Tag: #memories #oldfriends

A Fading Art

Going through my books the other day I found a postcard written by hubby dearest from Dubai to me in Bangalore. The picture on the postcard was of Burj Al Arab and the letter, well it was about how he had gone apartment hunting and maybe had found the one which suited. As letters go, pretty mundane, day-to-day life and routine, no sweet nothings, no words of love. However within his words was hidden his loneliness in a new city, his waiting for me to start a new life together. The postcard became precious as it was something tangible to hold on to, to re-read as I waited to join him. Well, that was the last letter I received , technology then took over as we called, texted, chatted to stay in touch. Re-discovering that postcard however made me nostalgic about the good old days when letters were the main means of communication.

I used to take letter writing very seriously. It was the only means I could get across my point of view to the other person, plus I actually thought that the receiver was genuinely interested in what was happening in my routine life. May be they were, maybe they weren’t but my letters never decreased in frequency and length. Since everything had to be perfect I remember spending lots of time in the newly opened Archie’s Gallery (Ah! Good old ‘90s in a small town) to pick out the letter pads for writing voluminous letters to my sister in far off  Kerala, postal department’s inland letters just weren’t big enough to fit what all I wanted to tell her. Receiving a letter pad as a birthday gift used to be my version of heaven and I was proper Scrooge when I had to use paper from it. My letter writing frequency increased with my family’s  move to Chennai and my subsequent move to college. The only time my letter writing capabilities failed me was when I had to write a letter to my then would be mother-in-law…and in that incident I am blaming the language (I was terrible in written Hindi!).

I always thought letter writing was an art; a well worded letter could be a treasure forever.  Letters could transport you to the place which your friend was describing. A piece of advice written by an elder could inspire you. A funny incident written by your cousin could have you howling with laughter. A few soft words written by a special one could bring a soft smile on your face.

Nothing made me happier than receiving a letter. I used to wait for the postman to deliver the letters and would be disappointed when he left the mailbox empty. Eventually however the empty mail box became the norm rather than an aberration. People became too busy to write and post letters or they used the newly introduced email. Slowly that too faded as fruit named smartphones burst on the scene. Now you have options galore to communicate with people.

Somehow, even though communication has become easier I think the quality and frequency of communication has decreased. If you now ask someone how they are doing you will usually get an “OK” as the answer. Now that “OK” can have a myriad emotions and meanings behind it. It doesn’t tell me what you are thinking, what your plans are, what you are doing (well we do have Facebook to check in when we do something exciting). And the most important thing, you cannot hold on to that OK!

I miss writing and receiving letters. I still have a few letters saved which I take out from time to time to re-read. They remind me of simpler times, when expressing oneself was easier though time-consuming. The eager wait for the postman to bring the much-anticipated letter, to try to identify the sender by their handwriting. Reading the letter, re-reading it. Trying to understand the emotion behind the words, taking time to admire someone’s penmanship (another dying art, alas!).The plain and simple fact that someone took the time and patience to write.

Or maybe I am just a sentimental fool who longs for the postman to bring me letters from my loved ones again, so that I can cherish the words they wrote.

 

If music be the food of love, play on

 

This is most cliched, oft repeated sentence that can hear/read about music. It however is  absolutely true.

Music plays at important role in my life, you can call it passion even. I cannot imagine a day without listening to music. Whenever I am irritated,stressed, depressed or bored I just need to pick a book ,switch on music and all will be right in my world again. You can even know the time of the day with the type of music being played in my house. If its something religious then its early morning, radio means its not yet 10 a.m. , Adele means I am trying to get through some chores which I detest doing, old Hindi songs means its late night and I am unwinding.

To ask me to pick “a” song that means a lot to me seems like looking for a needle in a haystack. I have about three thousand songs in my iPod, more keep releasing everyday and the app “Savn” is always there for  something new.  I have songs ranging from NoorJehan to Rahul Sharma to Lana Del Ray.

All songs have a special meaning , a special feeling attached to them.

Some evoke memories of days gone by, simpler times when I used to listen to the songs played by our next door neighbor. The feeling of nostalgia when I listen to “ankhon hi ankhon main” . I feel I am transported back to our verendah in doon, the summer afternoon, the fragrance of  the garden in bloom ,the song being played by colonel uncle and me being taught by my grand father how to read. I remember the long forgotten memories of my baby sister trying to hum the song along and my grandfather and me sharing a chuckle over it. Memories of colonel uncle, a gentle soul and his lovely grand daughter , a very dear friend in those times. The regret of not holding on to a friendship , a friendship lost to distances when she moved to USA.

The song sung by my cousin so sweetly for my grandfather that I too wanted to learn it. Whenever I hear that song  the image comes to mind of her sitting on the sofa, singing , my grandfather nodding his head in appreciation and the pin drop silence in the room. I did learn the song , the tune and the lyrics but never had the courage to sing in front of everybody.

Some songs are my father’s favorites and his voice  sings along in my mind  whenever they play. They remind me of a time when he would sing along the radio while getting ready to go to work. Whenever I play those songs the distance between India and UAE seems less and I can almost feel him beside me.

There are some which are special to us , as a couple. The first song we danced on, the song which both of us love, the song which he sang for me. The compilation cassette which he made for me, the iPod (which by the way is more precious to me than all my jewelry)  which he gave me as a gift, understanding my love for music. They all hold a very special place in my heart. They bring back memories of young love, of special dinners, the joy of being in love and being happy like there was no tomorrow.

So how do you pick? Do you pick the one that inspires you or the one whose melody haunts you for a long time or the one that makes you want to get up and dance or the one that reminds of some one or some place dear?

So what will be on my list? Will it be “Take My Breath Away” for the meaning it has for both of us? Or will it be “Seasons in the Sun” for it lyrics? Will it be “I have a dream” as that was the first song I taught to my son for a competition?

No music means no karaoke nights to break the ice and having fun. No music would mean no more fights between my sons and me about what to play in the car. No music means no rush of  memories when a favorite song plays. All I know is that if there were no music  our lives would be empty and colorless.

 

reminiscing

reminisce (verb) : indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events

It’s Diwali round the corner, the Hindu festival of lights, spring cleaning is in full swing ( don’t ask me why I am calling it spring cleaning when its almost autumn in Dubai, but that’s the word that has popped into my head). Spring cleaning is almost mandatory for Diwali, the goddess Lakshmi will not step into the house which is dirty and who doesn’t want the goddess of wealth in their house ergo spring cleaning.

So while spring cleaning I come across pictures, lots and lots of them , from the time when digital cameras weren’t around and we posed and just as the person clicking clicked…..we blinked! So I have quite a few of those photos where either my eyes are closed or my tongue is out or I am looking some other place or if by any chance I am looking lovely in the picture, my partner is either looking down,or up or where ever.

But I am not going to throw away even a single of those snaps, you know why?

Because all of them have some or the other story behind them. It could be funny or ordinary or even sad  but its still a story and I do love a story.

There is a picture with two people sleeping on a bed. One of them I am sure is my better half’s cousin, the other I am not so sure. The reason one of them is lying away from the camera and the other one has the face covered by blanket. Now you might be wondering why I am saving this picture ( or even why I am telling you this story).

The answer is pretty simple, the photograph reminds me of a time when I was a young bride in a new country, it reminds me of setting up a house together with the person whom I loved very much(still do actually). The fun we had with our cousin, who stayed with us a couple of months, who looked up to me as a domestic diva though I was still learning and struggling ( like I still do). The bond that I formed with her that will remain with me always.

And that my friend is the power of reminiscing. It brings a smile to our face and it takes us to that happier place, the place when all was fine with the world and the sun was shining. When we see our old albums or the ones clogging up our hard disks and we decide to get some printed even now all we want to do is to hold on to that moment. To take it out again and again to savor it , or to polish it like a precious gem.

Because that’s what they are…..Gems!