. . For some reason, it is now, that I feel the passage of time more…Hidden in the things from one’s past, are memories of one’s childhood.
My moms pin-cushion, one that she brought from her hometown in Malaysia… The little stuffed cushion, surrounded by tiny figurines gave me endless joy 😊… When mom used to pierce the cushion to park her needle safely, I would pray she wouldn’t hit one of the ‘kids’ by mistake… My world was so limited, yet so alive!
I have the pincushion now, and I know my daughter has her eyes set on it👀😁📍… Maybe, without my knowing, it’s been a part of her childhood too…🌺
As far as heirlooms go… It’s not the expensive ones always that hold the story of families… Sometimes, it’s held in mugs, that held someone’s coffee or in a scarf that one always connects with a dear one… Or in the elusive whiff of a perfume…or in the simple process of darning or embroidery, where the pincushion sits, like an egg in a nest of threads… Urging me to weave some order into their chaos… something cohesive and beautiful, something that’ll last a while longer, than life… 📍💕😊 . .
I remember chiffon in pastel shades with roses in Lavender and Mauve…strappy footwear to match, and perfume… exotic and luxurious… impeccable, coiffeured hair and a regal carriage. That was my mom going for an officers party with my dad. An effortless head-turner who wore her charm like a cape of elegance.
When age demanded that she give up her pencil heels for Doctor Scholls slippers, she fought tooth and nail with her doctor, it didn’t help that she had an Orthopedic surgeon for a son😊.
These were her vintage purses. She put a dainty, fragrant, lace handkerchief in it, maybe be a lipstick, but I cannot be sure.
On a recent visit to her, I became the proud, albeit unworthy recipient of her gorgeous purses. I have neither the charm nor her panache to carry them.
She told me to keep them safely for the one person who could do justice to them… And then I got a surprise call from my daughter asking me if ‘Naani’ had left something precious of hers with me, and I couldn’t help thinking, Yes! Her genes! 😁
When taking a ride on a shikara in the backwaters of the Dal lake, the parting between the Lilly pads become roads for navigation! At a certain point a right turn takes you to a floating market, another one to the main lake, yet another to a housing colony of homes on stilts. .
I am told that when the Lillies and Lotus bloom, sometime in June, these backwaters are a sight to behold! Imagine water roads and Lilly embankments! Truly magical! .
The Open Album
I have a sepia tinted photograph of myself as a little baby sitting on my mother`s lap. It is stuck on the inside wall of my cupboard, its edges curling with the burden of the many decades that it has witnessed. It is the first thing I see when I open my cupboard to select my outfit for the day. I peer into the baby’s face to observe if it has any resemblance to the woman that it has now become. Similarly, I look into my young mothers beautiful face to capture what she has carried forward from her youth. The emotion that fills my heart is quite powerful. It is a mix of nostalgia, gratitude and love. The photograph reasserts to me how many years my mother nourished my body and soul and made me the person I am. It is not something that should ever be forgotten. The presence of the photograph in my cupboard helps me reprioritises my goals in life. It shows me the relentless motion of time and what all it changes in its wake. It also teaches me patience…patience to hold my tongue when my mother slows her speech to choose the right word. Wisdom to tame my impatient hands as she works at her pace to finish a job…My mind becomes clearer, as I mull over what to wear..
Alongside this photograph is one of my fathers, who, in passing away in his forties, remained frozen in all the vitality of youth, smiling his beautiful smile, he looks at me benevolently. I remember so many things about him because of that one photograph. His absence feels less stark, his face not a hazy memory but a clear picture. I remember his love for me and meticulous dressing, his penchant for always being on time, his love for a good joke and a hearty laugh…in his own silent way he still guides me..
The others who form this open album on the side of my cupboard are my immediate and extended family. In looking at their photos I remember to thank God for their presence in my life. I smile at the monkey face my son used to enjoy making and the certain angle my daughter always prefers when being clicked….the photograph of my brothers with their arms protectively around me shows me that the most precious thing in my cupboard is also the most intangible….