“Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is that Girl bespectacled, naughty ET all?”
After decades I stole time to spend some moments with my older self. The home is quiet, both father and daughter enjoying their Sunday morning nap, giving me a golden opportunity to meet the various stages of ME at various points of life I have left behind. Kaleidoscopes of memories seem to present it in edited colors I never knew existed in my otherwise ordinary life.
I am looking at that 10 year old little girl indulgently and smiled to myself this morning, sipping my coffee, who vehemently refused to drink milk and her mother trying to bribe her with her favourite breakfast of magi, if only she would agree to finish her glass of milk. Closing her eyes, she sticked her tongue out, made a face and finally did the unthinkable – she finished her glass, mom giving a secret smile. As promised, breakfast was delicious and finger licking good (no magi controversy happened at our growing up years), hence the heart and mind was too happy when the dictate came from mom to sit to study. Dad did not want to witness my plight when mom taught me with iron hand and he always made an excuse to go out of home – Sunday mornings was no exceptions. But before leaving he used to promise in my ears, “Study now, in the evening I will take you out to that Disneyland fair, where you love getting up on Torah Torah” Now Torah Torah was my favourite ride in the whole wide world, where I screamed in my highest pitch when the cart reached the highest point and then came down within a second, and all these while Dad used to hold me like a baby in his arms. The temptation was too much to resist, I concentrated in my Radiant Way and Junior Book of Sums.
My grandmother later came with a small bowl of homemade pickle, which she was sure would make my brain work faster. Faster or not, I just knew it tasted out of the world; her undying love for me too was blended in the recipe, which made it taste just heavenly.
My 10 year old self was not decisive enough as in what to wear, which my 9 year old declares with an authority. I depended on Mom to decide what my outfit of the evening would be. And I was enraptured in my dress, with two pig tails and headed towards the fair with both my parents. After that spectacularly breathtaking ride at Torah Torah, Dad always treated me with candy floss and pink was my favourite. My lips turned red and sticky with the remnants of the candy floss and I came back home euphoric yet tired. Simple progressions of the day made my Sundays so special that now even when I crave for those simple yet special occurrences, the events seen farfetched, hard to touch, let alone happen again just once. Those Sundays are lost in the complexities of our lives where small things fail to bring us joy.
Oh wait! I can see another girl of sixteen, crying secretly after reading her first Mills n Boons novel – “The Velvet Promise”. The idea of unconditional passionate love was instilled in her brain by those novels she secretly read hiding below her physics book. And she dreamt of a tall dark handsome hero, riding on a horse back, coming to take her away from this cruel world which did not understand the novelty of true love. That 16 year old imagined herself as a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor. And then her crush happened – a little senior in school, champion in debate, not so tall (I decided to adjust), honey brown eyes with a deep voice. I found my Sir Lancelot who would come to rescue this Lady of Shallot. All of a sudden I developed deep interest in debates, immersed myself in current affairs as he too was a part of the school quiz team. But there is a fine line between the cup and the actual sip one takes. After a month or so, when I was always blushing at the mere mention of his name and my friends came to know about this one sided love story, my dreams of happily ever after broke with a crackling sound when he introduced me to his girlfriend. This ended my epic story of love, lost and tears. It’s actually funny, now when I look back that I HAD CRIED FOR DAYS over this incident which seemed to take away my life, little did I know that life will thrust upon serious mess and muddle, stumbling blocks and setbacks which would make me sit back and take a momentous grave stock of the situation. Sometimes tears is a luxury which we can afford at that age of innocence but gradually life becomes so full of complications that those droplets of venting out sorrow hardly make an appearance, even when we want to.
Years passed by and my old self matured into a responsible adult, ran after career, slogged for hours at office, eventually fell in love (this time with a happy ending), got married, embraced motherhood. But I seriously miss that girl who got lost somewhere in this vexing populace of various characters who all entered my life, I miss to see her stealing glances at her crush or hiding a Sidney Sheldon beneath a text book or engaged in fun banter with friends, or going crazy in Kolkata Book Fair standing in the queue of Ananda Publishers, sharing clothes with her best friends, feeling at top of the world after having a Christmas Lunch at Peter Cat, first time in life – getting saree for mom and grandmother and a perfume for dad with the first pay cheque- I have lost that girl in the riffraff proletariat of this mad rush called Life.
Today I stole time from life and met with her all over again and it is rejuvenating, magically idyllic.