I love postcards and photographs, they’re my earliest memories of dad, and his very existence. I can vividly recollect myself as a toddler crawling all around home repeatedly in search of him, peeking behind doors and through windows, lingering around the room and balconies, hoping to spot him somewhere around. And the sudden trembles of anxiety that consumed me completely from the sight of an aeroplane flying past the blue sky above, Amma had said that an aeroplane would bring him back here, although it only seemed to be lost gliding into suffocating clouds every time. And she teaching me numbers, while I attempted counting the number of days he would take to be back from a feeble wall calendar hanging beside the sewing machine. Between these were those joyous days of receiving picture postcards and letters from Gottingën, the quaint distant land that became his second home, and these were all I knew of him then. He took delight in shooting on film too, and frozen moments of life in the countryside, seasonal blossoms, adorable dogs and cats and whimsical streetsides joined the blaze of postcards on my living room wall in a quiet struggle of holding themselves glued as layers of pictures continued to get added, with most including a little drawing of birds or trees he made for me along with a ‘See you soon!’ written at the bottom. How soon – was my forever question. The kids in my neighbourhood old enough to go to school cheerily waved to us while amma carried me around our balcony to feed tiny little sparrows she fed religiously every morning, and all these kids seemed to have a dad who emerged right from their homes to drop them off in the often grudgingly working Bajaj Chetaks or TVS Lunas. I missed him. The shaky ‘trings’ accompanying the rattling cycle of the postman at intervals were my most awaited divine interventions, arriving on the lucky days with these pieces of parchment that were timely assurances of my dad being around somewhere and remembering us between his busy overworked days. And that meant the world to me.
My routine of clearing old data from my system turned into something more enjoyable this weekend, thanks to an old set of photographs that I located. This takes me back to the Cubbon Park in central Bangalore, which has been one of the most preferred choices for field trips from most kindergartens and junior schools. On that day though, it was solely to meet Aarav, who is as adorable as he is innocent. Brought to spend the morning in the park by his parents, it seemed only delightful to watch the little one make his own way through the park. I realized how much we take a regular walk in the park for granted, while I watched Aarav, in no apparent hurry in life, take his time with picking up pebbles, fallen flowers, coloured leaves and, much to his mother’s dismay, tiny insects. And the next thing I know is we’re drawing in the sand, making imaginary creatures out of the clouds above and collecting flowers of different colours. The rush of going back to childhood again really took me by surprise too, it was probably embarrassing to an extent to be seen crawling on grass or imitating animal calls together by on the park bench. But it definitely felt good. Great in fact! Spending time with children has always been more rewarding in every respect in reminding oneself to look at the world with the same curiosity, wonder and amazement. It probably took an Aarav to bring out the child in me in an instant, and it was one of the best days I’ve ever had.
Here are the few pictures I took of him before joining Aarav on his own small adventures. And here’s to bringing out the child in each one of us. And to the adorable little one who continues to touch everyone he meets 🙂