Relentless is the flow of a river in flood
It sweeps aside and carries away all
More relentless than water is time
Nor man nor God nor demon can
Dig in their feet and resist its flow
Everything that had a beginning
Necessarily has an end waiting
But to eternity will survive the little
Moments stolen from time’s flow
And preserved in the depth of my heart
Three decades of time has passed by me. It has brought along some precious rubies and diamonds. It has carried away a few of my sapphires and emeralds. One day it will carry me also away with it. But there are some moments I have secreted and hidden deep inside my heart safe from time’s flow. Here you will find on display some of those rare moments. Don’t think of stealing them. Imagine how tight the security must be if even time has not been able to steal them away.
What has no hands or legs, does not go tick tick, but wakes you up at the dot of seven in the morning nevertheless? The answer is the sweet aroma of fresh tea boiling on the kettle wafting from mother's kitchen. Dinner is usually the time of togetherness in most families. Morning tea was ours. With father’s erratic work schedule, it was rare for us to have dinner together. Morning tea was when me, my father and my mother sat leisurely for 15 minutes and exchanged sweet nothings. So much have we discussed over these cups of morning tea over the years! More precious to me is that cup of tea than the most divine ambrosia.
As a rule, man is a fool,
When it is hot he wants it cool
When it is cool he wants it hot
Always wanting what is not
The next one is going to be a weird one: going shopping with my dad! What is this? Some crime against gender stereotypes challenge? Well, not exactly! Here, the shopping I am talking about is for books. Initially it started off with second hand story books. Then when I got older, it was second hand sports star magazines as I was crazy about maintaining a scrap book of pictures and statistics related to cricket. Then even later it was computer magazines for the free CDs having trial version of computer games. The books have changed over the years but the excitement of going book shopping with dad has remained the same. This has been one major casualty of having my own income. But the memories remain and possibly one day I should take my dad to a book exhibition and get him to buy me books for old time’s sake.
Lot of research has been done to understand the nature of human intelligence. If one were to ask me, I would say the ability to tell stories and appreciate them is one of the critical aspects of human intelligence. And I was introduced to one of the greatest story tellers in my very young years: my grandfather. Possibly my deep interest in stories also was inherited from him only. He has probably told me hundreds if not thousands of stories from Indian mythology, Shakespeare, English novels, movies and various other sources. In my childhood the very news that my grandfather was coming to visit would thrill me to the bone. I have read so many books and seen so many television series and movies since. But nowhere have I found the magic that my grandfather’s stories had.
People whine so much about the summer heat. I even recently heard a person remark that he is not a summer person. Well, I have always been a summer person. The reason being summer vacations! Now I no longer have summer vacations. But even the memories of my summer vacations while at school are sufficient to invigorate me on the most tiring summer days. Most of my summer vacations were spent in my grandparents’ home. It was a large house in Chennai with lot of people – grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. We used to play cricket without stumps, tennis without a net and racquets. Lots of indoor games were also there, traditional and modern. Then there were lot of other miscellaneous activities as well: messing around in the garden, cutting wood pieces with a hacksaw and helping my uncle who ran a factory at home with the packaging.
I developed my love for English movies during these vacations only. Those were days before computers and DVD players. VCR was the in thing then and my uncles had bought one newly. So every day I would visit the local VCR library with my uncle and cousin for choosing a movie. Every weekend trips would be planned to places in and around the city such as the local zoo, the snake park, the beach, museum and temples. I lived in nuclear family without any siblings. So the joint family experience during summer vacations was something really out of the world for me. The excitement started from the moment I landed there. The whole family would come out to greet me the minute I was at the gate. Recently I was at the wedding of one of my cousins. All the folks came ahead to greet me like old times. Immediately all the old memories came rushing back to my head and I felt totally overwhelmed.
Equally fun was my vacation at my other grandparents home. There were no other kids there, but my grandparents and unmarried uncle more than made up for the absence. My grandparents had preserved well all the board games my mom and her siblings had played with in their childhood. And then there were chess and playing cards. My uncle knew so many different games that could be played with playing cards. Both my grandfather as well as my uncle were accomplished chess players. My favorite board game was Monopoly. My grandfather and grandmother would sit and play Monopoly with me for hours together. My uncle was a very shy and reserved person who was more comfortable with children than with adults. We would converse for hours about cricket and about technologies of the future. He had an excellent sense of humor and every moment spent with him was a pleasure indeed. But eventually I grew up and was no longer a child. That kind of created a gap between me and my uncle. Nor can I be playing board games with my grandparents anymore at my age. But the memories of those wonderful moments still remain fresh in my mind.
There are many more moments on display. But unfortunately it is already closing hours. You need to visit again to see the remaining displays. And new items are being added to the display every passing day of my life as events are rapidly being moved from the present to the past. For instance the lovely evening walks I used to have with my wife in the first year of our marriage. A moment it was here in the present. Then suddenly I changed jobs, my work timings changed and the moment became an addition to the archives.
Catch, then, Oh! catch the transient hour,
Improve each moment as it flies;
Life's a short summer--man a flow'r: