Muse n' Motivation

The Thinking Blog!

A Flash Visit in Nostalgia

The Journey into The Past!

Just imagine a scenario. You are about to visit a family after decades. As you board the train/plane which is to take you to a place not visited for years, your mind runs and re-runs through a plethora of past memories that you have treasured. You remember the trivialities of childhood, the fun games of school and the twists and turns of early friendship. You are just reaching the place. As you get nearer you find your heart beating faster, your eyes moistening and a nostalgic emotion overpowering you. You are expecting to see things just the way you left them when you left the place way back. But, you are in for a rude shock! Things have changed. And the family is no longer there!

I am standing before my old house – the house I had grown up from a little baby to a skinny teenager, from complete innocence to an adolescent. My house stands as it is (thankfully!!) in this age of demolition and reconstruction. Nothing is changed here. Those windows from where I peeped still stand there having got used to new hands that open and close them everyday. The little gate stands there too. I dare not touch it for fear of hearing a strange sound as it swings open (the old rattling sound is a part of my memory that I do not want to change, ever).

Yeah, that's me climbing down those very stairs...

The old winding staircase stands still as if waiting for me to run up its stairs once again. I just watch it nostalgically remembering my mother wait for me everyday as I came from school. I know now that if I walk up the stairs she will not be there. The natural waves of time have taken her way in their grasp never to return. So, I just stare and watch. My eyes begin to moisten. Then, I see my neighbour. She is surprised to see me with husband and son in tow.

“What is this Shail?” she asks of me. “Why do you breeze in like this?”

I try justifying how I came to attend a wedding and have to rush back home as my son has his exams starting at the end of the month.

“Oh! You are talking just like your mother,” she says. “She too used to run after you during exams.”

I reconnect with my mother once again.

Somewhere else, I see a friend who tells me that my looks have undergone a drastic transformation. I, who looked more like my father as a child and teenager look just like my mother now. I hoped my mother was listening.

‘Mummy, people are remembering you through me’ I want to tell her.

I want to show my old school to my son. Those castle like buildings in the convent looked as mysterious and awe-inspiring as before but before I can swerve into the school I find that the road that I used everyday for so many years is a ‘one way’ route now. I take the back entrance. There too I am prevented from getting in. ‘One way’ you see.

“Never mind beta,” I tell my son. “ Mama will show you her school some other day.”

“But you promised Mama” my son protests.

High rise buildings crouching over memories...

But, we have a wedding reception to attend and we move away from that past memory to return sometime in the near future maybe. Everywhere I go I encounter tall buildings blocking my sight from the landmarks that I knew so well. IT companies tower over us. Roads and shortcuts that I frequented so often have now been usurped by dominating flyovers. Huge buses block my vision and the driver of the taxi I am travelling in does not know where to turn (he is from Salem).

“What Madam?” he asks of me. “You told me that you had lived here for so many years and now every turn you tell me is taking us in the wrong direction.”

“What to do Jaffer?” I tell him. “That was way back. Now almost everything has changed.”

The traffic is terrible. We inch along. That’s the bookshop I purchased books from. That’s the ice-cream parlour. I keep pointing out places like an enthusiastic teenager. I become the little girl in Bangalore once again. My son and husband are amused.

My aged father who is accompanying us and for whom this trip means the most is drawn in the current of the past as he hugs his old friends. They are pages that are getting read again now after years of dust having gathered on them. As I see my father interact with his friends I can see the delight in his eyes. I can see his eyes tell me, “ The pages of my book have just got dog-eared. I am here to fold them back.” I know he is re-connecting with the past once again. I wish my mother were here sharing all this with us. Maybe, she was.

We reach the place of the wedding reception after getting lost in the crowded city for god-knows-how-many-times. I see my childhood friend and his cute bride. Memories from the past come gushing in as I see several others at the reception, each person sharing a part of my memorable past. Some were plain acquaintances then but today as I see them grown into adults something tugs deep inside. I see uncles and aunts delighted to see their little girl again. More than that, they are happy to get introduced to the extended family of my husband and son. Some have seen us last at the wedding while some go way back in my history of events. There is music being played at the wedding. People are celebrating. I am too moved to feel anything but plain nostalgia. Somebody calls upon me to join the fun in the wedding celebration. I shake a leg or two. My son and husband are amused but realize that shaking a leg is better than having a misty-eyed woman amidst them. They join in the fun too. We all are celebrating.

I am back home now. Oh the joy and pain that old memories give! Bangalore may have become a concrete jungle from the garden city that I knew but the spirit of the past still lingers on.
Memories on Mondays

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18 Comments

  1. Excellent account of ur visit Shail. I rarely get a chance to visit such my old schools & houses. It is very difficult to identify the old houses in view of massive changes in every city. Many foreigners take great pains to reconnect & trace their origins. But in this rat race, no one has time u see….

  2. Geetashree Chatterjee

    Very nostalgic account, Shail, loved it. We all go through these phases. Don’t we? Once in a while. Sometimes we need not physically move in to that other world. The musty pages of an old book, the mellow breeze of autumn. the fragranceful evenings of Spring, passing by my school building which is in the centre of the city and we are now pushed to the suburbs, too make me nostalgic and take me way back in time when I was small, the jasmine bush on the courtyard of my house or my favourite authors whom I used to read and re-read, the secrets which I shared with my friends and they in turn made promises to be in touch even if they were in their doddering eighties, all come back like a breath of breeze or wisp of smoke to flow by again into eternity.

  3. Shail,
    A nice write up like this feels like a breath of fresh air in the blogjungle!
    Om

  4. Nostalgic thought bring back memories of sweet olden days that is why it is said ‘Old is Gold’.

  5. Param

    beautifully written..you actually made me feel your nostalgic past, what more can i say..

  6. Bhargavi

    A very good one, Shail.
    I too went through some of the nostalgic moments, when we (my husband, mil, my daughters and son) visited our motherland, after a very loooong time.

  7. Sneha

    Shail, I found these to be one of your best pieces.
    It reminded me of an article written by Sudha Murthy where she mentions about the lady who went to Pakistan amidst familiar lanes after some twenty odd years, and things had taken a change for the worse. The once well-known lanes and by-lanes appeared like a stranger, a completely unknown unfamiliar, unknown city.

    About my personal experience, there’s a route to Wadala (a place where my family lived before things went horribly wrong) and there’s a bus right from my house which goes till there. I deliberately take that bus instead of the thousand others from the main road, whenever I want to go to the other side of the city. It is a little of a long journey sometimes, but who’s complaining, eh? I love seeing our building, the window visible and someone else’s clothes hanging there on the rope. I love the lanes where me and mom, gran all of us passed together.
    Yes, nostalgia. Sometimes that’s all needed to keep one alive.

  8. A.Hari :
    Excellent account of ur visit Shail. I rarely get a chance to visit such my old schools & houses. It is very difficult to identify the old houses in view of massive changes in every city. Many foreigners take great pains to reconnect & trace their origins. But in this rat race, no one has time u see….

    Hi Hari, Thanks for your comment. Do try to take some time out and reconnect with your past. It is a beautiful feeling…

  9. Geetashree Chatterjee :
    Very nostalgic account, Shail, loved it. We all go through these phases. Don’t we? Once in a while. Sometimes we need not physically move in to that other world. The musty pages of an old book, the mellow breeze of autumn. the fragranceful evenings of Spring, passing by my school building which is in the centre of the city and we are now pushed to the suburbs, too make me nostalgic and take me way back in time when I was small, the jasmine bush on the courtyard of my house or my favourite authors whom I used to read and re-read, the secrets which I shared with my friends and they in turn made promises to be in touch even if they were in their doddering eighties, all come back like a breath of breeze or wisp of smoke to flow by again into eternity.

    Hi Geeta,

    You yourself have given a lovely description of the past and the beauty of it all. Yes, nostalgia is a beautiful emotion making you happy and sad at the same time…

  10. d.om prakash narayan :
    Shail,
    A nice write up like this feels like a breath of fresh air in the blogjungle!
    Om

    Hi Om,
    Breath of fresh air! Ah! coming from you, that is indeed a compliment…

  11. S.R.Ayyangar :
    Nostalgic thought bring back memories of sweet olden days that is why it is said ‘Old is Gold’.

    Hello SRA,

    Yes, very true. Nostalgia is indeed a joy to behold, a treasure for life…

  12. Param :
    beautifully written..you actually made me feel your nostalgic past, what more can i say..

    Hi Param,

    That you could feel what I felt makes me satisfied that my writing reached across to somebody at least….
    Thanks Param. Hope to see more of you here…

  13. Sneha :

    Shail, I found these to be one of your best pieces.
    It reminded me of an article written by Sudha Murthy where she mentions about the lady who went to Pakistan amidst familiar lanes after some twenty odd years, and things had taken a change for the worse. The once well-known lanes and by-lanes appeared like a stranger, a completely unknown unfamiliar, unknown city.

    About my personal experience, there’s a route to Wadala (a place where my family lived before things went horribly wrong) and there’s a bus right from my house which goes till there. I deliberately take that bus instead of the thousand others from the main road, whenever I want to go to the other side of the city. It is a little of a long journey sometimes, but who’s complaining, eh? I love seeing our building, the window visible and someone else’s clothes hanging there on the rope. I love the lanes where me and mom, gran all of us passed together.
    Yes, nostalgia. Sometimes that’s all needed to keep one alive.

    Hi Sneha,

    Yes, going back to the past can make us tread into some painful memories too..

    That my article could remind you of Sudha Murthy’s writing – that’s nice!:)

  14. Bhargavi :

    A very good one, Shail.
    I too went through some of the nostalgic moments, when we (my husband, mil, my daughters and son) visited our motherland, after a very loooong time.

    Hi Bhargavi,

    Knowing what I do about you, yes, it must have been a lovely feeling. Seeing one’s motherland from afar and then visiting it, touching its mud, sensing the halo of one’s land – it’s all so different and lovely no?

  15. Nice write up Shail 🙂 and very nostalgic . I had almost the same experience when I went to my mother’s place . Could completely relate to you 🙂

    It feels like you are using a time machine like the ones used in Harry Potter .

  16. Krishna Leela :
    Nice write up Shail and very nostalgic . I had almost the same experience when I went to my mother’s place . Could completely relate to you
    It feels like you are using a time machine like the ones used in Harry Potter .

    Hi Krishna,

    Nice that you liked my article. And comparing it to a time machine! That was fabulous.

  17. I was just delighted when I discovered that the link you left on my Memories on Mondays blog led to this wonderful story! For many years now I have lived more than 1000 miles from my family home. I was able to return there very seldom, most recently for my Father’s funeral one year ago. Each time I made the long journey home, sometimes with a spouse or children accompanying me, I experienced feelings much the same as yours, sadness at what had changed, nostalgia for old times remembered, and joy for friendships and family bonds renewed. You wrote this story wonderfully! I hope you’ll share more stories on Memories on Mondays, the new link for this week is up now!

  18. Dear Josie,

    Nice of you to drop by and comment. I am happy that you liked the write-up and also identified with the sentiments mentioned. Yes, I hope to continue sharing more stories for Memories on Mondays.

    Thanks.

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