Monday morning. Breakfast time. Except for the tick-tock sound of the clock, there was an abnormal silence in the household. Who was I kidding? This was our normal these days.
I looked at my husband and children, busy eating their food, with eyes on their mobile phones, their hands and mouth working in tandom. Two of their senses, sight and sound were already been captured by the gadgets. So, I know it would be foolish of me to expect them to know atleast the taste of the food, they were busy hogging. Or they did. I would never know.
Neither did they pass to look on what was on their plate nor did they take a moment to appreciate the effort I had taken in plating the dish as they always wished. But my heart, too adamant to accept this new normal, was on the continuous lookout for the sweet banter this dining table had once witnessed. A sigh escaping my lips went unnoticed.
Once they bid their customary adieu and headed out, I couldn’t stop the feeling of loneliness seeping inside me, pulling me down.
I wanted to get out of the place that reminded me of so many things that no longer existed, but I wished they did!
I made a circle around our society and breathed some fresh air. Was I suffering from midlife crisis or was it same with every woman who had grown up kids, I wondered.
Just then, something flashy caught my eye. I saw a disposed film roll that was reflecting off the sunlight. I went to inspect it closely and with that, a plethora of thoughts crossed my mind.
How simple was our childhood, sans any frills and gimmicks.
We were happy with a yearly family picture and how excited we were to dress up and wait for a studio person who would visit us at home with his camera, loaded with a film roll. Not wanting to waste the roll, we would all rehearse and strike that perfect pose for the family picture.
How we waited for that once-in-a-year indulgence in a good restaurant. Not that we hated homemade food, but we always longed for that one day outing where we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted.
Ah the summer! Every Summer vacation had us running around with the neighbourhood children creating ruckus, having mangoes and Sundaes in abundance. Late night Kulfi treats were a hit and we would wait for the kulfi cart’s ding-ding bell.
Power cuts were frequent and whenever it happened, we all took our blankets and pillows, headed out to the open terrace to sleep together. More than the sleep, the chit-chat we had, huddling together with the same-age cousins had us always wonder if we could have power cuts everyday.
A once-in-a-while movie outing and an yearly-once shopping for the whole family, were some of the events we cherished.
Writing letters to the relatives and friends were quite eventful. The smell of the blue inland letter and postal stamps still lingered in my nose. How we siblings, fought for our writing space in a single inland letter and how we wrote lines after lines describing our schools, exams and new dresses.
Towards the end of the Summer vacation, we would be waiting anxiously outside the house, for the postman to deliver us our exam results. Though the postal card just had ‘Pass’ and ‘Promoted’ written on it, we still filed it up and celebrated it with homemade gulab jamuns, distributing them to the relatives.
How our annual train journey to the distant destination (mostly grandparents house) was filled with real chats and no gadget distractions.
How temple visits were more frequent than mall visits!
How we respected our parents and never talked back to them!
Ah! Those were the days. My fingers caressed the faded film roll. I wish things were that simple now. The film roll might have lost its image, but it sure brought back a truckload of memories. I wished for me to be transported to that period where things were simple sans any expectations but full of love, creating memories for a lifetime!
With those thoughts still in my mind, I took that film roll home, to be cleaned and savoured. It would look like a garbage to my kids, but not to me. They might neither understand its value nor appreciate it. I would cherish that roll, for it reminded me of myself, the once ‘most wanted mom’ to ‘just my mom’.