“I invite you to take a deep breath in and sigh out all your to-do lists and step into, nay glide, fly, flutter and grow into the pages that follow. Come, let your roots drink in the story waters of a land that I remember as heaven.”And All The Seasons In Between~Arti Jain
With these words, author Arti invites you into her book, based on her memories of a garden in Dehradun, secure and cocooned in the love of her grandfather, Papaji and grandmother, Biji. Interspersed with her memories is the story of Papadash, Artemis and the dragonfly. As the book meanders through memories, the seasons also change and in-between, Artemis’ story flows alongside, twisting, leaping, overlapping, soothing.
The words are simple, poetic, touching the chords of my heart. Arti’s descriptions, with a very strong Punjabi flavour, took me back to my own childhood. In the same town, with a similar garden and a joint family and my grandfather, the family patriarch. The names of the chapters are also lyrical, and enchanting, like, “When grapes wore pyjamas” and “He carried dirt under his fingernails”. The author reminisces about the verdant trees, the gudiyon ki shaadis, loon kalari, eating mangoes in summer, the cold winters of Doon complete with snuggling under kambals.
The anecdote with the children gobbling up pineapple pastries sneaked by their uncle made me miss the pastries from Gaylords. Pineapple pastries were a mandatory part of childhood in Dehradun, and reading this anecdote made me chuckle and almost taste their succulent juiciness. The anecdote of mud pots and the description of making food for gudiyon ki shaadi brought back memories of times we used to play ghar-ghar, cook imaginary meals and give imaginary lives to our dolls. Another story interspersed in between is the “Kingdom of Kitchen“. The kingdom ruled by Biji and ably assisted by mother and chachi reminds the reader of the simpler times when the kitchens were magical domains under the strict hands of the family matriarch. The final ode, to papaji, “He carried dirt under his fingernails“, is the one that stays with you for a long time. It is poignant, full of emotions, and almost brings tears to your eyes, reminding you of the people who are only alive in our memories.
The book enchanted me, the prose flowing lyrically. I wanted to highlight almost the whole book. Another facet, without which I think there would be something missing in the book, is its magical illustrations. Never overpowering complementing the text beautifully, they enhance the reader’s pleasure in the book. Considering the illustrator is the author’s daughter, it adds another beautiful link between the generations.
The emotions raised by this book were indefinable. There was nostalgia for my garden lost, the emotions of the everlasting love received from grandparents. Most of all, there was awe at the beautiful lyricism of the words in the book. “And All The Seasons In Between”, is a labour of love. Love of the author for her grandparents and their selfless, pure love for her. The book shows the innocence and magic of childhood as you recall your carefree childhood days.
Thank you, Arti, for sharing a little bit of your magical childhood with us.
Leaving you with the YouTube link of “He Carried Dirt Under His Fingernail“ narrated by author Arti.
‘This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’
Read on for the book blurb and to know more about the author.
In a previous lifetime, I dreamt a dream so beautiful that I did everything in my power to turn it into my reality.I don’t know how many births and transformations it has taken me to be born in this shape and form, to be called Arti. But I finally found my way to Papaji and his garden.
Nostalgia: sweet, tangy and utterly unforgettable will take you to a garden in Dehradun in the late seventies and the house that was attached to it.Apart from my grandparents, Papaji and Beji, you will meet a few other members of my family.
Humans, bees, seasons, radishes, age-old recipes and mulberries occupy equal space and importance in the pages of this book, just like they did in my childhood.
Come, let your roots drink in the story-waters of a land I remember as heaven.
About The Author
Arti Jain writes and performs poetry and short stories in Hindi and English. She blogs intermittently, makes photos regularly and boosted by cups of karak chai, she reads voraciously. She’s currently based in Doha, Qatar.