eat like this.

Didi: You should not eat while lying down.

Nandini: Why mama?

Didi: If you eat while lying down; all the food goes in the donkey’s stomach.

Nandini: It’s okay mama. Even the donkey should get to eat.

Lies parents tell to their children

It’s okay mama even the donkey should get to eat!

There was obviously no reply to this one and we all just started laughing. Laughing at her response or laughing at the fact that all through our childhood our mother was able to fool us with this! 🙂

And then there are the bigger lies of Tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Of course these lies were for our own good. I sort of agree to a fellow blogger’s argument that it’s not lying; it’s parenting!

And come to think of it what would childhood have been without the ‘Lion’ who was always hiding behind the sofa ready to leap if you didn’t finish the bite!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writings from the past

Look I found my mother’s old diary!

I was inspired to write this post after reading Michelle’s Pieces of the Past. They have this beautiful bed and breakfast in Virginia, steeped in history. And they keep adding to that history. I always love her antique shopping pictures especially the tea-sets!

My find is not as exciting as Michelle’s who found letters that are more than 100 years old. But I found my mother’s old notebook :). I don’t know how old it is; and mummy also doesn’t remember when she wrote that but on page there is a number – 8.9.84 – which I assume is a date, so the notebook is 28 years old.

Yellowed pages, torn edges, dog corners… I opened the notebook with such curiosity as if I’m going to unravel some mystery or learn something new about my mom :). What excited me most is that it has recipes! 🙂 There are recipes like Apple Butter, Mango Jam, Orange Squash, Almond Syrup, Tomato Ketchup… More inspiration for My Weekend Kitchen! Mummy didn’t even remember she had a notebook like this until I showed it to her…actually because of the recipes, she might have lent it to my maasi and it was she who gave me this notebook during my last trip to Delhi.

Mango Jam, Orange Squash and many more…

Apart from recipe what caught my interest were the last few pages where she has done her household accounts..

Monthly household accounts
100 School fees; 100 Bank; 200 Ghar ka Samaan; 162.50 Milk; 45 Dance; 15 Taxi

I’m sure since taxi was a luxury it got mentioned in the monthly accounts and the bus fares did not.. Also I learned that didi used to go for some dance classes (Since I was only 3 at that time, I realized the fee must be for didi). At one place it’s also written ‘Mrs Pareek 25 Rs; Sawairam 14 Rs’ Maybe I should remind her that she has to either take from or give back this amount to them!

With our generation usually maintaining everything in e-documents, I really feel sad that our children will not have the pleasure of finding and going through diaries of their parents that have yellowed with time. That they would actually be saying ‘Look I found my mother’s old blog’!

If you liked this post, you might also want to read my other experiences of discovering old things 🙂

-When I discovered my Grandad’s old journal and learnt that he wrote shayari!

-On ‘actually’ ‘physically’ writing something. When was the last time you wrote at length on a real piece of paper?

Categories: digital living, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Every time I hit that “publish” button…

Today my mind was on fire with ideas of things to post about on this blog.. and I knew I had to jot those ideas down else I will soon forget them. During my recent visit to Gurgaon, I saw my sister still carried a diary in her bag which she used to write random thoughts that came to her mind during the day.. When I asked her “Why don’t you use your phone for that purpose”; she replied saying “because I feel I should write otherwise we never actually write down anything”. And I totally agree with her, a lot of times I feel I’ve forgotten how to write.. Once when I was in 4th standard I had come 3rd in a calligraphy content in school and right now I’m ashamed to tell that to anyone because if they see my handwriting now, pple will say I’m joking!

So I decided to write down those thoughts in a diary.. and I knew I had a new, small handmade diary somewhere. While searching for the new diary, I found an old treasure!! I found my travel journal during our Brazil and Europe trip in 2008. It was so much fun reading those entries now; it was almost like revisiting those places.. I was back in the Rio carnival dancing to samba tunes; I was back in Brussels tasting amazing chocolate flavours at Pierre Marcolini; I was back in Paris being astonished by the Greek gods and other exhibits in the Louvre.. Oh! I can’t express the joy of reading the diary again :). Anyway, so it was during that time that I had finalised the idea of this blog and I actually have an entry on the day my blog went live.. I smiled on reading that entry.. how excited I was …just like a child who has found a new toy :). Here’s the first entry that I wrote about this virtual diary in my real diary almost 4 years ago!


Even to this day every post on this blog is an excitement for me…. Every time after hitting that publish button; I have this anxiety that whether people will want to read, what I wrote? Whether what I wrote is good enough? Writing didn’t come naturally to me and that one of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog because I wanted to learn it! Earlier I used to spend a lot of time over each post, trying to get the language correct but now it’s become easier… I guess it does get easy with time. I realised it’s okay to make mistakes in language as far as you are writing something that you want to share… that you would like to read if someone else had written it on their blog.

How do you feel when you hit that ‘publish’ button on anything? Would love to read your experience 🙂

Categories: Old times, Travel | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

My Daddy Strongest

I don’t remember when I first heard this jingle, but it’s been with me since childhood! I remember a small girl shouting to the TV screen “My Daddy strongest”!. A quick Internet search showed it was a very old Dhara cooking oil ad.

Papa with friends in BITS Pilani

I can’t say my daddy is strongest in terms of muscle power but in terms of will I truly believe my daddy is strongest. It was only yesterday me and my sister were talking how papa steered our careers… how we had no ambition whatsoever; didn’t know about the various choices available but daddy knew what we can achieve and what is best for us. I had wanted to take up commerce in school, just because didi had studied commerce… how I loved copying her in everything! J. But it was papa who told me about IITs (imagine I had not even heard about them till then!), it was papa who gave me the advertisement for the IIT JEE coaching centre and asked to give it one try. In the middle of the coaching I wanted to leave it all, it was just too much and again it was papa who vetoed. I’m not sure if I was angry with him at that time for forcing me to stay in Kota but I’m sure I’m thankful now that he did do that. And that he had the faith in me all along that I will be able to get through… I don’t think I would have been what I am if it wasn’t for his dreams!
As kids we get to know our father only as a parent; but thanks to my father’s trusted friends; me and sister have known him as a very troublesome college kid also. How we enjoyed the stories Shringi uncle used to tell while they were in Pilani.. How Bauji had sent papa with money for engineering registration and how papa registered for B. Pharma instead and got a nice tight slap in return from Bauji J. Talking about slaps, how can I forget the rather (in) famous Roshan Kelly incident! How he started non-veg food in BITS Pilani mess when he was the mess co; how he used to tail the ‘supposedly cool’ Xavier guys… Shringi uncle maintains that it was his attempt to get in the ‘cool’ crowd that papa started smoking…

One very special quality that I feel he has is that he takes people for what they say they are; his first impulse is that every person is good and he trusts them. Of course this has landed him in trouble a lot of times and so many time into fights with mom but still this is one quality that I have tried to inherit from him because personally I’ve gained more than lost by trusting strangers. Despite the troubles, I’m always impressed by seeing how he springs back from any let down; how he faces life in its face. Even at 60 years of age he is all set to start something new; risk it all again to be his own boss..


I’m sure he fed me a lot of times when I was an infant; but this moment was special because it was after long long time that I was eating from his hands

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A face in the Dark and other Hauntings – Ruskin Bond

The name is Bond. Ruskin Bond.

I don’t exactly remember when I picked up my first Ruskin Bond, but I’ve always loved reading his books. Having lived in the hills for quite some time in the hills in my childhood, I can easily picture his words. It’s almost as if the story is being enacted in front of me; I’m the spectator standing on the side, observing everything. And what better, sometimes I’m even part of those stories :).

Often I imagine his cottage; on one of the hilltops in Mussourie, isolated from most dwellings. I imagine it to have a tall hedge around for privacy and I see myself walking around it. I see myself trying to find an entrance, peeping inquisitively through the hedge to catch a glimpse of the writer who has been with me since childhood.

Coming back to the book, I am the kind who can’t stand horror. As a kid (and sometimes even now) I used to be dead scared of going to the bathroom at night… I would go only when it is absolutely necessary and used to keep chanting “there are no ghosts.. there are no ghosts” all the way. This is the first time I picked up an horror stories collection, and the only reason why I picked it was because it was by Ruskin Bond.

I was all alone in the house. Sikander was travelling on work. I had finished reading the book I was reading and when I went to the book rack, I couldn’t find anything else more interesting than this one. I started the book with some apprehension (the fear from the fact that I knew it was supposed to be scary!). But the introduction of the book put me at ease and I read on. I finished ‘A face in the dark’ and boy was I scared because as if it was planned, the electricity went off right after I finished reading it. I closed the book and didn’t open it again until Sikander was back and I was no longer sleeping alone. Once my personal ghost buster was back, I continued with the book. I was actually enjoying those stories… most of the stories didn’t scare but left me with a desire to actually meet such a ghost myself. Especially the ones with a funny side :). In some stories there is no actual ghost but just the hint of a ghost… winds whistling, tree branches moving to give an illusion of someone waving from behind the trees… I actually had to stop myself from reading more than one story a night else the book would get over too quickly :).

I know when I next go to the hills, I will be wary of taking a stroll in the night alone for fear that I might come across the ghost of Hamida or Rose or Gulabi… Or I just might, for I do want to meet the fairies that live underground on the pari tippa!

Categories: around us, Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

In loving memory of Amma and Bauji

This is my diary entry dated 05/02/2012. I wrote it in train on my way from Jaipur to Baroda. On reading it again I thought I should share it with the rest of family. There is no structure to this writing, I wrote as things came to mind and I’m not editing the entry (except for adding the pictures). There are so many things that I got to know only after reading his diaries, here’s sharing them with you.


Today was Bauji’s tervi (havan after 13 days of death). I reached Jaipur late last night from Jodhpur. Everyone was there, all the sons, daughters, son in laws, daughter in laws and the grandchildren. One amazing thing about Sanaganer home is that no matter how many people come, there always space for everyone to sleep. 🙂

Last night till around 2am me and menu bua were reading bauji’s diaries. In his 2006 diary when amma was not well, bauji has poured all his emotions. We all knew he was tensed at that time and obviously worried about amma, but that he was afraid, that he was questioning the purpose of life? The diary showed a completely different side of Bauji to me. Bauji kept a regular diaty of every expense (as low as Rs 2), who came to visit, what is happening in the house, amma’s entire treatment – doctors, diagnosis, medicine details everything. But most surprising to me were the gazals he had written. Meenu bua said that she knew Bauji did amazing shayari, but I’m sure none of the grandchildren ever got a whiff of that. As kids we knew him as a strict grandparent who was always after our studies! (at least for the ones who grew up in Sanganer). Amma was the softer one and I think they both purposely maintained this “Good cop, bad cop” routine 🙂

Here’s a scanned copy of one of his writing’s

Ravi panditji came for the havan. Ravi panditji (earlier his father) have been coming to our home for every pooja/havan that I remember. His father and him have conducted every wedding in our family in Jaipur. I cried for Bauji for the first time today (after his death). During the aarti at the end of havan, I remembered how amma-bauji used to insist that we join for evening prayers, even at the time when there was no temple in Sanaganer and amma had her idols in a small room. How they both used to read excerpts from Geeta and Kalyan (a periodical on religious teachings) and explain the meaning.

As kids we often found these pravachans boring but used to sit through them, just to keep amma-bauji happy but never paid any attention. It was always in from one ear and out from another J. However, I think its because of those sessions that today I know anything about faith. That today I believe there is a god. While a follower of Hinduism, Bauji believed that all gods are one. In one of diary entries (circa 1998) he has written that he went to chaura rasta bazaar (the book market in Jaipur) to find a book on common teachings of all religions but couldn’t find any. More recently (circa 2011) he wrote “God is one”.

I feel I’m lucky I grew up with grandparents. I remember the sweet smell when amma made laddus or halva. I remember how she used to make the gadmad sabzi (a dish prepared 2 days before Diwali and has more than 50 vegetables). That day we will have around 30-40 people for lunch at Sanganer and the dish was packed and sent to relatives. The year before she died, she had asked chacha to make the dish and she was supervising. (Did she knew she won’t be there the next year? Was she ensuring the tradition continued?).

Amma-Bauji used to play rummy for 50p a point. Amma taught me how to play rummy but I never managed to earn much from them :). Cards is also a tradition in Sanganer. Whenever all the brothers and sisters are together, they have to play cards!

Theirs was a love story set in 1940s (Imagine!). Ravi chacha told this story when we were visiting him in Ahmedabad . Bauji used to take tuitions for amma’s brothers  and in return amma’s mother asked him to eat in their home and so started their association :).

As I was growing up, the amount of time I spent with amma-bauji somehow became inversely proportional with age. Growing up, school, friends and tv became more entertaining than spending time with them. I remember after coming back from school, we used to rush to our room on the first floor. Amma used to call us (shouting hard so that her voice would reach our rooms) to come down and we would keep saying after lunch, after homework, 10 mins, 15 mins L.

I wish I knew then, what I’ missing now. I always took grandparents for granted. Where are they going? They would always be there telling their stories, I can always sit with them tomorrow. It was only today that it finally hit me that the tomorrow will never come. For me, one entire generation is gone. When I read bauji’s diaries, the fact that he wrote down who all came to visit and where did the grandchildren go for studies/ after marriage, I realised that all he wanted was for us to spend time with them.

The fact that amma-bauji, nana-nani are no longer there brings home the realization that mummy-papa are also growing older every day. As we get busy in our careers, in raising our families, we pay little attention to our time with them. I don’t want to have any more regrets.


Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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