Sunday, 19 February 2012

Story Time




When I heard about Kissan’s new contest in indiblogger a couple of days back, it got me thinking. I was desperately searching for some precious incidents in my childhood that I could write about. I must say I was searching in lines of ‘filmy’ and hence the search returned very few hints. The ones that came in my mind where the ones that were not worth talking about, not even in a rather dull ‘over a cup tea’ talk with my mother. Time went by and other thoughts took over my mind and the day began to unfold in its rather bizarre way as usual. And then in one of its many daydreams I saw my childhood, not the whole lot of it but a certain incident that was as much part of my 5year old self’s life as crying and sleeping.


It was getting very late and impatient. As I was watching out through the grilled window, my eyes resting eagerly at the dimly lit small steel gate of my grandparent's house. The new stainless steel mailbox my grandfather had installed the previous day shinned brilliantly under the flickering yellow street light. My eyes had begun to slip and I might have dozed off a couple of times before I heard the creaking of its rusty joints. A sudden energy had build up inside me and I dashed downstairs to greet the oil stained brown paper packet my grandfather always bought. I ran to him and hugged his leg. He was not incredibly tall, just an average 5ft 10in, may be 6ft at the maximum, but for me a couple feet and a little bit tall toddler, that was the best I could do. I looked up at him in his eyes with the most beautiful smile I had asked him 'Appuppa, ennik entha konduvanne?' (Grandfather what have you brought me?). He would as always hold out the same oil stained brown paper cover out to me, but before letting me have it he would make me jump at it for sometime by holding it just out of reach for my tiny hands. All I had to do was give a fake cry and a sad face :) and he would invariably give it to me with a smile and a light kiss. I could climb up him and settle myself in the cosy corner of his elbow and start unwrapping the package that he had brought me while he engages himself in his daily pre-dinner prayer.


The most memorable of things that has happened during my life with my grandparents were always in the night. From what I have scribbled up so far it’s needless to say that I love my grandfather, but what made me love him so much is definitely worth mentioning. Though it has much to do with the fact that he supports all the mischief that I did and later did the same for my two brothers, but the one thing that was most amiable about my grandfather is the way he tells a story. Every night is a story time, with the characters of Ramayana and Mahabharata and his favourite Vishnu Purana unfolds in all their might and glory in his passionate narration. His stories were not so much a teaching or preaching as a way to get me sleep, yet they were the best of times, cuddled to my grandfather and with periodic humming (to ensure him I was not yet asleep).


The night was only our beginning back then, after our dinner it would take as definitely take us some time to get to the bed. I always made sure I slept with my grandparents, I would always sleep in their midst, I think it has much to do with the coziness of having them with me that had to do with it. As soon the lights are gone starts the story, always in the same way, with the kings, the queens and their heroic tales from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Vishnu Purana. He had a unique of telling a story and always refused to tell further if I stopped humming, I think it was his way of knowing when I had drifted to sleep. He would always tell the stories from these three areas only but, they are just big enough for a five year old to forget the beginning by the time we reach the end. may be its the wisdom of the stories he told or the way he put it, or just the uncanny combination of it that left me craving for a new story every night.


Those were the times of my life, in my grandparents house running among the trees and playing in the mud, luxuries that no longer exists for us anymore. Its that life I so poignantly miss in my life among the steel carcasses on wheels and the rising skylines. The life in the country among the fresh nature is a gift that I am not sure that I could ever give my children, the thoughts haunting, May be I will tell them stories like my grandfather told me. Give them much love and that should reduce my guilt at least in a very minuscule sense.


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