Every now and then my mother glowingly shares the tales of her colorful, groovy childhood days. The days of a thousand unsaid words that skipped the tongue and went straight to the heart. The days when life bloomed in full and when the moon and the sun and the stars all carefully listened and smiled back. Born in the era of revolutions, every little thought in her mind sparked a thousand little conflicts and she woke up each morning with an unwavering will to change the decadent world. With full delineation, she explains how she used to cycle around the colony in time of the ice-cream vendor’s bell, which used to drive out all the kids like an army of innocent, hungry hyenas and how those days really defined what she has become. She would restlessly wait for my Nani to give her and her sisters 10 Anna each to purchase their evening delight and satisfy those taste-buds. From the ice-chilled Kampa-Colas to evenings spent playing the make-believe games handed down like legacies by our ancestors, life couldn’t have been more blissful. She can still recall the names of all of her neighbors, from the chatty Chakrobarthys to the intrusive yet caring Bindras, from the hearty Ayer twins to haughty Kamal Aunty. The anecdotes of her past make me realize what all I’ve missed out on, and what I would never get to experience in my life. She keeps these memories like a prized-possession, open to everyone, unique to her. And whenever I can’t sleep, she indulges me with her memories and takes me to a world that God himself hand-crafted.

She remembers it like it happened yesterday and narrates the memories with such awe and detailed rapture that the life of the 70s almost feels like a utopia, a virgin, an untouched paradise relished by a lucky generation. Sometimes she recounts things with tears in her eyes. I can see how much she misses the wild, carefree sprints and the flowery frocks. Those days remind her of the endless possibilities life once offered that are now long gone, and she wants to give me a taste of that, the life of endless possibilities. Every now and then I take her back to the place she loves, the place she cherishes and the place where she truly belongs. Her beloved Daryaganj hasn’t changed and neither has my mother’s wish to go back to the world she would never give up.

 

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