Flash Backs from Lanka

Every now and then, there are moments when you push back the veils of the past and dig into your memories to try to relive those happy occasions again and again. It might be the taste of the payasam made by your grandma during your vacation, fighting with a favorite cousin over a tri-cycle and ultimately breaking it, or it might be learning how to cheat at bluff, donkey, rummy, carom or even hide and seek from your uncle.

These memories are more often than not triggered by a quick visual on tv, the smell of cooking, a faded photograph on its way to sepia tinted paradise or even an offhand comment that is made in passing. Such a moment occurred to me today when I read 'Calm in a teacup' by Charukesi about her experiences while in Kandy.

The earliest memories I have of anything are of our house in Colombo and the bright days and the greenery around the house. Situated in a small cul-de-sac , I can remember the cats that used to roam around. I remember being sad when the monkey that used to eat papayas from our house was shot. I remember catching gold fish from the pond in our house with my bare hands and when they died, I fed them to a white cat.

I remember a kid smashing his fists into my guitar shaped cake on my 4th birthday. I remember sitting under a table on the 31st of October, 1984 while the maid listened to Radio Ceylon announce Indira Gandhi's assasination.

I remember sitting in the car and listening to a tape which had Paul McCartney singing 'Mull of Kintyre' ( that tape is going string even after 30 years!). I remember the boat ride on Kandy lake and my mother pleading with me to stop jumping around.

I remember the car-sickness I used to get every time we drove out of Colombo, whether it be to Kandy, Batticaloa, Hikkaduwa , Yala  or into Galle. I remember going on a safari and seeing herds of elephants, spotted dear and the guide lady saying "yellow-legged myna".

I remember running over to our Japanese neighbor's house where the two girls there taught me origami and gave me Japanese jelly to eat. I remember dad stopping at a supermarket and buying Swensen's icecream. I remember sitting on the brown beach in Galle Face, flying an yellow,eagle-shaped kite. I remember trying to use chopsticks for the very first time at the Golden Dragon at Taj Samudra.

I remember pestering my mother to be taken to  Victoria Park and then swinging on the swings and jumping off into the sand like some hero. I remember the time when the training wheels came off my cycle at Independence Square.  I remember eagerly waiting for my father to come back from a trip to Europe when he used to bring new disks for my Viewmaster

I remember going to Joseph Frazer hospital and being asked by the nurse if I wanted a brother or a sister and I replied "I want both". I also remembered being overjoyed at having my wish granted. I remember the next day when I threw a tantrum and locked the maid in the bathroom.

I remember having guests at home and my parents teaching me to say 'hello', 'please', 'thank you' and 'good-night'. I also remember getting a Swatch watch with Mickey Mouse on the dial. I remember reading Tintin and Frog and Toad All Year. I also remember sitting in front of the TV and hitting the record button on the VCR when Scooby-Doo or Woody Wood Pecker was on Rupavahini.

These memories will never fade away, but will be relived every time I open an album, watch an old video, read the writing on the inside of a book that was presented or look at my old toys gathering dust in a cupboard.

Trampled byY Trip at Wednesday, March 17, 2010


charukesi said... March 17, 2010 at 4:12 PM  

nice :) - the small things that we forget when we grow up - Viewmaster! I have not heard about it or thought about it in yeaaaaaars - thanks for starting me on my own childhood memoies!
and I am glad something I wrote inspired you on this nostalgia trip...

Prashant said... March 17, 2010 at 4:15 PM  

<> that's some coincidence :).

Shashikiran said... March 21, 2010 at 5:16 PM  

Very nice! I searched a bit to find out where you live now. During my childhood Ceylon was for Radio Ceylon and for (mostly noisy) introductions to some Western pop.

I got to enjoy the place a little in the last three years, and reading this piece touched off a longing to go back again, soon, though I was there just this month.

Anupama. said... April 14, 2010 at 8:22 PM  

Awesome Yogesh...

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