July 7, 2007

Nostalgia

Feeling nostalgic today. I guess it's something to do with the need for another holiday. For most of my weariness from monotony or low moods, a quick break from routine almost always helps.

I pine to get back to my home country for another break. Is it nostalgia? Or is there a hint of melancholia in there?

Right now, I miss my hometown. It must be raining over there. It rains for three months almost in the monsoons there. Cool breeze blows at these times and the ground turns into a green carpet that's a soothing feast to the eyes.

I miss my parents. Papa and Mama had many children. I recall the time when I was young and simple, and when my parents shouldered all our responsibilities and I was free - without a care in this world, unaware and unaffected of the complicated world around me. My father was an expert in the science, art and business of cultivating on soil, producing a variety of crops, and raising livestock and farming. He was an agriculturist. I realized upon growing up, we may have been in dearth of other worldly possessions but there was always plenty of food to eat. Tall, handsome, slim and strong, fair but tanned, he toiled hard in the 16 acres of land we had. Mama was a marvellous mother, ever so caring. I still recall how wonderful she used to smell throughout the day. She had such amazingly soft skin.

Each child's birthday was celebrated every year in some special way. Every child was precious to them. How they managed to make each one of us feel special is a mystery to me. Memories of a happy childhood. Young and easy. One large family and we were all content.

So, there we were growing up on that farm. Merrily roaming around the rice fields bare feet, climbing trees, plucking fruits from trees and devouring them, teaming against neighbouring kids to play new self-styled games, running through the jungles chasing rabbits, strolling through them so often to pick up wild berries, enjoying the lush greenery, swimming in the nearby ponds and lakes, playing in the gushing waters of the overflowing streams, frolicking under the waterfalls, playing with the farm animals, hugging and kissing the grazing ones, getting wet in the rains, never fearing but enjoying nature – the flora and fauna, listening to the birds chirp, identifying which bird it was that made such a sweet sound. We took it all for granted, little did we realize then that these times would be cherished so dearly in days to come.

Sometimes two or three of us used to compete as to who would first reach the top most part of the hill seen far away in the apparent horizon. The starting point would always be the big black rocky boulder that was next to our farm house, on which the spectators would be perched. The end point was quite evident to those who did not participate - a tiny silhouette against the sky on top of the hill far in the distant horizon. Boy, our agile feet would take us to the top of the highest hill in a matter of minutes! We used to particularly try such games when our cousins from the city used to visit us and spend weeks, sometimes months, in our farm. They used to be in awe at our agility and speed in maneuvering through those hills and jungles.

Sitting here now, I close my eyes briefly and I can feel the sights, smells and tastes of the farm I grew up in. Those were happy days indeed when I had very little need in this life. Food, water and sleep was probably all that I needed. I cannot recall feeling in want of anything or lacking. Security was taken care of by our parents. I did not know the complications of human mind and emotions then. I did not know then what it was to get hooked to the luxuries of life and then getting hopelessly dependent on it. I did not analyze words such as self-confidence, achievement, or morality. It was all in-built and was just there naturally. In those days, I did not know the meaning of terms like prejudice, sexual orientation or xenophobia. Is this a case of ignorance is bliss?

Those memories are of happy and content times. I know I can never pursue those vanished times. I miss them. Those memories evoke nostalgia.

Now my parents are no more. The farm is no more either. The entire villages around the area have been converted into an industrial region. MRPL. I wonder what do I miss more: is it the lost place or the lost times?

I need a holiday now. I must travel. To seek some solace from this disheartening feeling.

I'll pass by Himachal Pradesh again. This time I'll go to Manali. I've got Leh, Ladakh in mind. At almost 12,000 feet above sea level, I hope my spirits can soar. I wish to go to Kargil too, if possible. That it is an area of conflict does not deter me.

I spoke out my thoughts to my Arab colleague here, who immediately discouraged me saying I'd come back without an arm or even an eye, let alone come back in one piece at all. When I spoke to her about the beauty of nature and the wilderness there, she feared and questioned me: what if a monkey molests you? (A monkey, of all animals, frightens her; if only she was aware of how many fierce animals are out there in the wild and uninhabited areas). The hapless girl spends most of her life cowering about some phobia or the other. So, according to her, in order to prevent the occurrence of being impregnated by a primate, I should avoid all sorts of adventure travels. Poor girl, what does she know of the spirit of adventure and the thrill of a holiday in such places?

So, I shall go to Leh, Ladakh and if I can manage to see any other parts of Jammu and Kashmir, then that would be a bonus.

Travelling is one of my passions. India tops the list.

19 comments:

Pijush said...

Excellent one. What a start!! Very impressive emotional writing, I can feel your nostalgia. I almost cried in middle, very touchy and soft writing. Great work.
Hats off to your parents and thanks for sharing your early days, it looks like a small paradise where you lived.
Welcome back to India (may be for short time). Have a nice time here and enjoy every bit of your travel, and keep posting. Well done!!

indicaspecies said...

Thank you for your wonderful words pijush. It is highly encouraging to read what you have to say. Your words are sure to give me further confidence to continue writing. Thanks a lot indeed.

Mridula said...

It must have been a beautiful childhood! Thanks for sharing. And have a wonderful vacation.

backpakker said...

very poignant piece...nostalgia is something that I iive with always ..your childhood seems to have been ideal and beautiful..i started remembering mine
Do visit ladakh..my husband has and he has promised to take me there ...we went to srinagar recently , there was no trace of violence .
Thanks for visiting and do come often

Cuckoo said...

Excellent post !! Hmmm.. you made me nostalgic as well. Glad to know about you.
I am sorry to hear about your parents though.

I like rains & countryside very much. Go sweet lady, go on vacations. Enjoy.

Thanks for dropping by my blog. As you promised, I shall see more of your visits there.

Happy Blogging & keep coming!!

Arun said...

Ladakh.. Making me jealous.. :)

I wish..!

Arun said...

Ladakh.. Making me jealous.. :)

I wish..!

indicaspecies said...

mridula: You are absolutely right. It, indeed, was beautiful. Thank you for visiting and also for your good wishes.

backpakker: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Glad my posting evoked nostalgia in you. Thanks also for the update on Srinagar.

cuckoo: Thanks a lot for your visit, and for the kind words, support and good wishes cuckoo.

arun: Thanks for your gracious visit. I am honored. I wish so much too... hahaha !

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Your parents seem to have got it right, how wonderful to look back on such an idyllic time. Try not to grieve for what has passed, rejoice in what is; all that you've been given from those wonderful days has helped to shape you in to the person you are now.. searching, yes, but sure to find a perfect home, when your heart and soul tells you it is the right one for you.

In the meantime, travel as far and wide as this world will take you. I did. (Smile.)

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Beautiful write-up!

indicaspecies said...

shrink wrapped scream: No grief there, just a yearning for the time that has elapsed and the feeling comes on and goes off. Yes, been idyllic and delightful. Thank you for visiting, and for your good wishes:)

sudipta: Thank you for those lovely words and for being here - with or without the stubble. Cheers :)

SiD said...

All the Best for your India Trip... Hope you Enjoy reliving your memories!!!

indicaspecies said...

Thank you for your good wishes Sid and for being here. Have a nice day:)

mrsnesbitt said...

What a lovely evocative post. It certainly stirred emotions for me.
Later this week I will be thinking back to my parents as September 7th was my Dad's birthday and the day my mum died.
I agree so much with what you say about as children we know nothing other than security...

Thank you for visiting my blog, hope you will visit again.

Denise
x

indicaspecies said...

mrsnesbitt: Denise, thank you very much for your kind words. I shall certainly visit your blog and will be in touch. :)

Sameera said...

"I wonder what do I miss more: is it the lost place or the lost times?"

How many a time have I asked myself this question?Life just goes on and we fail to realize what we miss.But at times,time comes to a standstill allowing these thoughts to flood the mind.I remember those times when Mom was there and feel the same way.They would never come back,only precious memories remain.Two golden words for us,"Let Go".Easier said than done is it not?
God Bless...

indicaspecies said...

sameera:
Understand exactly what you mean Sameera. I'm glad you understand my sentiments too. :)

priyank said...

This post is so beautiful becoz its simple and straight from heart. You made me emotional and nostalgic, cellu, in no time when I was in a totally opposite mood few minutes back.

Childhood is so simple really. And today you are appreciating what you have, I can sense your parents having tears of joy as they read this.

indicaspecies said...

Thanks for your kind words Priyank.
I feel good when my sentiments are understood and appreciated.
My parents are special to have brought us up with so much love, and the love they showered on us is still sensed and continuing till today between siblings and the rest of the family that has sprung up over time.