Back when I was studying in HCU, I used to call up home every Sunday morning at around 10:30-11:00. I used to call up to listen to ‘Sunday morning sounds’. The radio playing at full volume, Amma exasperatedly telling Acha to turn it down, the mixer running in the kitchen, whistle of the pressure cooker, voices of neighbours who had dropped in for a casual chat. If I listened very very carefully, I could even hear the pages of the newspaper rustling as Acha pored over every word, sitting in the cane chair in the balcony with his second cup of tea (well, not really, but you know what I mean).
What is so unusual about these sounds, you ask? Nothing, really. But as a girl who was staying away from home for the first time, these were sounds of comfort. Sounds of familiarity. Sounds that I had grown up hearing, but never really listened to. I would have just finished eating yet another crappy MESS breakfast of alu-paratha (which was like the Bermuda Triangle for potatoes. They always went missing) and tea that never tasted like tea, but was at least edible. I never regretted leaving home. In fact, I was one of the few girls who didn’t even cry when our parents were leaving after settling us down in the hostel. I was excited. I was scared, of course, but I was excited too. I was about to embark upon an adventure, the very first REAL adventure of my life. Away from the sheltered life that I had grown accustomed to. Away from the city that knew me so well. No more hot home-made food waiting when I get back from classes famished. No more clean clothes that get magically washed and dried and ironed without me having to do anything at all. No more maid to clean the room for me. No more of knowing that no matter how late I get, Acha would come and pick me up. The Sunday morning calls were the one thing that I held on to. They helped me get through the rest of the week. Because I knew that no matter what changed, no matter what disaster had happened during the week, Sunday morning would bring back to me the familiar, and would restore faith in me that all is right with the world. Every time the pressure of assignments and studies got to me, and I wanted to just chuck everything and go back home, the Sunday morning sounds were my strength. They were like my ticket to sanity.
But gradually, the Sunday morning sound calls waned. I stopped calling home to hear them. The regular calls happened, of course. But not the Sunday morning ones. Or rather, it stopped mattering to me. Even if Amma did call me on Sunday mornings, which she almost always does, I never bothered to listen to them. I never paid attention to them. Why is that? Was it because I had grown up and grown out of it? Did I not need my Sunday morning sounds anymore? Did I not need that comfort and familiarity anymore? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because once I moved out of the hostel and started living on my own, I got so wrapped up in ‘being independent’ and ‘fending for myself’, that I didn’t feel the need to hear the familiar sounds. It was not a conscious decision. It’s something that happened without me even realising it had.
I didn’t realise this had happened, until last a few days back, when, the whistle of a pressure cooker from a neighbouring apartment triggered off the memory in my mind. The memory of Sunday morning sounds. And just like that, a hand clenched around my heart. I had this sudden urge to call up Amma and tell her “I called up to hear the Sunday morning sounds, Amma”. But I didn’t. It wasn’t a Sunday, of course. You can’t hear Sunday morning sound s on a Tuesday morning, can you, silly? So I waited.
And this morning, I called up home. And there they were. The radio playing in the background. Pressure cooker whistle. Acha talking to someone. Amma saying that a neighbour had dropped in for a chat.
And all is right with the world again. J
Do you have any such ritual, anything that you do just to reassure yourself that some things never change? Come on, there’s gotta be something.
P.S1: Happy New Year, folks! Have a great one.
P.S2: I was in a mood to ramble today. To be honest, this post reflects my earliest kind of writing, when I used to write just for the heck of writing, not to be read. I wonder why I'm not able to write like that anymore. I hope I didn't bore you.
P.S3: P.S's can be annoying no?
"Bermuda Triangle for potatoes" has to be one of the more laugh-worthy ones I have read in recent times. Thanks for that, it has heralded a happy start to the week.ReplyDelete
Speaking of rituals, and Sunday rituals at that, a (once) close friend and I used to have this habit of emailing each other every Sunday. As we moved to different cities and got on with our lives (and also drifted apart), however, the ritual was forgotten. The friend in question is getting married soon, and I should probably write her an email today. :D
Cliched as it sounds, lovely post! Though a plethora of details (e.g., the first paragraph here) characterises your posts, they invariably read like a river.
You definitely should email your friend. :)Delete
I loved this..ReplyDelete
My comfort ritual is to stay in bed and read Anne of Green Gables. I have carried a copy with me, wherever I have gone, for the last 20 years or so. And calling up Dad, just to hear him say "hello Beta"
Totally loved the post, didn't get bored all !
You know what I did after reading your comment? Went and searched for my copy of Anne of Green Gables. Unfortunately I think I've lost it. But found Anne of the Island instead. Started reading it again now. :) It's beautiful, isn't it?Delete
Loved the post.. I have been out of the house for 8 years now. First studies and then it was work.. For me it is the evening sounds which calms me a little.. Mom cooking something and the ladle making sounds over the kadai.. Granny watching some kannada serial..ReplyDelete
I never get bored of anything you would write.. :) They are always very well written.. :)
Thank you so much. :)Delete
This was such a heart warming post!!ReplyDelete
I feel home sick now. So home sick
And after commenting , I am going to get out of my office for a while and call my parents!
So did you call them? :)Delete
The title was enough for me to rush here :)ReplyDelete
Ah nostalgia! I remember hearing the sounds of my dog bark, the vegetable vendor yelling out vegetable names, my granny praying etc etc when I stayed away from home for the first time. Some how with time, the calls diminish. Sad, but true!
Happy New Year Spiff. May this year have you write more regularly and I'm still awaiting that guest post from you!
P.S: You thought I forgot that didn't you? ;)
I haven't forgotten. Shall write one soon. :)Delete
For any girl who left her home there are such things that strike a chord, the magical little somethings that remind us of home. Sometimes I can just close my eyes and feel the air around home. The smell of familiarity, the touch of love, the smiles of endearment. I can understand exactly what you meant, or atleast relate to it. It is all so beautiful, and thank God for fond remembrances. I miss home !ReplyDelete
I miss home too. Terribly. The comfort of it. But I guess it's important to get away from that comfort too...Delete
Ah... the memory of familiar spaces. That's what keeps most of us going I guess. For me it's my room in Mysore. The windows on one side of the room open to the guava tree in the compound. There was a sparrow nest in it. Every morning I woke up to its chirps. The tender rays of Sun falling through the leaves, the shadow of the leaves on the other side of the room makes it a comfi place to read, sip tea at leisure or listen to music... Every time I go home, I go into my room first to soak in that nostalgia. (The sparrow is not there anymore though). Damn, now I can't wait to get home !!!ReplyDelete
I miss kundanbagh bar and restaurant, Hosku. :(Delete
Never been away from home, ever. -_-ReplyDelete
Can't really relate myself to it, but this is a really heart warming post. Welcome back. :D
Happy new year. :D
And i hope you post more regularly this year.
I hope I post more regularly too!:)Delete
This is so heartwarrming :') Just yesterday one of my closest friends had such a breakdown because he's been away for half a year now, for the first time in his life.ReplyDelete
"this post reflects my earliest kind of writing, when I used to write just for the heck of writing, not to be read. I wonder why I'm not able to write like that anymore." If you figure out the answer to this, tell me too, please? :(
Take care & happy new year to you too. x
I used to breakdowns like that too. Not so much now. Sometimes I get so homesick, I even with fighting with Amma. :(Delete
I loved reading this. Didn't get bored at all. It set me thinking what my ritual is, that I do to reassure myself that everything is okay. I think it's climbing into my warm and comforting bed, or sitting at the dining table, chairs here and there, and chatting with my parents. :)ReplyDelete
Sitting at the dining table and talking is something we do too. Amma and I sit for hours, gossiping, bickering.. :)Delete
For me Sunday begins at 12:00PM...So dont even have the faint idea what Sunday mornings are like :)ReplyDelete
Super post Divya ..
Have a great 2014 :)
:D That was a good one.Delete
Thanks da. Hope you have a great year ahead too. :)
Nostalgic! I used to be away from home during my university days. I called home twice a week because mum claimed once a week was too scarce. Lol. Our conversations had never lasted more than 5 minutes. It was merely a 'I'm doing good. Hope everyone at home is fine too' kinda thing. Then I graduated, worked and after 5 long years of staying with my family, I left home for a new job. I still call them twice a week. BUT the conversation now last for more than 20 minutes. It's not just a 'I'm doing good' but its more than that. It made me realise how much I miss their presence and appreciate them even more. It made me realise how much I took things for granted. Lesson learned! =)ReplyDelete
Bermuda triangle for potatoes- Yup, hostel aloo parathas are always that! I guess as we grow up, we tend to get out of the habitual things we cling onto. But they are always there, we just get so caught up in the independence it happens.ReplyDelete
I completely identify with what you are saying. Sometimes I too wanna just go home to be in that comfortable safe place, the familiar sounds, smells. It wanes with time, and sometimes I wanna avoid going home coz I know it'll be a difficult adjustment when I come back!ReplyDelete
There are sounds, smells, feelings...so many things we attach with our home. It all comes back when we go and visit and we feel why did we have to leave at all! These childhood/teenage memories are so precious, aren't they?ReplyDelete
That was some really good reading. Next time you do that Sunday Morning call, please say Hello to your Achan and Amma. Oh, and Happy New Year too. :) (All that only after you are done listening to those good old Sunday Morning sounds.) :)ReplyDelete
When I was away in boarding school, I liked hearing the dogs back home. ;)
Lovely writing as always. Shall try to come by more often.
(Btw, baby No. 2 has arrived. How have you been? We should connect on fb)
I had read this post long back and I thought I had commented then. But just came here and realized I haven't :PReplyDelete
Me and John have this habit of visiting a far away Ayyappa temple on sunday mornings. And we make it a point to have breakfast at a particular Kamat hotel on our way back. We started it accidentally and now it has become a ritual. :)
this one hit so close home, i had to call up and talk to my folks after this!! so good to read your posts again!ReplyDelete