I have always thought of myself as someone who lives mostly in the past. By that I mean, I think of my past a lot. And by think, I mean in an analyzing sort of way and not why-did-that-happen-to-me sort of way. More than necessary, maybe. I love talking about the past, drawing inspiration from the past, thinking about how I behaved in the past and analyzing it. I rarely think about the future. It sometimes scares me that I literally have no idea where I want to be in life few years from now, or few days from now. Needless to say, nostalgia is a big thing in my life.
And for this reason, trips to India, to home, are even more special. Apart from meeting some of the most dear people, I feel I always find more about myself when I visit places which were a big part of me (in a more active way) many years back. And this time, the trip started amazingly the moment I came out of the Mumbai airport. In spite of me telling my mom not to exert herself and come to the airport, there she was, standing in the crowd, wearing a familiar salwar-kameez and with her trademark shock-white hair (which I was sad to note had become even whiter in the past year). I literally ran to her, we hugged each other and as usual she remarked how thin and underfed I looked. (She always says this, even though I go back with extra pounds!)
We boarded the service/travels which ferries travelers from Mumbai to Pune along with 4 other people. I made myself comfortable and opened the dabba which mom had got for me (again, something she does every time!), which had my favorite faral items. This was the first time I was going home during diwali in 6 years and needless to say, it was bliss eating all that amazing stuff after what seemed like an eternity.
Anyway, we got talking with one other traveler in the car, an uncle who stayed in the same locality we used to stay many years back. My mom and he both remarked that how they think their faces look familiar, when after some time we realized that he is the same uncle who used to own and run an ice cream shop (Dinshaw’s brand) right around the corner of my childhood home. And we used to frequent the shop often. I remember the shop fondly (though I was very young to recollect the face of the uncle who ran the shop), I also remember the name of the ice cream sundae I used to always take. It was called “jumble double” and consisted of two scoops of ice cream in the flavor of your choice, topped with chocolate and caramel syrups and some nuts. This was long back, almost 20 years back and that uncle was amazed that I remembered what I used to order. But then a lot of people are amazed when I tell them I remember very small details (probably insignificant, now) from my childhood. Things like parts of conversation with people or what I had exactly thought on a particular day at a particular moment or what I had eaten on a particular day many years back. Anyway, the uncle said that the shop no longer exists and he retired some years ago. It was such fun talking about all the familiar places around our old locality.
The moment we got out of Mumbai and hit the expressway, the driver of our car put some songs on his CD player and I was delighted to hear all the familiar Sandeep Khare’s poems and songs. Khare is one of my favorite marathi poets. Our conversation slowly dissolved in the songs as we savored the melodies. I think the ride from Mumbai to pune was one of the highlights of the trip. The setting was perfect. It was dawn (around 4.30 am) and the sun had just started to rise, a cool breeze on an unusually empty expressway, amazing melodies emanating from the player, my mom by my side and me munching on home cooked snacks and thinking about all the good things in life. Also, I saw one of the best sunrises I have ever seen, that morning. When we entered a still-sleepy Pune, we crossed a bridge and I saw this silhouette of a rower with his boat in the river, and the orange-yellow soft sunlight beautifully lighting up the entire river which was partially covered by fog. It almost killed me a little bit that I could not get the car to stop so that I could capture that amazing setting on my camera. I sighed and savored that setting with my eyes, and dreamed about home.
Thank you for visiting :)