Saturday, February 01, 2014

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.


  1. Lovely! Now that Vidya has come up with more than one and you with your top 5 I am feeling I probably wanna share more too...but guess for now I will live with what I have posted.

    Anyway, Lucknow huh? Nice! Lovely memories these...made me smile :)

  2. Love it Tulika! :D Thank you for accepting the tag! You know I hardly have photos of my childhood. Somehow I've managed to wangle 4-5 from my Uncles - but they're so old they're flaking off. I loved that you shared several, instead of one! Hugs! Would have been grand to see a pic of a little you!

  3. Such a lovely post! I loved reading about all your wonderful old memories. This was really awesome! ♥

  4. Such sweet memories Tulika. The streets of India provide non stop entertainment. I miss that so much. The Bharat Milap parade must've been so awesome. The Ramayana is my favourite story of all time. Your post made me smile.

  5. Made me smile!! We had the same projector too and my parents would show us slides of when we were babies and before we were born...
    It used to such fun!! :)

  6. Even I don't know what that song means. How silly it was, but it was a craze back then. Lovely memories Tulika.

  7. 5 Fantastic Memories. I had some weird and funny pics of mine pasted neatly in the albums, I would take them out and hide them somewhere.Yes, the processions and baraats were very fascinating though in the colony where we stayed these were rare occasions but when we used to go and meet some family friends in the city, it was fun. Thanks for tagging me, T :)

  8. That was some beautiful memories.... I'm loving these series... where we could sneak into everyone's childhood days. :)

  9. Haha...I totally remember "this old man"... such a random rhyme! Those are some great memories! Wish you had shared the real photo though ;)

  10. I am having so much fun reading all these 'earliest memory' posts... Each one leaves you with nodding your head, smiling and looking back at your life. The one with your cute n so identifiable, she still is my baby. And I would love to see that photo of yours... Promise I'll not laugh ;)

  11. What a great blend of memories! I shiver when I visualise those lashing paraders. And, any chance I can get a peek at the baby picture? ;)

  12. This is such a fun post, Tulika. I don't think anyone has figured out the meaning of that song - but it's still fun - I was belting it out the other day to our dog and my husband looked at my strangely (I give him lots of opportunities to do that).
    Old Lucknow must have been so charming - the people I met from there always were - as are you! ♥

  13. Great memories listed here...I like going for the flower shows too, but my husband hates it :) Liked Lucknow and reading your recollections of weddings in Lucknow, made me smile. The evergreen song, aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai, is played universally :)

  14. Kid pictures are so embarrassing and nothing in this world can let me part with them! Loved reading your post! :)

  15. Lucknow!! That reminded me of so many things I used to do. Well NBRI is still a must visit on my list. And you know Tullika so much to do and see there!


  16. Bharat Milap... brought back so many memories Tulika.. even my early years were in old Lukcnow and I totally relived many of my early memories thanks to your post

  17. What wonderful memories. Loved reading them. Te last one reminded me of my childhood too.I remember the way we used to scramble to see the 'barat.'

  18. We all have that one pic which we hate and which our families use to taunt us!
    Lovely collection of memories Tulika!

  19. A nice post Tulika and for us Indians flowers , photos and baarat are a huge attraction.
    My bro was once clicked when he was crying and whenever I had to tease him I used to remind him of being a cry baby.

  20. This is such a beautiful post, fun filled...loved reading it absolutely :)

  21. Loved the tag and your post on it :)... set me thinking about what the earliest stuff I remember from my childhood might be! A snub nosed school bus on my first trip to school for LKG has to be it.

  22. He he - i know exactly what u are saying abt fights starting when thy rfus to be 'little' anymore :)


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