Crunchy memories

We have had a beautiful beginning to fall.

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A couple of nights ago we had some rains which resulted in the ground covered by brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow in the morning. When I went out for a walk in the day, my almost 4 year old daughter wanted to walk on the fallen leaves and no sooner did she step on them she commented ,”mom! I am walking all crunchy.”

That triggered a memory of walking with my grandpa through a small part Of rubber plantations in late kerala summer with crisp leaves crunching under my feet. I had exclaimed it sounded like I was walking on pappads. I hadn’t walked through so many fallen leaves before. Most trees in my neighbourhood in Delhi were evergreen; some leaves did fall as winter approached but trees were never bare. ( nor was there such a display of color)

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With so many differences between us, the sense and sound of dried leaves crushing under our feet and our excitement over the multisensory experience of fall remains same.

Over time my daughter and I may not agree about lot of things but till then I will savour the double- crunch of this moment. Here and now.

phir Milenge!!

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Post 11: the hungry pig

Recently I set my sights on something new and shiny and decided to save up for it. Can you guess how much I have actually been able to save so far  – Zilch, Nada, nothing!

The reason , I fathom is that we hardly spend any cash these days. There is no spare change for me to feed this piggy with. Most of the time we shop with our bank debit ( or credit ) cards unless we are in some small speciality stores which don’t accept plastic money and that’s rare.

The story goes of a young boy who was known and ridiculed in his village as stupid, as he always picked up pennies when given the chance to choose between a penny and a dollar bill (my version was paisa v/s rupee but none the less). The surprised spectator took him aside and tried to teach him a lesson about the value of the mighty dollar. The boy responded that he knew enough to understand the day he picked up a dollar, the pennies would stop coming in. In my childhood imagination , the tale sparked an image of jars upon jars filled with shiny coins which brought me immense happiness. I loved my piggy bank and with joy watched it fill to the top. I was a miser and held on to my allowance money with my teeth. We used to have a bowl on our kitchen shelf where dad would empty his pocket and I stole many a coins from there and gleefully put them in my piggy bank too. I would then exchange my saved coins with mom to get bigger bills and my savings grew. I couldn’t wait to have my own bank account and a passbook(yeah , those were the days before eBanking !)

Small change can add up to big things you know. I was reminded of this fact once again when one of the banking institution introduced a feature where in you could round off your purchases and put your change into an connected saving account. Round off your purchase of $34.30 to 35$ and 70 cents go to your saving. It would be wonderful to see the savings grow trickle by trickle. I am signing up to see my virtual coins stack grow to big bills!!

But few have the patience for saving these days. Time and again , I read articles in the papers advising people to get rid of their debt and start saving , even if it is a small amount. I find it concerning that that the young people are getting further and further from the concept of money. Many homes like ours use plastic money. I know one of my friends’ son receives his allowance in terms of money added to his iTunes store account where he can download music and games from or recharge to his mobile phone. I don’t think this 12 year old has ever broken a full (and heavy) piggy bank to make his purchase. Money appears to be just a number in a bank account not something you have in your pocket and you watch it grow or being spent. I am starting to think this experience is really important, and even though I cannot deny the ease of e-banking I am  thinking of reducing our use of the plastic just so our little daughter could get to see how we manage our finances. Right now most of it is online and not in plain sight.

I remember how diligently my mother used to record all the expenses, manage her bills and stick to her budget all with out the use of a computer or even a calculator. But I am not so sure if it is practical anymore. I guess, I have gotten used to the way things are.(gotten lazy…sorry Gail Vaz-Oxlade!) It remains to be seen if I can make a turn-around now and until then the piggy would remain hungry!

Phir Milenge!!

Picking up from where we left

It never fails to amaze me how relative the perception of time is. It seems to fly when we are having fun and it drags when we are waiting for somethings. Sometimes it seems to stand still. I met some old friends recently after a gap of many months and it seemed as if I had never left. I was able to pick up from where we left many months ago. This visit was special for another reason too. My friend and I could observe our kids getting along and playing together. It was a feeling I am yet not able to articulate through words.

I feel time standing still every time I visit India and my old friends whom I grew up with too. I have concluded that it is because we have been blessed with selective memory. Our brains only remember the details we commit to it or the instances where emotions are involved. I don’t know the science behind it But I do know this our brain keeps a treasure trove of memories and if only we would put a little bit effort, our daily life today could make a melody of memories for later.

In our hearts memories remain

how and why we can’t explain

They come to us as they please

a laugh, a cry, a gentle tease

They disappear for some time

to reappear in a different rhyme

Thus they are our lives’ tale told

Memories of the good and old

They can be strong but they often fade

Memories for life are daily made

Today just a little effort if we apply

life’s joyous memories will multiply

Then we will be able to sing-along

The lyrics of our memory-song

 

Have any old memories knocked at your heart today?

Phir Milenge!!

 

A moment in day

I love looking at pictures again and again – they freeze a moment in time and when I look at the picture that moment becomes alive in my memory again. My mother and my mother-in-law both are the keepers of family photographs. My mom even had a system figured out . The big family album only had choicest of pictures in it – pictures from school functions, sports or academic achievements, times when we kids were behaving at our best…… and there was one shoe box full of all other photographs and very few people ever got to see it.That was the problem with clicking the pictures with film that we had to be very choosy about the pictures we clicked and we had to wait till the roll was over and developed. Our first order of business while visiting our cousins was to check out the new additions to family albums.

Digital photography and Social media has changed all that. Pictures are clicked and immediately available for review, only the good ones are posted online – sometimes with one line captions and sometimes with some faces tagged in them. There is no cousin explaining the story behind the picture, No mother bringing out the album specially for you, no shoe box full of funny moments. Those pictures are available online – not shared with someone specific. You can guess I am getting a bit nostalgic. I miss the whole idea of capturing and looking at photographs as a collective activity. I still love sharing photographs with friends and family and If you seem interested I will go ahead and tell you the whole story.

When my daughter was born, I determined to click at least one photo each day, to track her growth and capture her emotions & expressions. I haven’t checked but I am sure I must have clicked 10 times as many pictures. I realized I haven’t been clicking as many pictures of late so I today started my day with clicking a picture of hers.

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The natural light in the room was enough to capture her expression. Then I decided to take my camera outside and capture the first few signs of spring. For some reason this spring has really captivated my heart.

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Some crocaus have sprung up and some have blooms too.

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Some leaves have started to bud on the trees and vines outside.

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Life anew and life again is springing
Bees n birds are all ’round me singing
Tiny bud is gently raising its tiny tiny head

Somedays ago it was so lifeless
My little garden stuck in stillness
dead of winter all appeared really really dead

I took a stroll in old memory grove
games we played & dreams we wove
My today was shaped by my yesterday

Spring-winter-spring life goes around
Under the sun and over the ground
Life’s little truths are revealed everyday

A tree grows big from a tiny seed
Life grows big with each tiny deed
Maker’s finger prints are seen all around

Look the Old is in the new revealed
See the New is in the old concealed
Take a closer look and truth can be found

Phir Milenge!!