You know, you plan of one thing and something else turns up. This is what happens to me every time. Destiny always plays this game with me. Anyway, I am still drinking the essence of life, of course … 🙂
When I started blogging I thought to post once a week. But you see, it took so long to come up with another post! It’s that time of the year again … yes, it’s winter… it’s Christmas time compelling me to take another walk down the memory lane.
Christmas is one occasion after the Durga Puja that we (my sister and I) used to wait for eagerly in our childhood days. You’ve got it right! Cakes and pastries being the prime reason it was the time when we enjoyed circus, visited the zoo and the National Museum of Kolkata, rather Calcutta then. The animals and trapeze at the circus and the mysteries wrapped inside the showcases of the museum in the form of Mummies always fascinated me.
To me winter meant a 7-day vacation for celebrating Christmas and New Year by wishing friends with hand-painted greetings cards. It is one of my hobbies. I loved to craft greetings cards for my near and dear ones. Now, as it is obvious, e-card replaces paper cards (you know, that ‘don’t have time’ excuse… actually I became lazier … 😛 ).
Winter in Kolkata has always been pleasant and much desired. It reminds me of wet grasses in fog-wrapped mornings. It was a season when we struggled to get up early in the morning and get ready for school. Had real hard times … guys! 😉
Winter to me then was synonymous to picnic, orange and pickles that my mother never made at home despite all our sincere requests, craving and begging. We were even ready to offer our service, but could never been able to win her faith! 😀 Now I understand she hardly had time to indulge in pickle making after managing all the household chores and her job simultaneously. But my stance was different at that time. Every year we had clash over this issue. However, God has been kind! The supply chain for mango and plum pickles was managed by my aunt, whom we affectionately call Koli Mashi. Every winter, she used to make various sorts of pickles and bestow upon us. Thank you, Koli mashi for quenching our ‘eternal thirst’ for pickles … for so many years! 🙂 She still does it happily.
Winter for me was all about playing badminton. This was one sport I loved to play. We (me and my friends in the neighborhood) used to play badminton after getting back from school or whenever we could find time … in the morning and in the afternoon, until the dusk fell. We played in the park near our house, on the ground in front of our house and even on the wide walkways beside.
It was a beautiful place where we lived … an enclosed area … an estate owned by the Ordnance Factory of India. The high wall stood all around like the Great Wall of China to maintain privacy from the busy main road outside. This wall had caused us so much trouble that we hated it from the heart. First, there were times when we had to sacrifice our brand new shuttle corks just because someone served it hard and it went up … up… and away … over the top, right on the other side of the ‘Great Wall’. It was too high for us to climb and the main gate was far enough. The cork will already be crushed under the wheels or picked up by someone else by the time we could reach there.
Secondly, we lived in a ground floor flat. And that god damned wall barred us from viewing what was happening on the other side while my school mate Shonali (she was blessed to reside in a 2nd floor flat) could watch every thing standing by the window at any given point of time of the day. I envied her so much for this … and innovated ‘reasons’ (read found excuses) to go upstairs at her flat once done with my home works. 🙂
When I was very young and Shonali and her family did not move in the neighborhood there was no chance of getting to 2nd floor (the roof was inaccessible, too – no one was allowed to get on the roof except the maintenance staffs) what we could only see from our window is the top of the Double Decker buses (that graced the streets of Calcutta then). We didn’t have the permission to go outside when mother was not home. I stood by the window waiting patiently only to get a glimpse of a Double Decker! 😛
To me winter meant Pitha, nalen gur-er sondesh and Jaynager-er moya, an assortment of delectable Bengali dessert. Ma prepared different kinds of pitha and kheer that we loved to eat so very much. I remember… Ma used to make pitha in the evening after coming back from work. Baba also helped her in preparing all those traditional Bengali sweets.
Things are different now… Baba is no more. We got busy with our jobs. Ma, though has retired from her office, can’t manage it alone. Winters come and go. No mist and dews … only smog. Sun is not that soft and gentle anymore (environmental pollution, I mean). No sweets, no circus, no visits to the zoo. The chilly breeze from the North brings only memories with it. Those are the days I’ll cherish till my last breath!