Monday, 20 June 2011

A memoir of memories...


Deep within the hard shell of bones, amidst the million cells, hiding in some imaginary compartment, some memories sleep cozily. Years and years of grey cells may have accumulated onto them, forming cobwebs of memories all over again and yet, these lie intact.

Today I read a friend’s post on childhood nostalgia. Memories, some so precious that simple things easily remind us of them, leaving behind a warm fuzzy feeling in the tummy. Childhood brings back memories of aloo bhaja-dal-bhath, afternoon story sessions, cheede bhaja and so much more. All those animated conversation, the aekanodos, the lies that were caught instantly etc. Yes, a myriad of memories.

When I think of these, I am quickly taken into a flashback much like an Eastman colored film, a montage of shots, seemingly unconnected yet making complete sense. One of my most fond memories is that of crying over spectacles. In my time, kids rarely got specs or maybe I did not know many who did. My older brother had one and so did my aunts. My grand dad’s specs were thick, black rimmed and heavy. Soon as no one was looking, I would put on the specs and try to walk around.

Once I even walked out of the house wearing dadu’s specs. Perched on my nose, those heavy glasses were huge for my face. The thick lens blurred my vision and soon I was caught by my grandma, who by the way dragged me home, grumbling and cursing my antiques. According to her, I could have walked into an open ditch or worse, crashed into a speeding car or a scooter. Bah. In the meantime, dadu, missing his specs, came out of his room at the ruckus and managed…to laugh out loud. This irked my grandma as usual.

But specs continued to enchant me for a very long time. To me wearing specs meant a sign of intelligence. I used to watch my grandpa read and write the whole day long. Lost in thought, he always had a pencil in hand, scribbling something in some diary. His room was out of bounds for us. Smelling of old books, paper and dust, his room was another world.

A world I discovered much later after he was gone - a world of stories, tales, and folklore; a world of books. His first love was his books. Then, I did not know he was writing a draft of his novels, anticipating a rejection letter from the many publishing houses he had sent his manuscript to. It took years for the final draft of the novel to come through and many years later, when a big publishing house accepted his book, his life was slowly fading.

As a child I had no clue of these things and his serious demeanor kept me away from him all the time. Yet, there were Kismi toffee bars, evening walks and rare story sessions that we shared. From time to time I peeped into his room, watching him in amusement as he talked to himself, probably a conversation he was going to write for his characters. His specs lay still on the old writing desk, near the typewriter. No one else seemed to be interested in his book apart from my eldest aunt to whom, editing the book seemed like a forced chore.

Only Sudhakar, the typist was allowed to sit next to him while he dictated and typed. They discussed, laughed, and shared jokes etc. for hours when the young typist was around. Yet, I was never to know what it was all about.

Years later when I showed an interest in books, he offered me some from his own collection. But because I did not feel very close to him, partly because I was frightened of him, I barely read the books. He still wore the same specs with thick glasses. They did not interest me anymore as I had given up trying to acquire specs of my own.

He died 12 years ago. His book was published but only a handful of copies were printed because then we did not have the money nor did anyone have the time to follow up. I own two copies today and have read the book quite a few times. He had four other manuscripts which I was told were disposed of by my oldest aunt as no one had shown any interest to them in the last ten years.

To the many family members, it was only a loss of life but to me, a legacy is lost. His specs lie guarded in my sister’s cupboard today.


39 comments:

Apoyando said...

"hiding in some imaginary compartment, some memories sleep cozily." ..until one day you find them awake and asking you to pour them out somewhere.. Well, the memories would be very fond of you.. 'coz you keep them so intact and yet when you let them go.. you free them so beautifully.

God bless you.

Vasuta said...

fond old memories...we don't take them out of the cupboard too often...sigh...you made me go back in time...

A Journey said...

wow.. so well written!! Specs are not cool at all re.

you should carry on his legacy :)

Nikita Banerjee said...

@Apoyando

Thanks :D

@ Vasuta

I am glad I did!

@ A Journey

Specs were cool to me for very long! LOl

R. Ramesh said...

baapre...quite a gripping narration...and how u doing buddy? how's H? wish v could all catch up some time..god knows when..take care..cya

bliss said...

ahahha i had a fixation for specs too, all my childhood. i ended up with them eventually but can relate to yours. another thing i can relate to is the sense of old memories from childhood that remain special forever. they are worth it.
your grandfather seems like a man who lived a life he enjoyed, doing thing he loved. and even though a lot of his work was lost, the sense of him having done it all is soothing somewhat. i wish i had access to such literary experience as a kid :|
wonderful post :)

Unknown said...
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manoshi said...

Dadu, his specs, his room, his room.. i miss him.. Very Well written though

Raj said...

Soon as no one was looking, I would put on the specs and try to walk around. AWESOME.

u know the legacy is alive. in u. didn't u notice? :)

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ R.Ramesh

We doing good. No plans to go anywhere abhi but lets hope we bump into each other soon.

@ Bliss

Thank you!

@ Manu

Yes...we all miss him!

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ Raj

Kaise notice karungee? Suffering from a writer's block most of the times! :P

@ncel said...

Very well written sweetheart!! ur grandpa wud surely be proud of u.. :) :)

surabhi said...

Well...wat can i say..... u just stirred up some very fond memories of my childhood too... :)
another great piece....

Mishree said...

beautiful post,niki :)

when I was a little girl,my Dadubhai used to tell me stories from his childhood and youth.i once asked him how he remembered such old incidents,and the explanation that he gave me was lovely.I'll write another post on what he said to me.I think that'll go hand-in-hand with the current mood that I'm transmitting to people :) you'll know what I mean when you see the post.in the mean time,lovely work.i'll keep coming back for more!

<3 :)

Joel said...

From a most determined Grand-father descends an equally talented Grand-daughter.A lovely composition, one driven by your observations, you can bet that i will be following your blogs religiously now......:)

Raj said...

a writer at heart and profession suffering a writers block? :P

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ Ancel

:) Wish he was around to see this!

@ Surabhi

Thanks a lot!

@ Mishree

Waiting for your post! :)

A A C said...

niks.... i feel a proud bro. yes wish dadu was here..... i think liluah's dadu had the same book and he completed or was reading...something..... wel wish dadu or both the dadus were here.... not only dadu but today we all are proud of you.
while reading this blog, god knows how many times i stopped, and recollected all old memories with him, a man with only instructon & command .... its true we or I used to be scared but guess that was also a differnt fun, i remember how we were taught to communicate with him before entering in his room or world.... miss him, miss you....miss us.

cheers. keep writing and keep sharing.

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ A A C

Thanks! Will follow up on your suggestions!

Pesto Sauce said...

Poignant and touching

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ Joel

Thank you so much!

@ Pesto Sauce

Thank you!

AJ said...

So emotional and soo moving :)

R. Ramesh said...

ya..plan a trip this side yar...dxb....

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ AJ

:) Thank you!

@ R. Ramesh

Sure will try soon!

Jack said...

Nikita,

Childhood memories are what make us wonder how much do we miss that time now. Hope that novel is in English, then I would like to read it. Many a talented persons go into obscurity as there is no one to understand them. May he have eternal peace.

Take care

Scribblers Inc said...

Oh my. Thats a terrible terrible loss. With due respect to your Grandfather, I am really saddened about the lost manuscripts. God knows what gems they held! :(

Scribblers Inc.

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ Jack

Yes fortunately the novel is in English. :)

@ Scribblers Inc.

Sigh... :)

SukKu said...

Well, couldn't have liked it better. Both your post and the book by dadu "A journey into romance".

Have fade memories of having met him in my childhood but clear memories of all my dadu used to fondly talk about him. Both were friends for life and am sure are bonding big time up there.
Loved reading this!
Take care............

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ Sukku

Wish I had known your dadu better too!

Raam Pyari said...

such a warm moving post :) made me think about my childhood

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Oldfox004 said...

it took me a while to find the 'post a comment' :)
thats a beautiful story u have shared..nice to know you have copies..u can show them to ur grand kids

Adee said...

we humans are creatures of memory, whatever we are, whatever we do, it is the memory of something we did or taught or learned on our own that is behind it, behind us... you've written nicely about your personal nostalgia, of memories so old that that they bring about an ache, of gains and losses that'll stay with you till you too become a memory for someone...

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ Old Fox

Thanks and my grand kids...woah thats a long time away!

@ Adee

Couldn't have put it better! :) Thanks!

R. Ramesh said...

hey thanks yar...just heard abt mumbai blasts and got upset..but mumbai is too gr8 to be disturbed by these thugs..take care nikki and tell me y is H very silent..after marriage tum ke dekh ke itna darta hi kya?hehe

R. Ramesh said...

himanshu: hi..thanks for msg yar...nikki: thanks for staying in touch...wish v all meet at that vashi spot again with himanshu..god willing....a british writer is now writing a book on friend BB Nayak whom v met in vashi..all the best.

R. Ramesh said...

hey i forgot to say; philosopher faiyaz is back in kurla..dreaming about ayn rand and happy life..he is a nice guy...very different na..

Nikita Banerjee said...

@ R. Ramesh

Oh cool...he is some dedicated Ayn Rand fan! :D

Yup, hopefully we shall meet up soon!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Bliss

Sigh...you know I am yet to begin my literary journey!

@ Joel

Thank you!

@ Raam Pyari

Thank you!

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