Those were the days when we were kids and running around the roads aimlessly. We used to be busy with our friends, family and other activities. It’s almost a fairy tale since the time we can count our memories. The childhood days are always better compared to the grown-up or matured times. Childhood days are the time when we live in almost a world of dream.
The first memories are always of our direct family. We start walking and talking and observe the surrounding with all possible sagacity to perceive our foundation. Thus we start learning our mother tongue and imbibe the cultural and social values in our system. I still remember the fond memories of my very early childhood in a place called Digboi – the first oil refinery in Asia (a description about my home town is already complied in another article – The Reminisce of British Aura).
The very first memories are always of some winter mornings in Digboi. Then I really hated to get up so early as my Grand – ma (I used to call her Aita-Ma) calls me very tenderly to get up and go to kitchen for morning glass of milk. I remember that, I used to act like I am in heavy sleep in those mornings in the extreme cold winters under the heavy red quilt with white ‘markin’ cover around it. Oh how much I miss those heavy quilts swathed with the warmth of my grand-ma’s love and care! Those heavy quilts used to be very common things in every household that time. In the winter sun during day time I vividly remember, the way those heavy quilts were being spread in our courtyard to get warmer in the cane chairs so that we feel more warmth in the chilling nights. My grand ma used to shout the servants several times during the day to turn around the quilts so that whole thing gets quite warm under the sun. By the time I used to arrive from school around noon those quilts were all warm and ready to be cuddled in.
The meals cooked by Grand – Ma were simply most testy foods I ever ate. I remember having all those delicious dishes cooked by my Grand – Ma and some times sensation became so strong that I almost taste the same. Sometimes memory becomes stronger then reality and those testes of PAST waters my mouth now also. I really repent a lot for being so finicky about my food that time. I lost a great chance of testing so many dishes cooked by her. She was really partial in my case as I was the first grand child and she used to spoil me a lot. I used to get everything whatever was my favorite that time for example, Kheer, home made yogurt with traditional jolpaan(Snacks item) of bora chawal (kind of indigenous sticky rice), Chicken curry with black pepper, kothal ( jackfruit) juice with muri, narikol (coconut) ladu, Masor tenga (fish curry) many types of pickles and thus the list goes on and on.
After a delicious lunch it used to be strict siesta time for me. I used to sleep with my sweet Aunts….they are two …Biju pi and Moon pi – I used to call them. They are my father’s younger sisters. During day time I used to sleep with them and during night it’s my time with my lovely Granny- Aita Ma. Moon pi (the youngest Aunt) used to work outside and she used to visit us every weekend. My favorite season is winter that’s why may be mostly I remember the sweet winter days from those golden days. The warmth of those heavy quilts fresh from the sun is something I miss so much. It’s sure whoever had tested that, will sure remember those moments again. My Biju Pi used to tell me all very interesting stories which I still cherish. After those stories there used to be the enticing world of wish full dreams for me! Further I remember the warmth of the quilt and the cuddle of my Biju Pi. Whenever Moon Pi used to be in home for weekend visit it used to be some different kind of stories. She used to describe her travel stories as she used to travel around the country for her work and those used to amuse my little mind so much that time
It is the warmth of those young times that shapes one’s future. The tenderness of families is what builds our ingrained characteristics and the feel of secured upbringing. But current nuclear families are a different story altogether. Really I wish if only I could have had some kind of device to infuse my son to that time to be brought up by my Aunt’s and Aita Ma (Granny) to be strong enough to face the future world. Yes this is a much weird thought, I am sure about.
The red colour quilt with the white markin cloth cover is one warm memory which is also a part of our lost childhood. The white markin cloth was used also for a particular reason. These markin clothes used to add the extra warmth and smoothness to the otherwise little rough quilt. With our childhood the red quilt also seems to be lost. Those families who still have it around are very lucky to still have the past immersed in their present. I think those are lucky families to be still rooted in their originality quite strongly.
So if we think it rationally, even the most ordinary and common quilts can be a basis of so much wistfulness and warm feelings that one would feel like reviewing the time. But past is always past. Some wise people consider its better to leave behind the past and to focus on future. But if we neglect our past then future may be baseless. A warm and rooted past can be a source of strong and beautiful future. Quilts may be an example of many such sources of infinite memories which built our present. Others may have different things which they may relate to with their childhood nostalgia. It is mainly the warm and strong bond which actually matters more then the feeling/thing itself.
Long live those memories of lost days in the folds of the warm quilts…..!