It is one of those days when I am feeling very nostalgic. I don’t know how normal “smelling” the past is, but I smell it quite often these days. I don’t have any other word to describe that longing for the past. Everything looks and feels, suddenly, like the good old days. Even the air smells exactly as it used to then. But then there is no one around. The sudden realization that time has flown by and that there is nothing remotely close to my past today makes my heart ache.
How good it was when the biggest worry I used to have was to clear an examination. How simple life was when the greatest pleasure was to talk to my best friend over phone. How easy life was when the only expenditure was on petrol (which used to cost Rs 22/- per liter), greeting cards and cassettes and the pocket money (Rs 50 /- per month) I used to get was sufficient for all my needs. I think I now agree that school days were one of the best and brightest days of my life.
I felt like a bird then driving my red TVS Champ. I would always take the longest route possible to go practically anywhere. I would gladly go out to buy household stuff to the market close by because mom would allow me to keep the change. Even inside the house, I would never walk. I would run and then jump and try to touch the upper rim of the door. I never realized how soon the “jumping” was not required because I was now tall enough to touch it and how soon I forgot this activity. I still remember how I would wait for Sunday evenings to watch Spiderman and later Mowgli with my brother every Sunday morning. The Sunday afternoons were devoted for Mahabharat and mom would make us sit and watch it. I distinctly remember those days when I would wait for dad to return in the evening. I would know the sound of dad’s scooter so well. And then he would drive me around our locality, a daily activity which we used to call “round lagana”.
The magical summer vacations would comprise of Rasana, Mayur Park, ganne ka ras every night and nani ka ghar. I would stay there and play and fight with my cousins. It was so wonderful to stay awake and talk till my grandfather would grumble about the new age kids! I still remember going to parties (usually wedding receptions of some uncle / aunty or their distant relative) with mom dad and have a good time eating pani puris and ice-creams and in the more lavish receptions we could have “baraf ka gola” as well.
The school teachers were wonderful human being (agreed some of them were nasty). The punishments and penalties for talking would range from kneeling down to cane beating. Or the class monitors would write the names on the board. In my case, my name used to be beautifully underlined with some stars around it – a penalty for talking twice, thrice or non-stop. The teacher’s day celebrations, the practices for annual function or sports day were the most awaited events of the year! It was all so great and wonderful then.
I don’t say that the present is bad. Probably, 10 years down the line, the present would also be a part of a glorious past. But sometimes, past is all that matters. Sudarshan Faakir has penned it beautifully in the following lines:
Yeh daulat bhi lelo,
yeh shoharat bhi lelo,
Bhale cheen lo, mujhse meri jawani
Magar mujhko lautado bachpan ka saawan
Woh kagaz ki kashti,woh baarish ka paani
I think it is just one of those days.