Rambles, Rhymes and Tales

the last day of march

things keep moving

moving so fast

one moment it’s there

and now it’s gone

what about the things that stay on?

as the years pass, i notice it’s getting to be quite an intense experience. this feeling of leaving, not childhood or youth or the thirties or forties or a month or year behind, or some idea of who one is… no.

it’s like i leave worlds behind.

entire universes, planets with their own sun, moon, and stars; their own oceans and volcanoes, their magnetism, their atmosphere, their own core and crust and their poles. their own laws of motion and their own time frame. as if thoughts can bend time, not just gravity or some other force of nature.

perhaps thoughts are a force of nature.

what transpired when i was five years old, say, it’s almost impossible to find the words to explain that now. to give a complete account. not wanting in any detail, every aspect across all planes encapsulated, and make you sense it exactly as i had. something gets lost… entirely missed. i wish i could reach back and pull the exact picture, with every information intact, here. but how does one do that? there’s such a distance between time and time. between understanding something now and experiencing it then.

age is supposed to make one feel nostalgic. i can’t say i yearn for what is gone. just that it astonishes me how many worlds we travel through – and how different and diverse they are – as we live and breathe and let time pull us along. you can’t train your gaze on these worlds, these universes, through telescopes; or gauge their existence via esoteric maths; or jump into spaceships and take off to look for them.

they are right here… where you are. and even as you leave them, you carry them in you. conventional ideas of space, time, the physical universe, whatever we have found till now and talk about, all those don’t really apply… it’s another dimension.

i’ll be fifty seven soon, i have whirled through all sorts of galaxies and universes by now, some traversed by others before me, some entirely my own discovery and i the first to set foot there. monsters lurk in some, mesmerising creatures beckon elsewhere. wonder where i’ll land up next, what world i’ll gather within me. i am excited…

tell me, do you get this feeling? that it’s not just a chain of memories we store inside us, but something with much more girth, structure, elements, presence? like a series of worlds or whatever you like to call them. do leave your thoughts. i was just mumbling about this feeling i have and hoping to catch a good chat on it.

 

………………………..

i was five, i think. the henna hedge was about as tall as me. i was there giggling and running along a little path that led from my grandmother’s long cavernous bedroom to my uncle’s room. there were cousins, a bright day in delhi. i think it was summer or thereabouts. the gardens were green, one in the front, semi circular; one behind and then behind another long trimmed hedge of henna, the fruit trees… in front of us was the tall hedge along the boundary of the house, where you could hear jackals at times. i saw one even walking by the dark green shrubs, my fear and amazement still on the little girl’s face staring out at me. banker mama, the uncle of the bank, what a lovely name for the favourite uncle who worked for, yes, a bank. how do i explain the feeling of loving an uncle at that age, he was all about fun; mischief; glinting brown eyes, small, pert lips smiling, crisp crackly laughter, you could break all the rules. today, he had a tall glass of amber liquid in his hand, a rim of white froth on it. his room was not too large, it was an addition to the sprawling white bungalow in the heart of lutyens’ delhi… tughlaq road, where the jamun trees were tall and thick and sometimes the jamun fell all around on the grey dusty pavements. full intact ones, squished ones, purple juice spattered on grey asphalt (or whatever they make footpaths with). a man sat under a tree, i think he sat at least, selling thongas – bags made of paper with some print or scribbles on them, news papers, work sheets reused – of purple, plump jamuns, sprinkled with a spiced up salt. how do i explain the aroma of that mix, exactly which spot in the nose it hit and made you swallow, the texture and that astringent thing in it that made you purse your lips, and shiver slightly as the taste registered… the tang on the tip of the tongue, the sudden rush of sweet and sour and something else, the thrill… kids laughing. but to get back to that liquid in banker mama’s tall glass… a slender glass with the sides curving in gracefully, then flaring out just a bit, the froth at the rim. we all knew the amber liquid was beer. and banker mama would let us have a sip. the cold chilled zippy fluid, effervescence tickling the throat, a sizzle in the mouth. this is forbidden. we are quickly taking our sips and covering our mouths as we laugh. how do i explain the nature of the sunlight on our skins as we ran down the path, the warmth we carried into the cool, greyish blue room, the feeling of freedom… delhi of 1965, its entire sense and every nuance in that moment of stealing a sip of something not meant for children and an uncle who’d do anything for you.

 

picture courtesy uploader. that’s delhi’s regal cinema in connaught place. after 85 years, the landmark theatre is closing down. yesterday it screened its last show… banker mama’s friend bachcha uncle’s family owned regal. so many memories of regal cinema, the movies, the sitting in the “box”.

 

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