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“A family is a shelter where you can go and be accepted for what you are, all your whims are understood, all your ill-doings are forgiven and you can start every day knowing that you are loved.”
Every day at my home is full of memories because of the lively nature of my parents. I am told that my father was very naughty as a kid, so much so, that he was nicknamed “chanchal”. My maternal grandfather is good with words, he holds masters’ degrees in both Hindi and English; and a bit of that quick-wit has been passed on to my mother. So fireworks are always ready to go at my home.
Here are a few of the memories, thinking of which, I can’t stop smiling. Trust me, things like these happen almost daily at my home-
|Me (Right), Bro (Left) and Dad!!|
Dad versus Varanasi
We were in the city of temples: Varanasi to attend the wedding of one of my cousins. My Dad decided to take us out for a quick tour of the city when everyone else was busy with the preparations. We had hired a Mahindra Xylo and were having a hard time in the narrow lanes of the age-old city and on that, the heat and humidity were making things difficult. That’s when Dad decided to have some fun. We stopped at the most popular lassi joint in the city, Dad signaled the attendant there to come to our car. He came running. Dad asked him- “Bhaiya yahan ghaat kahan hai?” (Sir, where would we find a river bank for worship purpose here?). The shop-owner, slightly disappointed said- “Yahan toh assi se upar ghat hain, aap kya baat kar rahe hain?” (This is the temple town, there are more than 80 ghaats here!) Dad said, “Oh nahi, humne suna hai waha lassi achchhi milegi!” (No, no, we’ve heard that we can find good lassi there.) Now the Varanasi humour in the owner was waking up- He went on, still slightly puzzled, “Sir ghaat pe toh lassi nahi milegi“.
Dad- Fir kahan milegi? (Then where can we find some lassi?)
Shopkeeper (Now slowly realizing that Dad was pulling his leg)- Yahan mil jayegi sir… (You can try here sir)
Dad- Kya baat kar rahe ho? Ye lassi ki dukaan hai? (You don’t say! Really?)
Shopkeeper- *grinning* ji sir, ek baar try toh keejiye. (Try once sir)
In the evening, Dad went to a dhaba with us to taste authentic Varanasi food. The exchange between the dhaba owner and him still brings smile to my face-
Dad- Bhaiya khana kya bhav diya? (At what rate do you sell food here?)
Hotel owner- Khaana… bhav…
(thinking for a while)
Hotel owner- Depends on what you order sir…(confused look)
We were in splits!
We went to visit Sarnath during that trip. We browsed around every temple there except one Stupa. My mom thought she was missing out on something great. When we were about to leave, she said, “turn the car around! We forgot to visit the stoopa.” All were tired except my Dad! He told the driver to turn around, drive to the stoopa.
We went in and there it was! A large structure, round in shape. We turned at mom with a frown, she was defensive, grinning- she said- Arey! this is the most important thing in Sarnath! Where are the gates to get in?
On being told that there are no gates to go inside that thing because of which we were made to turn around and come out in this scorching heat, her face was red with embarrassment and summer heat! While my dad had a cunning smirk on his face. Now he had something to tease mom with during the whole trip. “Jao jao… inhe stoop dikhao” (No, no, go go, see that stupa) was his line for the next few hours.
(Stupa: Buddhist Burial Place)
Holi at my Home
As a kid I used to detest the festival of Holi with a vengeance. The memories of holi are still fresh in my mind. All the teenagers and adults of our neighbourhood would come to our home. My Dad would sit on a chair and then they would paint him to their heart’s content.
All the neighbourhood aunties would form a gang and come after 1 pm when my mother would have had bath, chase her down and drown her in colours.
Holi was like a planned attack on my parents to me. Now I look back and smile.
Dadi ki kahaniyan
|Dadi and me|
My grandma would tell me stories every afternoon. Not fables, no pari ki kahani but the stories of my Dad’s naughtiness as a child. I still wonder how all that can be true. The stories about how my dad went and dived from a bridge to an overflowing river stream and still somehow swam his way across the stream; how he climbed a palm tree and fell on a bush of thorns still fascinate me.
|Me (Rightmost) with cousins|
A good friendship with cousins connects you to the whole big family. For me it came naturally. Every summer, during the vacations, all of ’em would visit us and it was a house of chaos. Those luka chupi sessions in the afternoon, taiji giving us rasna drinks in the evening, sleeping in groups on the mattresses spread on the floor, staying up late nights- were all pretty awesome memories. I was the soundest sleeper of them all. Every morning, everyone would come and try to wake me up in their own authentic style. Some would request, some would plead, some even tried to bribe me and some just used brute force. Sometimes I pretended to sleep on just to enjoy them trying so hard.
Now a re-post from my old blog posts- These memories are fresh as dew drops too-
The caring grandfather
|Chhote dadaji and Dadaji|
My grandfather is a very caring and loving soul. He used to watch out for me all the time and used to panic whenever I used to fall or collide. He still does but, now I am a big boy and he knows that I can take care of myself. He still is generous with his words of caution and I soak it all in because I know it’s his love speaking. When I had newly learned riding the bicycle, I used to ride in my colony and it was ok, but the first time I wanted to take it to my school and “show off”, he was worried. He gave me his word of caution and I heard him, took mental notes, I was nervous too. When I set off in the morning for school, I heard the sound of his Luna, turned around to see that he was ready to come with me. He drove by side, watching out and taking care of me. I still can’t forget that day.
The Diwali cleaning
Every year, on diwali, me and my Dad climb up the attics and clean up all the dust to please Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi. The cloth-piece across our nose, the broom cleaning up spider-webs from the nooks and crannies, the way we work as a team, sharing that special bond and the love toward our abode- make this experience 100% real.
My stubborn childhood
I was an undemanding, simple kid as a child but there is one blot on my record. Once we were on a trip, I was some 3-4 years old and we went to visit a family. In their home, there was a toy dog neatly kept in the drawing room shelf! I don’t remember it but my parents tell me that I threw a huge tantrum until the toy was taken out and given to me. I still have that dog with me, at my home. It stays in the drawing room shelf looking at me, telling me that I wasn’t a 100% real good boy! I don’t know why but that feeling makes me warm from inside.
These are just a few of the everyday memories that I have collected at home. I have lost count. I hope and pray that everyone may get to live, love and be loved by his family because nothing is stronger than the bond of a family.