Saturday, 15 September 2012

~ Of Madhabilata, Kokil and a Fresh morning~


Consciously or unconsciously our mind preserves certain images or memories which we gather on the path of life. The remain submerged in the ocean of our thoughts only to surface when we come across anything that  bears resemblance to it.

When we are small we always grumble about how lucky the adults are who can do anything they want. We can't wait to grow up to "enjoy" the benefits of adulthood. But the irony is that finally when we grow up and become an adult we start missing the "good-old-days" - our childhood. The sight, smell and sound of anything that takes us down the memory lane become so very special. We miss the innocent "us" and wish that if we could only go back to what we had left behind years ago.

It's been more like a decade that I had stepped out of my home. Lived in a hostel, then with colleagues and now with my husband - but still I feel that the 18 years spent in the lap of nature in IIT kharagpur (my father was a professor at IIT) was the best time of my life. My life mainly revolved around my ma and my pet cats. Life was simple yet cherishable. Never felt the absence or need of a sibling because my fleet of cats kept me company.

Might be since I was a single child, I had all the time in the world to be myself. To see and know things around me with uninterrupted attention. To perceive a "bit more" of everything. We had a madhabilata tree in our old quarter - C1-21. There were many other trees as well but that particular tree was my favourite. Every evening when the tree was heavy with fresh blossom, I would wander about it. The flowers had an enchanting smell - refreshing,subtle, blissful. One has to experience it to know why I am referring it as 'enchanting'. A surreal feeling of purity would overpower me everytime I was in its proximity.

Apart from the madhabilata, the other thing that I clearly remember from my childhood days is the Kokil or Cuckoo. IIT was infamous for the Kokils. These feathered souls would wake up before 4 am and make sure the entire campus was awake with its calls as well. Any visiting relative would always complain about this "nuisance". But we had got so used to them that without their morning calls something would seem amiss. Kokil & Madhabilata together announced the arrival of spring. The would set the backdrop for one of the most beautiful seasons to walk in with grandeur.

When I left, with it everything that constituted of my childhood was left behind. The room where I would sit near the window holding my ring in such a manner so that the sun rays would fall on the stone and create a kaleidoscope of colors on the opposite wall. The leather black board hung on the door which had witnessed me in the role of a teacher teaching her imaginary students maths, physics and biology. My red Hero cycle, the orange old sofa, my huge collection of story books, the smell of cooking when ma was in the kitchen, the innumerable hours spent with my cats and the life size posters of Rahul Dravid adoring the walls of my room - I had left them all behind when I moved out. The more the distance grew between me and my childhood days, the more attached  I became to my memories of the bygone days.

Life in the fast lane was never the same. An era had passed and now I was running like all other people in the mad rat race to achieve something in life. Fulfilling short term goals, setting new ones and planning how to achieve them - the perspective of life changed altogether. Stopping by to smell  a flower was the "mission impossible".

Like every other girl, I met my life partner, fell in love got married and came to Pune. During all these years I had almost forgotten about the madhabilata and the kolkil. We had landed in Pune as a married couple on a warm December afternoon. Months have passed but the place where we stayed remained the same. I took the same by-lane everyday to reach the main road and take a six-seater (shared auto) to my destination. Among all the noisy environ, I prefer to take this particular by-lane because it has two-storied old fashioned houses rather than multi-storied buildings on either side of the road. One day while returning back from office a very faint yet familiar smell wafted in the air. Like under a spell I began moving in the direction of the smell and what did I find? A bunch of powdery pink madhabilatas swaying in the breeze. The first reaction was that of surprise and awe. I had never expected to see the flower in Pune out of all the place.It was almost 15 years after that I was face to face with this old friend. The moment was overwhelming as somewhere faraway I heard the call of the kolkil as well. A few moments passed like that after which I took the bunch in my palms and inhaled the fragrance deeply till the smell infused into each and every cell of my body and mind. It was an Eureka moment. 

On weekend early mornings I walk down to the local vegetable market I smell the madhabilatas. The early morning air and the fresh fragrance, makes me feel rejuvenated. Today also I had gone for a walk and carried back home some of the fallen madhabilatas from the ground. I placed them inside my diary carefully and closed it. Sometime 10 years down the lane when I revisit the pages of my diary whether there would be a madhabilata tree nearby or not I would remember the memories of today.

The fresh morning setup the mood for a light and healthy breakfast. While sipping the early morning raw ginger tea, I toasted the brown bread and made poached eggs.  A creamy cheese garlic spread was perfect for the bread and I sprinkled some pepper powder and Ching's Miracle masala over the poached eggs to make them a bit spicy and a lot tasty. Served the bread and poached eggs sunny side up along with freshly sprouted brown chickpeas. We enjoyed the breakfast lazily while talking about all the relevant and irrelevant in our lives which at times just go unnoticed. Today there was no hurry, it was just us and the bright and beautiful morning promising us many more such mornings throughout our life.


Now everyday I travel by the same by-lane, look at the flowers and feel rejuvenated after a long day. The ever smiling flowers kind of assures me that life maybe a combination of ups and downs but somehow I will make through it. The kokil also coons in unison somewhere faraway. I just smile back and keep walking.  



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