My earliest memory

I have been tagged by the wonderful Vidya with a 'My earliest memory' tag. Thank you Vidya for this trip down memory lane.

This promises to be a bit of a disjointed post quite like my earliest memories. There is no single stream of thought. Memories come as images, flashes, feelings and incidents. And so I'll go with a list. Come along folks.. are my top five.

1. That old man..

My earliest memory is of singing "This old  man" at the top of my voice in pre-school. I went to one of the nicest ones ever... The teachers were called aunties, the principal sang with us and we had red school bags, just a tiffin large, which we hung from our necks. As a bonus it had a mini zoo with rabbits and guinea pigs. It was a dream. By the way I'm still trying to figure out what that song means.

2. Bedtimes with my baby sister

They key word here is 'baby'. 
My dear sister was the sweetest baby ever. It was only later, when she refused to settle down to her 'little sister' status, that the fights really started. We would cuddle up on this huge bed and I'd feel all grown up and older sisterly!!

3. My silver screen debut...

..was such a flop. 
My dad would set up his projector and we'd sit together to watch old photographs. A very very 'Hum Saath Saath Hain' kind of thing. There was this one picture of me with a running nose and a dirty grimy face that I positively HATED. Each time it came on I'd walk out howling. Of course my sadistic family had a blast and my father would never ever skip that one. That baby picture, by the way, is a euphemistic one.

4. The smell of crysanthemums.. the flower show. 
We were regulars there every winter. We'd bundle up in our woollens and spend long relaxed Sunday afternoons on the NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute) lawns. There were gladioli and roses and other flowers too. 
However it's the chrysanthemums that stay in my memory most prominently. 
That luxurious green grass under my feet, that intoxicating smell of flowers and the music of the shehnai still remain with me.. yeah they played the shehnai .. no 'gandi baats' back then.

5. Parades and processions

Nope.. we never stumbled upon a Saif or a Sonali
but the baraats were fun, nevertheless
My early years were spent in old Lucknow. Celebrations in the crowded old city are a whole different thing - the music is louder, the clothes more colourful, the dancing more carefree and the bonhomie ever so contagious. I remember rushing to the door at the sound of music. First, there was the Bharat Milap, a huge procession to celebrate the coming together of Ram and Bharat. For some reason it would happen at an ungodly hour in the night. I remember being woken up by my grandmother and would sit there sleep flying out of my eyes at the sight of boys and girls dressed up as characters from the Ramayana. Colourfully painted Ram and Sita on a rath, Lakshman and Bharat followed by Hanuman swinging his gada with his troupe of monkeys and a bunch of bears thrown for good measure. Super fun!! The marriage season would see the baraats streaming by with the band singing the quintessentially off key 'aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai', the women in all their finery, the groom on the horse, kids dancing like they were possessed and yes the shower of coins, which we were absolutely forbidden to pick up. What a waste, I always thought.
During moharrum there were the sombre tazias. Those men lashing themselves was a sight I cannot forget.

So yeah that's my top five.

... and now I tag fellow blogger and dear friend.. the super organised Shilpa. Come on Shilpa, spill the beans from your past.

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