Category Archives: Memories

Childhood memoir of Summer Vacations in Mangalore

The school summer vacations, a good 2 months of nothing to do. Dad packed us, me, my mom, and occasionally my sister to Mangalore, where his two sisters lived. My mother’s uncle too lived close.

Dad’s extended family comprised his 2 elder sisters and their children. Each aunt had many children. In our wonderful language, we called our male cousins “Bhavji” and our female cousins as “Vahini”.

My Cousins

The custom of spending summer vacations in Mangalore started around age five and abandoned after I grew ten years old. These five summers are the liveliest of my life. My cousins who were much older and in their youth were great fun and unique. They took me to restaurants for Gadbad ice-creams and other food, told me fascinating stories. These cousins were my childhood heroes, they could climb trees and get me fresh coconut water. They could jump from a floor or more, and they climbed into well’s if a cricket ball fell into it.

The Food

Though both aunt’s and my mothers uncle lived around Mangalore, the character of the food varied. At the aunt who lived in Mangalore city there used to lot of fish for lunches and mangoes and jackfruits to eat for deserts. With the aunt in “Puthige” (a village near Mangalore) there used be lot dosa and chutney and a wonderful homemade pickle which tasted divine with watered rice. When we reached at my mothers uncle place in Polali, we got treated to a huge watermelon fresh from the fields. My mother’s uncle then caught a chicken roaming around freely in his house front-yard and screwed it’s neck. The half dead chicken is then dispatched to the ladies for cooking. Thin Rice wafers (called as Roti) is usual accompaniment with the chicken curry.

Toilet Matters

But there were troubles too, the greatest issue for a city slicker, was the lack of toilets inside the house. Being a shy child and not keen on being led by an elder to the field for my daily defecation. Most of the times a girl cousin escorted me into the open, who I accused of sneaking in to see my behind. Open defecation in the field tormented me, even though now I consider it as an extravagance. Later the aunts got into a rat race to get the first toilet built. The city aunt won. The game plan for the aunts was whoever builds an indoor toilet’s will make us city slicker more comfortable and hence get more time at their place. More time, means more ability to influence. I don’t think it worked, my mom spent extra stay time with the family who provided her the intoxicant of choice.

Houses

Both my aunts (fathers sister) houses were as different as apples & oranges. The elder aunt’s house had 2 or 3 other houses in front of them with a center courtyard. There was a beautiful temple in the courtyard where every evening all the residents of that houses sang aarti’s (devotional songs). This typical village house surrounded by paddy fields and coconut tress looked idyllic.

The city aunt’s house was on a hill. It had a narrow un-motorable approach road. We left the rickshaw down the main road and walked to the house. The front yard of the house had fruit trees like jackfruit, mangoes. I recall the big Jackfruit tree right in front of the house where we would put up chairs and sit. The back gate of the house led to barren hill where a solitude cashew tree stood. We ate those cashew fruits sometime.

Work and Education

Most the girls in the neighbours houses of the village aunt, used to make “bidi’s” – (an Indian cigarette without filter) and sell it to the local manufacturer for cash. It helped them support the household. The marked difference between the village aunt and the city aunt was that some of the children of the city aunt studied to become graduates. The less educated cousins moved to Bombay to earn and support the family back home. A few of them worked with my father in the factory.

Aunts

The older aunt was the like Queen bee, she made sure, they was money to feed all the mouths. She did a good job to push her relatives to work. The younger aunt aptly named “Sundari” (‘O’ beautiful) was more talkative and extrovert. She educated her kids and took pride in their success.

Relationships outgrowing in time

My father got divorced and re-married. The vacations to Mangalore stopped.

Disclaimer – My memory is rather bad, maybe I got stuff here wrong. 

Memorable Drives.

As long as I have been conscious, I have always been in a car, either being driven when I was a minor or driving with someone, or driving alone.

I have driven a lot, most of the times alone, and lot many times with families and loved ones.

Driving with someone is a good opportunity to know someone, due to the circumstance of proximity, you and your companion end up talking and a kind of intimacy develops between you.

When the roads are never ending, you tend you slip into your inner consciousness. I have been aware of great compassion and love from my fellow companions during those long journeys.

Mostly my driving has been for work and only a couple of vacations. But I have had some revealing insights about my loved ones when driving. When I look back, I feel glad I took those rides with them as those 8/10 hours on the road, made me understand them much better.

Now I don’t drive, but I am looking forward to a trip with someone, somewhere on a beautiful, long winding roads, into the future.

Learning to Fight Back

As far as I remember, I was labelled as the “obedient child” a little bit early in life. An obedient child is aptly rewarded for good behaviour. Even as a child one tends to understand that one has to exhibit proper behaviour, which mostly meant “Just keep your stupid mouth shut”.

This enormous burden of a sweet boy label creates an extremely repressed young boy. The obedient child doesn’t get a chance to rebel; because of the following reasons

1) Complete denial of access to the outside world and interactions.
2) He is made entirely dependent on his parents.
3) By reiterating by action and words, that your parents can take care of all your problems.

I am not saying that this is all deliberate actions on the part of the parents, but it may be just how parents are, they want to control their creation. I hope though some enlightened parents know better than this?

I am no longer an obedient child; in fact, I have rejected the society as it is, I am one of the biggest critiques of societal norms and the superficial values it imposes so that it can make compliant citizens of everyone.

But being an armchair critique is one thing and fighting back is an entirely different ball game.

I have never learnt to fight back for my rights, because fighting back most of the time means hurting the very ones who said, they would protect you. Fighting back means telling the people you respect and sometimes even love, that they are hurting you.

Sometimes there is a such a thin line between what is rightfully yours and what’s not? It is like the predicament of Arjun who drops his weapons when given the task to eliminate his elders and loved ones.

Life is messy and it gets dirtier when faced with such a dilemma, but one has to fight and I hope I learn to fight, and always fight for the right cause.

Why I grew up thinking money was not important.

Day before yesterday, I made a statement for the first time in my life, when I met my sister and brother-in-law for my 4_ birthday celebrations.

I said “Money is my God and I dont believe in happiness in watching sunset in a beautiful scenic place” . My brother in law who is the most practical person I know off immediately understood and retorted “That, after all it takes money to travel to those exotic places to watch the beautiful sunset or sunrise and expereince that happiness”.

Flashback –

Going back say 30/35 years, I was a young kid, 7 or 10 year old, every time i told my mother I was hungry, she would just give give me the keys to the locker where there used to be lot of cash, you know that 5 Rs bundles back then? My mother was a raging alcoholic, she didnt cook at home during the day and only would cook for the evening when dad would be home, so the only recourse for her to solve my hunger was to send me w money to the nearest Udipi Hotel to fetch my masalsa dosa. I hated the fact that my mother wont cook for me, like other mothers did, I fell really sick with Jaundice eating those Masalsa Dosa everyday. After which my father imported a cousin home from mangalore to do the cooking.

Even with my father, who was quite sucessful in monetary terms could never spend any quality time talking to me or he never had time to take my tutions or take me out for fun, i think I saw my first circus when I was well in my teens.

With all the houses and the factories Dad set up, I thought, there was no quality of life for me. This was my perception that there was a lot of money at home, but then I realise, my father was stressed all the time, because he was always short of money to raise capital for his varied projects and had created substantial financial debts and he worked a 12/14 hour day, day in and day out, but that's his story.

I wonder sometimes, will we ever feel, we have enough money, so that we can nurture our loved ones or is it going to be a life of unfulfilled responsibilites because there was never enough money?

I wonder how people with complete financial security (if there is such thing as financial security) live their lives, are they better at dealing with their loved ones, or is it over indulgence with money which spoils their kids?

Up until now, I feel I have been living off my fathers assets, now it is time to make my own money and before that I need to learn to love money. I still dont know if chanting “Money is my God” a 1000 times a day will make me get over this childhood distaste(Hate) for money.

 

 

Love is a memory.

Memory is basically an idea or a perspective of yours. You might base it on your experiences, view some memories as pleasant and touching, while other memories as bitter. Now some may want to keep these memories locked in a vault, but this blogpost is for those who would rather plead amnesia.

Love thy children
Forget you have given birth to your child, forget the labour pains, forget all the tender moments, forget the child called you mama or papa, forget the child embracing you. Forget how much you were worried when the child was ill and you pleaded to God to take your life and nothing to happen to the child. Forget all those growing up days from baby to a gawky teen. Would you still love your child? Well, if you forget everything about your child, any child would be a child, and there would be no discrimination.

Love thy parents
Forget your parents taking you our for a movie, forget your parents putting up money so you could go to college, forget the cooking they did for you, forget that they nursed you back to health. Forget how secure you felt around them. Would you still love them? Think about it, rather don’t think.

Lover
Forget you think she is attractive, forget her voice, forget her hair, forget her eyes, forget how sensitive she is, forget how much you long for her, forget she exists. Would you still love her?

All our actions are based on the memories we have, think about all the discrimination we unknowingly commit in the name of protecting the ones we love. Just a idea, or you can forget about this blogpost.

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Revisiting the Past.

Making a journey to the past, revisiting it. The journey to the past would be only constrained by the memories (of happiness and sadness).

reconstructing it with new adult perspectives and reinforcing the relationships which were meant to be broken and healing them by thought.

The past shouldn’t be treated like a trash can, it can be salvaged and re-aligned with your present and might just make the future richer.

So what are the tools we have to revisit the past. I am starting a dairy for each relationship, for each phase, for each venture in the past and reconstructing it with memory. I am writing non linearly, whatever comes to my mind. Do let me know if you have other tools to revisit the past. Maybe past life regression? Has it worked for you?

There is too much of a treasure left behind to let it go. It is a short life as we all say, nothing is worth losing.

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Songs that remind you of people.

Songs sometimes take you back to certain period in life, where you met someone or someone recommended the song or that someone sang it to you. I get along well with people with good taste in music and I highly appreciate the learnings, or sometimes its just their love and passion for that particular song which gets embedded into my minds record and whenever it plays the memories are scratched which gets worse with time, but nevertheless it helps to remember these people. Here is a small playlist which I could think of or my memory could jog only so far. I will keep adding to this list as and when Iam able to remember the songs which remind me of the lovely people who left their footprints in the memory. Check out the playlist below, and let me know, if you enjoyed this one?