Getting nostalgic is in the Indian blood. We have often heard our grandparents and even parents narrate incidents from their childhood…the lanes in which they played gilli-danda, hu-tu-tu, about how they would hide from their parents up on a mango tree or the topmost maala of the ancestral home. My grandparents have always told me interesting things about their childhood. The stories would often begin with, “Tya veles mula tumchyasarkhi computer war basat nasaychi…” (In those days kids wouldn’t sit in front of computers, like how you kids do). When telling their childhood tales, their face would brighten up as if they have rewinded back to the 1940/50s.
My maternal grandfather worked in the Mantralaya and therefore, they stayed in the government quarters at Bandra for many years. My mother has fond memories of the place. Day before yesterday, when she came to Mumbai to visit me and my other relatives, she persuaded me to take her there. She wanted to see how that place looks after thirty long years, her school, the Udipi restaurant which they frequented as kids, everything. I was a bit reluctant. I refused to take her there because she was too tired to roam around. But yesterday, finally my maternal uncle that means my mama took us to that place. “B-26, we would stay here,” shouted my mother pointing at a window on the fourth floor. “There was our kitchen, and we would do fishing her,” she said looking at the ground. “The gutter no longer exists,” she seemed to be pleased.
I couldn’t help notice tears rolling down her eyes when she saw her school and remembered how my late grandparents would carry the two siblings to school or take them out for a walk. Both my mama and mom seemed to have lost in their childhood and I could notice it when they would point out something known and say, “Its still there,” or “Remember, we played here,” or “XYZ aunty stayed here.”
After 20-30 years, when I will roam through the bylanes of Pune, I will also point out things to my children and say, “Look here’s where I met your dad the first time…” or “Here is the katta where we would be padeek after college…” and end the experience by saying… “Those were the days…”