You know you are old when your mind is left clutching on to memories of things which do not exist anymore and the world has moved on and this generation – i.e. my baby’s cannot even fathom a life with those things.
Remember the song “Mere saamney waali khidki mein”…..my beautiful building is now going to be torn down to be rebuilt into a towering skyscraper. My parents will move from the 4th floor to the 14th floor – elevators, parking spaces, intercom systems between apartments; everything has been thought of and planned….my parents will move from the brand new one bedroom kitchen living room flat that they moved into, newly married (almost), 33 years ago, to a brand new three bedroom three bathroom kitchen living room apartment in their golden age. We were a family of six – us three siblings, Aai Baba and Aaji sharing about 900 sq feet of area. Now it’s just 2 and more space than they know what to do of it.
I will sorely sorely miss standing in my gallery or my bedroom and chatting nonstop with my friends; friends whose houses/galleries/bedrooms overlooked ours. Everything from going to the movies, going out to dinner, morning jogging plans to evening walks/games would be discussed/debated/planned through those windows. I miss my friends calling me from downstairs – all my neighbors could identify which friend was yelling my name, so familiar were their shouts. I miss staying up late at night and studying for a final and seeing my friends sit at their desks in their respective homes too. We used to make a pact to stretch and say Hi (through signs and signals of course so as not to disturb the sleeping residents) every hour so we could keep focused. It was a team effort – studying for exams.
I miss sitting on the compound wall overlooking our local post office and hassling the post officers to give us our report cards over the wall instead of delivering it to our mailboxes. I miss hanging out with my friends and loitering through our building campus, lush with green trees and flowering shrubs, fruit bearing trees; climbing trees, picking fruit, picking those cherished ananta flowers (without waking up the irate owner of the tree who zealously guarded her flowers), miss making zhopdis out of the coconut tree branches which fell down without any warning, miss making tea over an open fire, miss hassling the building residents; our neighbors to contribute a different ingredient for the tea, miss the outdoors, miss the soil and the grass and the flowers. Today’s generation has many wonderful opportunities and a different lifestyle than we had when we were growing up; all of this is vintage now, they get a glimpse of it in carefully planned vacations to native villages and beach side towns, I wonder if there is anyplace in India where the kids still gather in the evenings and play chhor police or host cricket matches late into the night or gather together to tell ghost stories in a power outage. I miss my past.