So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.
As a kid I never understood why my mother had a bagful of old letters, cards and another of little mementos, clothes from our childhood. It seemed like an extra baggage though once in a while I did do through them and listened to the stories attached. When I grew up, got married and had children mom gave my little clothes to me and said ,” theses are for your sons”. I smiled. Suddenly there was a gush of emotions .. you know I think I got it from mom, this sentimental gush for people and things
I carefully wrapped them and gave to the boys. Even made my younger one wear my parkar polka ( lehnga and choli) I am sure he hates me for this but he looked super cute . Maybe I wanted to fulfill my desire to have a daughter by dressing him like one .. Ya ya I know that’s kind of not good but then every boy is dressed in those pretty frocks as babies , aren’t they? I will share the pic if he allows . This particular lenga I had word on my first birthday and is very precious to me.
The other thing that mom gave was a small coat and cap which I wore as 3-4 month old baby . It is still is perfect condition with no dry cleaning and all. Preserved just with love and care.
There is some special fragrance and softness in these clothes. I had seen myself wearing this in photographs but to hold it in my hand and run the fingers on its fabric gave me a feeling which is beyond explanation. I realized there were so many things which were part of my memory of memories. Things straight out of magical days of childhood, connecting me to those wonderful days. A little box that held my first curl of hair, my umbilical cord wrapped in cotton wool. little anklets, small silverware ( a glass, bowl and spoon). It brought back memories of many things that were so precious to me but aren’t there now. A doll I always tagged along everywhere, picture books, scrap books, box of crayons and much more. Those were days when we had imagination and crayons instead of mobiles and play stations. I now knew what ma must have felt to so carefully treasure them. There are letter written in colorful scribble from me to ma, picture with alien like characters and scenery with exceptionally imaginative colors. .
Many times ma would take the bundle out and we would read and go through all of it and laugh and cry at the same time. She also managed to make the grandchildren gather around her and narrated stories about our childhood much to the amusement of the lot.
Letter writing is a lost art. I feel that nothing can replace the warmth and intimacy of a handwritten note or a hand-made card. Just as I was encouraged to write letters and draw , I encouraged my boys to scribble a few lines or draw something and send to grandparents. It always went with my letters and kids felt so proud of their feat every time , waited eagerly for mom or dad to reply. They were never directed what to write, just given a paper, pencil and colors and what emerged was a kaleidoscope of their imagination . I believed that this kind of interaction helps to develop a bond and creates a comfort zone. It sometimes even bridges the generation gap, at least it did in our family.
As they grew older and learned to write , these letters became one amazing peek into their inner world. Mom carefully kept each one in labelled envelopes with dates and time written in neat bold letters. From the time they began to hold the pencil/ color to when they could write properly. My elder one sent a lot of handmade cards and letters from hostle to both mom and me and each of us kept each one.
There is a bundle of my letters to mom and Adi’s letters to me. Pix will be added soon.
I have preserved some of the things from the childhood of my boys. Some of Adi’s stuff was buried in a transparent plastic bag as part of Dorling Kinsley Publications millennium year project.
I am a sucker for such stuff.
Like mom I too kept the little clothes, letters, pictures, cards, toys, whatever I could squirrel away.
Here is my elder one’s first birthday dress. (he is twenty year old handsome adult now)
There are a treasure trove when it comes to these beautiful memories. I am sharing just a few. I may add a few more pictures in coming days.
I always loved book and the family encouraged reading from a very early age. Most of the books I gave to a library of a village school. The picture dictionaries, children’s literature by Tolstoy and other books from PPH( People’s publishing house), CBT, etc. Some books were handed over from my brother to me and some others are part of my maternal grandfather’s collection. Collectors issues, first prints and some now out of print editions. Here are three of my favorites from my childhood.
These books are priceless treasures. Fruit Gathering ( Indian edition 1927), a gift from my grandfather’s collection. In Poem town is published by Blackie and Son Limited (London) somewhere between 1939=45). It says ‘Book production war economy standard’ and here we are talking of WW2. Now we are six doesn’t have the first page so the year is not confirmed but its yellow crumbling pages show it is as old as the other books. I am searching for someone who can preserve these books. If someone can help , please leave a comment.
I will do yet another post as I get hold of some other precious things which are tucked away somewhere.
Do you have such precious objects? Things from childhood - yours or your children’s? Do share links if you write about them.
Here is one more post I did long ago http://tikulicious.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/heirlooms-treasures-from-the-yesteryears/