It’s funny how long forgotten memories surface when you least expect it.
I’m on a food group on Facebook. One where I do nothing but salivate at the pictures being shared. One day someone shared a picture of fried eggs being made in a tarka pan and that set me off. My grandmother used to make eggs in a pan like that. Over an old fashioned wood burning oven. It’s funny how I had completely forgotten about it until then.
That picture brought back a flood of memories of that time, when I spent my school holidays every summer in the midst of greenery in Wayanad. One of the earliest memories I have is of having no electricity there. We lived in quite a remote place. My parents’ place, now. , has neighbours not too far away from their house, but my grandparents’ (both maternal and paternal) houses used to be perched on the side of two hills. The nearest house was across large paddy fields on a hill on the opposite side. So it was quite a different (and even scary at times – that’s a story for another day) place for a young child who lived in a colony with neighbours at shouting distance back at home. Without electricity. Being remote, electricity didn’t reach there until I was a little older (perhaps when I was 7 or 8). Actually I might have been a little might have been a little younger than that because I don’t remember reading in the light of lamps. By the time I was old enough to read we did have proper electricity. I have distinct memories of discovering my granddad’s book collection and pouring over them for hours together. The first P.G.Wodehouse I read was from his collection. I do believe my addiction to books must have been inherited from him.
When I look back, I remember is not the inconvenience or any hassle of not having the conveniences that we have today. What I remember is the atmosphere and the fun I had during the time we spent there. Going back to Jamshedpur always l left me sad. Sometimes I wonder if my daughter, so used to the ease of life here, would have been able to live in a time like that. Would she have ever managed given that she lives in a time where everything is so much easier. Then I see her when we are there. She has no telly there (we do have a telly, but none of the programmes interest her), she doesn’t have a tablet or fancy gadgets but she manages just fine. She finds other things to entertain her. Books, playing with pups, going for walks into the plantation with my dad or my uncle, getting her hands on a cocoa pod, or a nutmeg, writing reams and reams of her stories (yes, she loves writing). Not once do I hear her complaining of boredom.
And I realise that she’s doing just what I did when I was her age. Enjoying the moment, adapting to the place and making memories.. Hopefully loads of happy memories that will sustain her and remind of her holidays in a remote corner of the world, quite remote in comparison to where she lives.. Just like me. I do hope many years down the line, she appreciates how lucky she (and I ) have been to have lived in such a wonderful place, managed to experience such contrasts in life and enjoyed it to the fullest.