The other night, I had taken my kids to the terrace for “Stargazing Activity” as a part of their Vacation Assignment Schedule. While they were busy spotting the constellations, I closed my eyes. Deja vu !!
Nostalgia hit me, really hard. My mind took me back to my childhood memory lane, I could see my life in flashes! The memory is still so vivid that it began to tantalize all my senses.
A random hot summer day, turning cooler, as the Sun went off duty. Followed by a soothing breeze, gently caressing the ruffled minds and hair. The air was filled with night jasmine’s fragrance. It used to be so quiet that one could hear the train’s horn as it passes by the nearest railway tracks, loudspeakers being played in the mosque close by and the street dogs barking, intermittently.
After dinner, we would make our “makeshift beds” on the terrace. This used to be my favourite part of the day. Everybody was assigned a task. And like a well-coordinated team at the assembly line, we used to execute the task flawlessly, every single time.
My mother would bring a clay pot (with a “lion face” on its spout), was covered with a damp muslin cloth, (mostly my mother’s old cotton saree) to keep the water naturally cold, with a glass to cover it’s top.
My elder siblings would help my father to carry and arrange the mattresses, bedsheets and pillows and I, being the youngest was assigned with the most important job.
To carry my Dad’s Radio!!
Every night (Mon-Sat) sharp at 8:00 pm, Vividh Bharati would play a 15 minutes radio program pertaining short stories, anecdotes, snippets, skits, plays or Natak, Jhalaki, vyang in Hindi, called “हवा महल“/ HawaMahal. This was the earliest and the most pleasant memory that I have from my childhood days.
“Look!! A shooting star! And there you can actually spot Orion!”, squealed my daughter and pulled my hand and eventually also my mind back in that day and time. Time machines aren’t for real, says who? 😊
Upon reflection, I believe that listening to those stories at such an early age, laid the foundation of myself becoming a writer. Visualizing the characters, identifying with their emotions, being able to associate with the changing emotions with the change of music and the texture of voice to understand the feelings made my imagination vivid and intense. Unconsciously, I was practising mindfulness, being there…living in that moment.
I won’t hesitate to give this experience full credit of evolving a storyteller in me, that I am today.
PS: The love for the instrument is such that I still possess one, even today.