Tuesday, August 18, 2015

that room of mine has so many stories....

A room of my own is perhaps a gift, the value of which I didn't realize till I talked to a recent and a very accomplished friend of mine who told me that she did not have the luxury of her own space during her formative childhood years. Just  like we  undermine so many other things that we take for granted that we are awarded without ourselves making any effort.

Oh how I felt an empathetic gush of emotion towards her when she divulged this fact, for the closeness that I feel with her. She belongs to another full fledged space for herself. Coming to the recollected vision of my favorite space, my room: the first memory that comes to me is that of the vast open sky over the terrace space that led to my very own small yet large enough territory. The sky space was also available through a window as large as a door posted in my room. It was securely partially grilled for preventive measures while allowing the upper part thoroughly free to connect to the open area outside. I remember standing there more often than not drinking from the city scape scenes outside. There were sights and sounds that greeted innocent visions now and then popping up sensational surprises. The most entertaining of the scenes were enacted by the dramatis personae I'd like you to make an attempt to guess.

Without unnecessary delay I must whisper in your ears that they were none other than troops of monkeys that harmoniously co existed with the humans in those traditional residential areas adjacent to the locally flavored bazaars. Oh what antics they would award us with every now and then! And for all the harmony that coexisted between the two species, there were only these very frequent visitations by their shrewdly demanding blackmailing  herds. All that they would very politely do was just to snatch away the clothes that would gullibly be drying up upon the unsuspecting clotheslines! And if the poor owners weren't buoyant and quick witted enough, before they would realize the clothes would be meeting a terribly mournful fate of being turned to tatters within as much as the blink of an eye! The simians would generally nevertheless end up being rewarded  with rotis or any thing for that matter temptingly edible that the owners could fish out as instantly as possible! And Lo! The clothes would mostly be parted with and dropped back while you would be looking on with utmost hope flickering through its last remnants towards any life still remaining in that outfit!!

On one instance I recall my mother bravely snatching back a very expensive shirt of my father that would otherwise have met with the same ruinous misfortune! It was about to be dying a premature death at the hands of a ravenous female monkey who knew howto get her job done. The joy of that victory is still potent enough to bring back a smile of a puffed up chest at the recollection of a warrior mom!!

One more very hilarious event that I was lucky enough to be an inadvertent spectator to was when i saw a child of about 11 or 12 years mishandled rather unceremoniously by a senior patriarch of the clan. I was just as usual ruminatively posted over the huge and expansive window of my very own room, when all of a sudden i accost this very unusual spectacle! He, the graybeard must as I assume now, had been ill treated by his wife, or perhaps his boss, oh who know's what..was definitely in a bad mental demeanor. Thus he naturally found his frustration venting itself out upon this boy so strangely! All that the poor ape did was catch hold of the boy's hair with both his hands while shaking his head to his utmost oscillatory capacity before he decided to spare him. I could almost pinch myself back to senses, or wildly rub my eyes to believe what i had just seen. It was not the normal way the aggression of monkeys was known to have expressed itself. There were serious monkey bite instances often heard. But this was a mild treat in comparison. The little boy must have been as zapped as i was just viewing the scene from my far off window!

There are numerous memories that are tumbling unstoppable as I have taken a willful dive into that lovely past, that are endearingly related to that loving, cozy, pampering, motherly room of mine. So I cannot help but promise to come back with many more sensational one's that are waiting to take off from the precipice of those nostalgic branches.

Wistfully Yours,

Saturday, August 15, 2015

All is Well That Ends well...

That day could have been the last one of my life, without whispering any such premonitions into my innocent ears! The day of one of my ultimate infantile adventures, which for all you may guess could be pedestrian from the point of view of veterans. Actually it was something that I glamorised within the heart of my hearts to venture into. I had after all heard of many, every year crossing The English Channel! If not as soaring, I could do something as simple as crossing that little stretch of the backwaters which happened to be right behind the resort that we were staying in at Kerela. And that was it.
Kerala is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is blessed with high mountains, beautiful coastlines, dense rainforest, aromatic tea, and coffee and spice plantations. The cultural heritage of Kerala goes back thousands of years, but one aspect of Kerala that I liked most during my trip was the backwaters in there.   
The thought germinated into a full-fledged, well-conceived fanciful plan and was now at the verge of taking off. The authorities back in the resort had given us a clear green signal in favour of the little adventure, adding to my motivation with the bit of information of lots of foreigners doing it there. Sanjay, my very responsible husband decided to take care of my little one in his arms while himself lodged in a small boat being rowed parallel with me all the way to the other end. The plan was that we shall together be reaching the bank on the other side which was actually an isthmus separating the river on our side and no less than the magnanimous Arabian Sea on the other! What could have been a more mouth-watering idea than to be undertaking a project so miniscule and yet so mighty as to venture into the river waters, to be exact, the famous back waters of Kerala! From a macho swimming background in a pool maximum of 50 mtrs to a meagre river stretch of at least 500mtrs joining into the enormous Ocean, wasn’t such a big thing, was it?
We started early, assuming the feat shall be through in an hour, since like I said, the stretch didn’t seem so uphill. And there I was, wading in those back waters of an almost welcoming lagoon. A lagoon, just for reminder’s sake (I didn’t say you almost forgot your basic geography) is, a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Yes! It seemed that this almost still body of water was going to assist me in reaching my destination within no time. But once having been commenced it was already beginning to give me some jitters that entailed these tingling sensations resulting from brushing against long sea weeds or for all I could guess, unidentified sea creatures. No, no!! No psudo attempts to rake up sensations already. There weren’t any sharks or crocks lurking in those non transparent waters so to speak as confirmed by the resort people. Yet anything even far smaller was enough to trigger some goose bumps, in spite of my brave attempts at overlooking them. Thank fully I was safe as far as any such dreadful possibilities were concerned. 
Having started in my free style stroke, to prevent exhaustion from taking over I found myself switching over to the more relaxing back stroke sooner than later. But something unusual was beginning to happen. I noticed my husband’s boat drifting away from me instead of maintaining the parallel track it was meant to. I was clueless. My mind however did not intensify the inquiry in that direction. I was more or less still at ease dealing with the here and now of managing through those shallow waters that I realised were much shallower than I could possibly imagine. They were as I understood later a proper coral inhabited area. But the fact of their boat mysteriously distancing itself from me did not become my boiling query, which by all means should have.
I was still lying with my back upon the cushy waters managing my distance with mild leg movement, that all at once I noticed my hubby wildly gesticulating something at me. I was bewildered at that body language. My ears that had all this while been immersed in the water jerked themselves out with my head becoming erect to gather some meaning out of all that confusion. And I instantly understood that I was being commanded by him to do something that was imperative. I could faintly gather him instructing me to another direction, away from where I was heading. I have thankfully been an obedient partner at times, and fortunately so in instances like this one. I followed suit and I saw a host of local fishermen gathered there on the bank vehemently conveying me to be out of the waters while simultaneously beckoning me towards them. I found myself instinctively compliant. And whoa! Here I was pulled out and now standing on my two feet being given the facts with a dash of a hype deservedly awarded to the possibility I could have rolled into. I was heedless towards actually being siphoned into the ocean with the outward flowing backwaters!
Really! But how come? They divulged something that we should have been informed by the resort authorities in advance.
The night before, due to heavy downpour the backwaters were on a high tide. And the current was very strong.  Now I could see the pieces of the jigsaw making some sense…No wonder I was sweeping towards another direction. Because it was the current that was pulling me!! So while Sanjay’s boatman was taking the boat in the intended direction I was headed towards another. And it would have been a matter of a couple of more moments before it would have put me in the very mouth of the ocean becoming a tiny morsel to it. Its mighty suction would have made it impossible to be pulled back from as confirmed by the experienced fishermen who looked so alarmed at the prospect of somebody getting into it in front of them. Phew!!
Safe and sound, I can propound Shakespeare’s “All’s well that ends well”, without of course not overlooking the role that fortune plays in our lives.

one of my favorite childhood places...

Here rang the lunch bell in my school, and there we would be marching enthusiastically towards our generally visited place. Away, “far from the madding crowd”, ha! Interestingly impervious to inviting one and all…a secluded spot in the midst of a green thicket adjoining a highly coveted swimming pool that lay deserted and empty. Those years were spent craving to get into that irresistible reservoir. Though as good as sterile for its hapless water less ambiance, its existence seemed insatiate, for this was all it called for. All these put together, had as though those low frequency calls as made by the elephants inaudible to the general ears…perhaps. For I found a unique fulfillment in that locale, and was never too habituated to it, to have it drone monotony.

It was upon an elevated pedestal like structure i.e. towering slightly higher than the rest of the vast expanse of the landscape. A landscape that constituted the seeming endlessly green football field beyond which lay residences outside the lilting and trusting low rising boundary walls. They really were as I imagine such innocent walls, to the world we now live in, wherein that height would be a mockery to the idea of safety …This pool however had a high wall surrounding it withal. Though it was an altogether different matter that we found ways to sneak into the arms of it once or twice still.

So as the bell would announce the commencement of lunch, I and my dear friend would, with our march along with our humble tiffin’s, reach this back side of the pool. An area out of bounds for the primary and the junior school children, as given to us to understand. But like I said it were these chaste infringements that are characteristic to the temperament of the likes of children born with lesser ability to adapt to the conventional skills of social interaction. So activities like these would perhaps be more fulfilling to the otherwise unexpressed beings, awarding them with a dint of courage at doing things others were not bold or perhaps creative enough to do. All accomplished unintentionally…

Here we were calmly adjusted upon a wide wall that had adequate place for us to spread our platters and ourselves upon it under the canopy of a love showering tree densely drowned in the cool shady patch of a prolific out pour of leaves, offering its affectionate muscular branches a secure entertainment for us once we were done with our lunch. Though I only faintly recall that part, the teen shade was on one side on top of which we could climb and walk, and the other was this wall extending into this huge almost paternal tree further followed by an almost steep downward slope awarding a brisk walk back into the fields on one side and the school building on the other.
Back within no time, as that one generous hour of lunch break would fade into memory of a few miserly moments, from whose treasure chest have I bartered these nostalgic recollections sprinkled with a an urge to reach out to touch it just one more time…Something so much a part of my being, so thoroughly etched in the stone pillars of my regurgitable memory banks, yet so far away as to never get one more chance to touch and feel them as real as they were, once upon a time. ‘Time: the eternal illusion’ seems then, wisely expressed.

Bhoomika Jain