It was my once-a-week home dusting spree yesterday night. And as it happens when you come across photo albums, you rifle through them and feel happy in the warmth of the past.
I have two albums of my childhood with me here in Delhi-- one with pictures shot in Oman and the other in Thailand. Just before this I had come upon something that was written by someone who will always be special in my life, regardless of how complicated he is. I was feeling blue and wondering how things never turn out the way you want them to. A look, however, at those photos of me in my baby clothes posing with my mom, dad and bro put a smile on my face.
Memories kept flitting in as I turned the pages of the album. Dresses which I had a thing for as an 8-year-old -- a sky blue nightie that made me feel like a queen, an orange and brown checked dress which gave me an Alice-like feeling because that was the time around which I watched Alice in Wonderland (I even remember Alice's face right now. Amazing really, given that my memory quite fails me at times, especially when I want to recall the faces of old schoolmates), a frothy lacy pink concoction of a dress that I would always be made to wear for school functions. Maybe dresses fascinated me because I was perpetually in jeans or trousers, often my brother's hand-me-downs. Which is why I guess I am so fond of skirts now.
Photographs of my mother and father - then in their 40s and 30s (they had me pretty late) - my mother young and beautiful with her fair lovely complexion and my father in contrast really dark and robust with the same thinning hair I have seen since I can remember. It was a standing joke then. My bro and me wondering aloud in front of him whether his head ever brimmed with hair. "Yes once upon a time when I was really young," he would say. But then we would come across his black-and white pix and bawl because dad never really had much hair on his pate.
Photographs of dinners organised by my mother. It was a party-like atmosphere in Oman when Indians, Germans, Iranians and Pakistanis would throw parties very often to escape boredom. Mother says there was not much to do. But I was well entertained with what we did - go for long drives, spend time by the sea, climb mountains, or go shopping in supermarkets to stock up the larder. My personal favourite past time though was sitting in front of the telly and gorging on my quota of cheese balls, 7up can watching Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny. And even though I studied there till I was 8 years old, I am surprised to say that I have no memories of studying. Not one! That feels nice.
As for the Thaliand photos, they had the complete feel-good look. The brilliant blue skies, the clean waters, the long stretches of beaches, my mother in her yellow silk sari, me in my polka dotted yellow frock with my four front teeth missing, my father who had developed a good paunch by then and my brother a long and lanky teenager who looked distinctly disgruntled with life at times...
Now I see how things have become. My parents have aged. My mom's skin,which was once flawless and glowing, has developed pigmentation, while my father has become very thin. My brother wants to marry someone whom my parents don't like. There's kind of a cold war going on between them as a result. So when I say this that the time I spent reminiscing made me feel good, I mean that it made all the difference to my ageing 25-year-old heart.