Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Memories........... a whole lot of them!

I think I've taken a long enough break and can start writing again. The past 6 weeks have been as hectic as enjoyable. Grandson Kapil was seen running all over the house and we wondered whether he ever walked. Literally on his toes as one would say. I truly thought of ITW and wondered how she coped with twin boys. My grandkids born two years apart need to be watched all the time and though the daughter who is older has calmed down, she can be upto all sorts of pranks when in her younger brother's company! I relived the time when my children were small and returning to an empty house after saying goodbye to them at Madurai was painful.

I tend to be sentimental after my children visit me. But I could not help comparing their visits to our own to my grandfather's place in Gobichettipalayam. those were days when we ran wild. My grandfather was a patient man. No rules were imposed and we ate and played to our heart's content. Those were days without TV and a movie at a local theatre was a treat for us kids. We'd hire a bullock cart and to maintain balance we'd sit in two rows facing each other.The youngest among us would sit at the rear end, feet dangling outside. I remember sleeping off in the theatre once and being woken up after the movie got over. We had a room allotted for the ripening of mangoes. Hay was spread out on the floor and half ripe mangoes would be placed on it. We'd get a mango each after lunch and dinner. Our competition would be to see who finished last and I inevitably won being a slow eater.

We took turns to bathe in the bathroom and who bathed first was a major contraversy. We'd line up in front of the bathroom towel and change of clothes in hand. We'd let in a favorite cousin through a side door after bathing, n ever mind if at least four others waited in front of the main door!

Then there are memories of my grandfather plucking flowers while chanting Vishnu Sahastranamam and one of us running to a store nearby to fetch plantains of a particular variety to be offered during the evening prayers. Whatever work one did, we always assembled in the pooja room when camphor was lit and the bell starting ringing announcing the end of the prayer session.

There are memories of the board games we played and the quarrels that followed with each one accusing the others of foul play and finally the ghost stories/stories that were oft repeated but we never ever got bored of listening over and over again. Finally we slept huddled up in the hall that doubled up for a bedroom at night. we formed groups according to our age and had many a secret to share and we spoke in whispers till our mothers admonished us and we rolled over on the floor finally drifting off to sleep.

I often wonder whether my grandkids would ever have such memories of their vacations at my place. They are too small now but will they at a later stage look forward to visiting us the way we did? Times have changed and it is no longer safe to let children run wild. Health is a major concern and mineral water replaces water from the well and computer games have taken over from games like 'hide and seek' and hop scotch. I'd be disappointed if my grandkids did not find their vacations to India interesting something to look forward to. There is one thing that hasn't changed and that is chilhood. So perhaps there is no need to fret. They may find different reasons to want to come to us but they will look forward to it all the same.