The thinkers often talk about the one moment when life will flash by in front of your eyes. They warn you to live well so you don’t regret the flashback. I have no clue if this is an omen of some sort but I get that flash every once in a while. It usually comes at important junctures and in moments when you need to look calm and composed. In fact, it can sometimes be quite a spoilsport.
At the airport yesterday, I saw a mental audio-visual of my growing up days. And I grew up really fast, or so I hear. Nani tells me I was born with a huge bunch of curly black hair. They had to make trips up and down the staircase when I learnt to hold things. Err, to collect all the stuff that I would drop from the balcony. Does anyone have insight on why children do that? I was very protective about my stuff otherwise and would ensure everything was in place when the other kids – the neighbours’, for instance – left. Mom would help me cut out the lions and elephants I would draw for my school holiday homework. She would sit by patiently as I painted them red and brown and yellow. All of the Delhi summer afternoon, until the evening breeze beckoned us to the balcony. And then, when Papa would arrive, Grandpa would fix all of us a glass of aam panna.
Sometimes, it is so hard to believe you are growing up. Especially when you gorge on the aloo ka parantha and bask in the sun just as you used to when you were small. The sun is warm and serene, the afternoon resplendent with memories. At other times, it is impossible not to acknowledge how time has flown. How tall you have grown, how friends are getting married, how you need to travel back to Pune the next day. At such times, I hold on to Mom in a super-tight hug and tell her how much I love her. I order a plateful of hot pakoras from nani’s kitchen. I sit with nanaji and Papa and talk about how the youngest cat has been learning to climb. Then, I get a semblance of peace. The moon comes out in the night-sky as I stand hand-in-hand with R. I gaze at the twinkling stars and I find the skies of Pune merging with the ones back where the rest of my world is.
When tomorrow dawns, the sun will rise to tell me it has been a year. One whole year since I acknowledged I am getting older. Since P&P refuses to go without the customary celebration, I grant him as much.
So here goes – it’s a ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ from P&P!