What triggered this whole upsurge of emotions and consequently ended on this page was a simple request by a friend to call on his landline whilst my cellular phone was indisposed.
Ah! I Remember those never ending conversations we used to have about the most trifling things. Also remember the frenzy with which we used to run to pick up the receiver before anyone else could grab it (now most of the time it keeps on ringing till the time the caller doesn’t get the no response message). I remember at my place how people used to frown when they realized that a member of the opposite sex had called( they even tried to spy via the parallel line, it was pretty embarrassing for my aunt when I told the caller that my aunt is listening on the parallel-it put an end to the spying though). Remember that nervous flick over to the watch when you realized that you have been speaking for protracted period of time (J.D. rings any “bell”). Ah! Those good old days.
But now we have cell phones which allow us to be in touch with anyone anytime (How the hell we used to manage to be together on New Years Eve on super crowded north
Goa beaches, without cell phone?).
Hmmm…. Summer’s here.
I know when I make a statement that summer is my favourite season for many people it may seem like I am a knuckle head on the fringes of lunacy and call me . (Esp. As some reports are quoting that we are touching 100 year highs). But for me it brings the golden memories of the past.
I remember how eager and ready I was to run back to native after every school break. How with a heavy heart and a face that replicated death I used to return to school. I still remember the long bus trip followed by a very long walk which took me home. Well freedom that unfettered freedom that I used to feel upon reaching home can only be felt but can never be explained in entirety.
Amongst all the memories which swivel in my head. I recall the sorties to the forests to gather the wild berries. I also remember the patience bordering on fanaticism that was exercised while waiting for an overripe mango to fall down from the tree, hence give us a chance to savour its resplendent taste (climbing the tree @ that age was highly hazardous, a couple of broken limbs standing testimony to that fact. And hurling stones invariably ended up in an exercise called Save our Skulls). Another exercise which to anguish of many I indulged in was fishing; well to say that I am no Roger Ramrod is an understatement. They say statistics are like bikini they show a lot but not everything. Why do I say it? coz even with a record of catching a grand total of 4 small fishes after toiling for innumerable hours I still consider myself a crack fisherman. Confidence and self belief even if misplaced does have its value.
Summer.... above all meant cricket and a lot of it. The sedulous preparation for the summer season was always marked by air bowling and shadow batting. I remember those international cricket matches which were replicated in the courtyard with makeshift scorebooks (there was a method to the madness – we were extremely paranoid in terms of preserving the originality of these players as much as possible). How eagerly we used to prepare for the evening matches with all the kids and elders alike.
Anybody who has played the local brand of field cricket. As a, toddler is aware of certain facts.
- Majority of the time the only function of cricket you indulge in is fielding.
- You occupy presumably the most important fielding position way behind the wicket keeper (not bad eh! Note: that there are no byes or runs behind the stumps)
- Your batting efforts are restricted to an over of inconsequential batting (4 both sides if you are fortunate). Bowled to you the youngest and the most peripheral member of the playing party.
As you grow up to occupy that position of that tyro (well wannabe player to be exact) your vexation is just starting.
- You always bat last when the match is already over. You bowl to the tiny tots’ coz nobody wants to do that thankless job.
- If by chance you get an opportunity to bat and the match is on line the fastest bowler in the other team will terrorize you into being bodily extirpated of the match.
But then you when you grow up. You get your chance of avenging all the atrocities committed against you. Usually the scores (no pun intended) are settled by meting out the same treatment handed out to us to the kids of adults who inflicted those mortal brutalities on us.
Still slip into nostalgia when I remember how we used to sleep in the courtyard in the open air under the bright moonshine, and then get up early as somebody would be hounding you out of your slumber to sweep the courtyard. As for meals even after racking my brains really hard I cant remember having meals without somebody coercing and pleading with you a 199 times to have them.
Gone is that summer with just flinders of memories to recall from and draw solace from.
I also miss that time when table tennis was played on the ground. When electricity going out at night meant a chance to break the rigmarole and hang out with neighborhood friends in the dark. When Saturday 9’o clock Amitabh Bachchan was a family celebration, and the break @ 10.30 meant a cuppa of tea to keep us all awake. Gone also are the days when flinging your arm over your friends shoulder was not looked upon with the suspicion about your sexual tendencies.
This whole memoir might not be my aesthetically pleasing or intellectually stimulating chronicle. But it’s a story which is very close to my heart and was dying to be expressed
P.S: There was a time when getting high “getting high” meant on a swing or a sea saw. When drinking meant “Rasna” (yes I belong to the medieval ages). When love gift meant “Archie’s cards and 60 bucks teddy bears” (VK
friend laddoo). When your worst enemies were “your siblings”. When the only thing that could “hurt” were skinned knees (used to happen ever so often, that it started to not hurt after all). The only things that were broken were balls (toys) and “good byes” only meant tomorrow” (well usually it preceded a reluctant trundle back home after a lot of ranting and scolding by mom). ur
Seriously I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a friend on landline from your own home landline. And miss it badly. Can you?