It’s the end of November but it’s still hot here in Pune. The afternoon sun is still as sweltering as it was in the summers and you can hardly go out without the heat pricking you like a thorny cactus bush. I don’t know whether to blame it on global warming or on Pune’s weather patterns but I am suddenly getting a rush of nostalgia, poignant memories from childhood keep rising up in me and a bizarre dread of growing up and losing those things like grains of sand in the palm of our hand, keeps gnawing on my mind, a feeling that however much I try, I can’t shake off.
It would be after Diwali time that all the woollens and blankets would be brought out from the boxes and laid out on the roof to sun them. The smell of naphthalene would be clinging to every corner of the house like dew drops on gossamer cobwebs. I remember being so excited, I would squeal and get in the way of everyone and be so happy at getting a cushioned playfield on the roof and spend the whole day rolling, jumping and cart wheeling about on the blankets, which would last till sundown when I would groan and complain about the blankets being taken back into the house. Winters bring a rush of feelings and remembrances. All the afternoon games in winters while the elders would be sitting out in the sun and the kids would be running around. The sun would be so pleasant for a change and we could sit for hours outside eating apples and oranges. The stupid pranks of searching for different crazy ways of squirting orange peel juices into each other’s eyes. Going to school in the foggy mornings would be another experience altogether. The fog would be so thick that you could hardly see your hand if you stretched out your arm in front of you and then we would pretend to smoke virtual cigarettes from our steamy breaths while the noses and cheeks would be turning red with the cold and chapped skin. The indignance at having to wear itchy woollen hats that would itch so much; that I would spend most of the morning scratching my head and then by evening mysteriously lose them at the playground. However much I hated the caps, I would love the navy blue sweater and blazer and the grey gloves. They were my prized possessions. Winter meant shorter days and lesser time to play, I would get punished so very often for coming back home late. Exam time too would be a thrill because at daytime I could study in the garden and at night I could snuggle under the blanket with my books and mom would get steamy hot drinks to sip on. Picnics, outdoor parties and road-trips were mostly a thing of the winters, and so were matar pulaos and gobi paranthas and oh have you ever had an ice-cream in winter? The whole family would snuggle under one blanket and watch something on TV, all the while complaining and screaming about who tugged the blanket away and someone’s feet being too cold.
Time seems to be passing by so quickly and seems to be slipping away, and I have no control. I feel that l am hardly getting any time to savour the moments. Suddenly I find myself living on my own and taking my own responsibilities, and soon it would be time for me to become a mother and take on the responsibilities of others. It’s so over-whelming and sad at the same time. I want to go back to all of those times in my childhood and live those days again moment by moment.Tightly hold them in the clasp of my hands and not let them tick away.
Are these the things that dreams are made of? A mind that yearns for the days gone by and creates an illusion for what you want ahead.