nostalgia


This post is all about this orient table fan. This fan is from my Amma Babu[ parents- mother, father] home for as long as I can remember, even the blue red electric wire is the old one. This fan used to be out of its cover only during summer months. My Amma had stitched a round cover with the provision of putting string inside gap at the end which can be tightened to close it completely. It was sky blue cotton cloth over which she had stitched remains of a plastic table cloth,red yellow flowers on white background. At the end of summers the fan was cleaned properly, oiled and put inside cover and then to attic for rest of the year. During the summer months, come Sunday and my Babu would sit with the bottle of oil and a rag to clean and oil the fan. His that frame comes alive to my mind even today. Completely engrossed in the process he used to handle it with such care and love that it became apparent how he valued it.
That generation survived on minimum of things and maximum of sharing. They valued their possessions.They cherished their relations.
That day we took out this fan after I don’t know how many years. Sunder dusted it and we simply put the plug in socket and lo, it moved smoothly.No servicing, nothing was required. Enjoying it’s breeze I could inhale the fragrance of their love, care and my those lovely, carefree days.
Most of the people of that generation were honest to their commitments and prided themselves in executing their work properly.
The machinery inside this fan must be of an outstanding quality that it runs smoothly without any servicing and least care even after more than forty years.
Development is must but we need to revive certain values if we really want to leave something lasting for generations to come.

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Pics by Sunder Iyer

This time let us travel back to our childhood. I literally did that while visiting this village in north India. Candy floss, cotton candy, fairy floss, by whatever name you call it, still invokes the feelings of wonder in children. At least it certainly was doing so in that village. Just look at the face of this girl, her expressions says it all. The joy of watching the sugar turning into a fluffy ball, the expectation of a magic to unfold is so apparent.


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My memories from my childhood brings back a bit fading image of a thin man with a box of transparent glass hanging from a wide belt on his shoulder. Ah, those glistening balls of baby pink and lemon yellow. No stick was attached to them and as the man walked on the street the box shook a bit with his movement and so did flicker the shining of the balls. More than the taste, holding that fluffy feather weight ball on palm and watching it sparkling in sunlight transported me to joyland. At that time perhaps the machine of turning sugar into the fluffy ball had not been devised or may be those were the times when everything was not so bare and open hence the feeling of wonder was intact.

I found this candyman with his machine on a hand cart, preparing the floss infront of children.And the best part was that feeling of wonder ,of magic unfolding has not lessened with the time.

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the sugar in the container about to be turned into floss

 

 

 

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And..HOW? is writ large on those innocent faces…

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Uff! wait is too much,

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finally the joy of holding it in hands…

As I grow older I really feel that the joys, that childhood has given me are the best ones.

I will love to end this post by a quote by Elizabeth Lawrence–

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”

So relish and enjoy the child within you. A very happy new year to you. This one is my first post of 2019 here.

All pictures by Sunder Iyer

Few days ago I got to spend few hours with this ninety two year old gentleman with varied experiences of life. He takes care of this ages old temple but does not hold a good opinion of so called Sadhus and babas. He prefers to communicate with we grahasth [family] persons, who according to him happen to be more enriched spiritually.
He lived with Sri Govind Ballabh Pant, the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, when he practiced as an advocate and Our country was under British rule.He started his first government job with salary of Rs forty per month, did his char dham yatra on foot from Haridwar.He shared lots of memories of the days when entry of Indians was banned in Hazaratganj after four P.M. as that was the time British offiicials and their families used to come there for enjoying their evenings.He also shared how there was scarcity of educated people and posts in government offices, seats in higher educational courses lay vacant for want of candidates.
This temple where he now resides is ages old. He told us that no body knows who built it originally. years ago it lay surrounded by dense forest on the bank of river. Dacoits, bandits and freedom fighters too took shelter here.When he arrived here then also it was surrounded by dense forest and forty to forty five snake couple resided in the vicinity…and why not after all it is an ancient shrine of Lord Shiva.It is said that plastering of the temple structure has been done by the mixture of Urad dal [ black lentil] pulp of Ber [ indian plum / jujubi] and chasani [syrup of Gur[jaggery]

Talking to him was like turning pages of a old history book nay more interesting and enthralling. He created wonderful imagery while narrating his travel experiences of mountains and the underlying spiritual essence provided hope and strength.

 

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All pictures by Sunder Iyer.

On twelfth of june 2016 when we started from Gwaldam guest house towards Dewal road, we did not have any fixed plan. We reached Gwaldam with a plan to trek upto Bedni  but somehow the feedback we received there discouraged us to venture on the route. We Got an impression that the terrain is too challenging for our age. So on the morning we set out to reach the last point accessible by vehicle on that route, that is Wan. We drove with a leisurely pace stopping in between to click pictures, to listen to the rhythm of silence flowing through the forest of tall, stately pines.

And then we reached Wan. At the turn of the road was this tiny shop. We parked our vehicle there and inquired whether we could get a cup of tea . It’s Jamuna dadi’s tea shoppe. Here we met Hira. Hira takes trekkers – individuals and groups on trek tours to Bedni, Roopkund and beyond. Few minutes of conversation with him and he convinced us to embark upon the trek to Bedni. Somehow or other the way he took upon himself the responsibility of making this trek possible for us made us free of all worries. Jamuna dadi too with her enchanting smile encouraged us . Ultimately it was decided that we shall spend the day in the village and then next morning start our trek.

 

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  Jamuna dadi, the shop owner

This stay at Wan was totally unplanned but perhaps such unexpected changes make traveling very fruitful and enriching. The day we spent in the tiny village was truly rewarding, Sitting there in the tea shop in salubrious surrounding of green hills we met many new people and listened to various travel tales. There was this gentleman who once upon a time worked as porter and had accompanied many foreign nationals to uncharted paths, untraveled roads on high hills, through dense forests and deep valleys. Now with tired limbs and weakened joints he roams and works within village limit only but he still looks with longing and fondness towards the high peaks and sharing the tales of his glorious, tough travels make his eyes shine with luminous joy. He remembers with fondness his past adventures and conquests but not being able to do that now had not made him bitter at all. This calm acceptance of  the inevitable  patterns and changes in way of life is very endearing….a life long lesson. The real travel is just not visiting new places but learning new lessons of life, developing a new eye to various facets of life.

 

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                             Panoramic views of Wan

Hira took us for lunch to his home. His home was in front of tea shoppe, across the road on a slightly higher plane. His mother and wife prepared the food.  Fresh hot dal, vegetables and salad from fields, chapati and rice with home made chooran was tasty and we enjoyed it a lot. During entire day we visited other houses too, had tea in different courtyards and learnt a lot about local customs, traditions, festivals, fairs, Gods and Goddesses.

 

bedni_12In conversation with Hira and Yashwant, near the river flowing through the village

 

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out of these three pictures, the first one is the stream of river, whose flow the villagers get diverted to run their indigenous flour mill. Second pic is the outer view of their flour mill ,while the third one is the inside view. such praiseworthy effort on the parts of villagers.

 

bedni_26bedni_7 - Copy - Copy Lady walking towards her field to cut the wheat and in the upper one cutting wheat in the field.

 

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bedni_16 Separating grains from plants. I admired the school, college going girls, who study in nearby bigger places but were at home during summer vacation. They participated equally in  all the agricultural activities.

 

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It was time of harvesting wheat. The women folkfields were busy cutting wheat from fields, separating the grains by beating the dried plants.

Meeting the children and interacting with them was a wonderful experience. Yashwant, Deepak, Pankaj, Yashpal, Pushkar etc were in the age group of nine to fourteen. Few of them studied in schools of some nearby bigger places and were in the village during their summer vacations. Awareness level of the children living in those remote places was amazing, from latest mobile technologies to political scenario of state and country to each and every plant, trees of their area, mythological tales, local rites, rituals each of them was very well versed in all these subjects. Very sweet, affectionate kids were they.

 

bedni_20                   enjoying tea and gossiping with women

 

bedni_21                              children in their courtyard

 

bedni_27 Pankaj holds in his hands a plant , he plucked from road side. Children told us that a very tasty curry is made from this plant. They described the entire procedure of cleaning the plant and cooking it.

 

bedni_24             Walking towards Ghanti Dhar with children

They showed us their fields in the valley, introduced us to various plants and their utilities. Narrated the tales and facts heard from their grand parents about centuries old Surai trees and  by their description made alive  the crimson clad valley in the season of Buransh blossoming. Excitedly they invited us to revisit their village at that time. Those lovely smiling faces as if reflected radiant Buransh.

While returning from Ghanti dhar we were caught unaware by a sudden spurt of lashing rain. No cover was available. we had not taken our umbrellas with us, children were not worried about themselves but were concerned that we had to start our trek early morning and we didn’t have any change of clothes with us. A little ahead on the side of road we found a bent, hollow tree under which we tried to get shelter. We tried calling the driver of our cab to come and take us but that too did not work as no BSNL coverage and connectivity is available in Wan and nearby areas and we both and our cabby Prem all three of us had BSNL numbers only. With luck we saw two people coming towards us, Kids asked them whether they had a mobile and then they called their mother to send our driver to pick up all of us. Finally huddling together inside the cab we reached the village, where jamuna dadi was ready with black hot tea to greet us. The entire episode was so fun filled. It revived our childhood spirit and enthusiasm. True, the joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, changing horizons. The simple joys are the most nurturing ones.

We spent the night in a small, low ceiling neat room with mud walls, whose door opened to green high  hill beyond the valley. The bed sheet, quilts and blankets were clean and we had a undisturbed sound sleep. Kaloo, the black, bulky dog sat on rooftop entire night as if on guard.

 

bedni_15At the door of the room we stayed for night

 

bedni_18                              The inside view of room

 

Next morning we left the place with Hira on our trek to Bedni but we did not leave Wan. We brought it with us. It became a part of us and simultaneously we left something of us there behind. We returned back to our daily city routine but the journey never ended. It keeps rewinding again and again within the deepest and quietest chambers deep down inside us.

 

bedni_22                             An overview of Wan village road

 

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All the pictures by Sunder Iyer.

Details of Our guide–

Hira Singh Bisht Garhwali

Village — Wan, Dewal. Chamoli, Garhwal, Uttarakhand.

Phone number — 09756480219[ whats app available on this number], 07895165848.

 

Crumbling walls, uninhabited houses and battered doors invite you to venture into the mysterious world of lingering shadows.
Bolted doors, though aged with times cling passionately to the naked walls as if guarding secrets lying there for years. The quiet dignity of their commitment pulls a string at your heart.
In a courtyard full of dry leaves, wind walks to you with halting steps as if crossing the distance of ages. Whispering voices call you from shadowy corners. In the moist and diffused light spread across the chipping verandah, the past speaks to you with an intimacy across the time line.
Through the cracks of shriveled doors, escape the sighs of tales untold. The dusty interiors preserve the redolent presence of forgotten ones.
And just when the haunting past reverberates through your entire being, the present peeps down at you through a crevice high above the falling roof. A just born bunch of delicate green leaves smiles at you beckoning to march forward/move onward.


pictures: © sunder iyer