Portraits of my Great Grand parents in oil (probably a 100 years old.)
What remains of their belongings. (The flowers are fresh, we put them there on our visit).
THIS ONE’S FOR YOU MOM:
No they aren’t from the excavation site at Mohenjo-daro (though I would love to visit that archaeological site sometime). I clicked these pictures on my visit to the house where my great grand parents lived. (A small village Madugula, Andhra Pradesh, India). I wish I had a better camera in hand, with a 3 Megapixel mobile camera, that was the best I could do.
History the way it is taught in school never interested me. It was all about memorizing dates, about great leaders, wars, architecture etc. The moment I walked into this age-old house, where my grandma spent her childhood, and my mom spent most of her summer vacations, I realized this is what history is all about, a personal history and everybody has one. History books are just personal histories gone public. Personal histories may not be as fancy or as impressive or as revolutionary as the ones from my history book, but it is nevertheless interesting and opens doors to the unknown. All this was fascinating, to know that there was a time when members of my family used clay hearths and coal to prepare their meals, used a stone mortar and pestle to grind rice, beans, henna. No wonder they did not need gyms to keep themselves healthy, nor did they need a television set to keep themselves busy.
My mom walked through the house with ease, “watch your step at the kitchen door”, “the stairs to the terrace are steep, be careful!”, “this is where we had a henna shrub”, “that was the best spot to fly kites”, “the morning sun always knocked at this window”, “this is where we gathered for an evening snack”, that is where we counted stars”, “there was a guava tree here, parrots perched on it all the time”, “this is where we would hide when we did not want the elders to find us”, she went on and on.
My sister and I were so happy we made that trip. We saw our mom relive a beautiful part of her childhood. We saw a twinkle in her eyes as she went from one room to another, sharing anecdotes, walking down the memory lane. That day she shared with us a part of her life which we had never known. It was like all these years of growing up, growing old, making ends meet, raising a family, stressful jobs had robbed her personality of her mischievous side, her playful side. It felt good to think that my mom was once that kid, running around with her cousins, eating guavas, flying kites, catching butterflies. I know its hard to undo what age and time has molded her into, but I wanted to see that twinkle in her tired eyes, the mirth and happy-go-lucky smile on her wrinkled face more often. So I clicked these pictures, and I show them to her and let her talk about her summer adventures, vacations, holidays all over again. Repetitive yes, but it makes her smile, and makes us smile every time, and that is what matters.
Relics, that is the effect they have on you, as long as you manage to preserve the right ones.