Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Look What I Found!




I am sure it happens to you. There you are cleaning your cupboard and you unearth old trivia which transports you to another time. Like when you come across an autograph book with emotional farewell notes from school buddies or when you find a handmade card crowning you as the world’s best mommy! Suddenly your heart gets wrapped in nostalgic mist of distant memories.

I don’t usually enjoy nostalgia. It’s imprisoning. It makes me sentimental. Though it doesn’t surprise me one bit. For as long as I remember, I have always been a sentimental person. Simple things for me can be strangely moving. 

 
My throat tightens when I see an old picture of my father as a young hockey captain. The picture is a reminder of life’s impermanence.  Also the fact that there is no way I can rewind the reel. 

I find myself filled with longing when I discover little booties of my son but can’t really tell why I feel the way I do. Sometimes words desert you in strange ways that you begin to wonder if any writer can ever describe what you are feeling.

Today I stumbled upon an old college notebook. The last page of the notebook is full of mindless scribbling and doodling.  Perhaps, a boring lecture on a late summer afternoon led me to spew angst and anxiety on paper.

It s a trivial but have you ever wondered why boys tend to doodle geometric shapes while girls draw faces and flowers?

And why it is so satisfying to doodle when we are on the phone?

Apart from doodles, my notebook has some juvenile poetry scribbled on the last page. There is something about adolescence which makes us poets. And it doesn’t really matter if the poetry is awful. After all, it’s our little secret. Crushes, heartbreaks, longings, frustrations, confusion and rage find vent through verses. Interestingly when I try to write poetry today, it eludes me completely. And the last page of my diary today has e-mail addresses, telephone numbers of electricians and plumbers and carelessly scribbled grocery lists. Sigh!

While rummaging through papers, I came across my school report card. The general remark section says: It is a pleasure to have her in class. She is neat and does her work regularly. However, she is a shy child and needs encouragement to speak in public. 

Some things never change.Speaking in public remains my worst nightmare.

Picture Courtesy: Google Images/Policymic.com/allisalearntowrite.blogspot.com

52 comments:

  1. can so very well relate to this one. Whenever I plan to clean this old cupboard of mine, the thing that occupies me most are the greeting cards and my old diaries. Plus there are other things like embroidery classes handkerchiefs etc etc! One ends up living sooo many moments sitting right in there!
    I even wrote a post back in 2010 on something similar @ http://www.sarahmalikdelhi.blogspot.in/2010/12/magic-of-greeting-cards.html
    :)

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    1. True. The magic of greeting cards is lost in the din of Facebook messages and e-cards.

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  2. Ah! Looks to me like we share that aversion to public speaking - though, if ever my school teachers wrote anything about me it would have been 'it is a pleasure to have him out of the class' :) We also share that 'awful poetry' of adolescence changing to no poetry in adulthood :)

    Old trivia is fun and I love nostalgia - maybe my age when "In the good old days..' is the typical preface to any conversation that I start :)

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    1. :)
      Going to a premier B School with all the presentations, you must be a pro at public speaking. I am yet to read your new post on presentations.

      Strange how we loathe 'In the good old days' when our parents use it, but unconsciously begin to use the phrase when we become parents.

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  3. I am the thrower - a hoarder's nightmare! The mistress of offloading and unloading. A firm believer of lightness of being..

    Btw, I love reading your nostalgic musings. Have a feeling you write fantastic stories.

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    1. Story telling and poetic skills are missing Purba.
      I remember narrating bed time stories was tough.

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  4. This post brings a smile to my face, because the first image that my mind conjures is that of autograph books from school and college - filled with farewell notes from teachers and friends. The college one even had funny questions and answers - what do you remember about our first meeting, what's your favourite quote, do you have a nickname for me, stuff like that. Cute to read and fill in then, cute innocent answers to read even now! Yes, it's sentimental for more reasons than one! :) Strangely, I don't find them imprisoning, I don't dig them up of, but whenever I do, I feel it invigorating. Remembering the good memories :)

    Sigh, as far as notes from teachers go, I was ALWAYS called upon for talking too much in class, being too talkative!

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    1. *typo: don't dig them up often

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    2. Yes, depending on the memories nostalgia can be invigorating.
      Would love to meet a talkative warm Deepa.
      BTW, is your book available at book stores?

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    3. :P You may end up finding the talkative Deepa irritating! :) Ha ha, many a times, I end up thinking that I need to tone down the "talkativeness"! Alas, it's almost ingrained in me now! :) But yes, irritating or not, would be great to meet up!

      Yes, it's now available at bookstores too, I don't know the exact ones, but some friends from Bombay and Ajmer told me about having seen them in bookstores! :) I would love to know what you think of the stories :)

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    4. Will let you know Deepa. I was looking for it at Crossword Gurgaon but it was not available last week. Will keep a watch.
      All the best.

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    5. So sweet of you, thank you :)

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  5. It is a beautiful post, soaked in nostalgia. Almost everyone can identify with those feelings. I thoroughly agree with you when you say you don't enjoy nostalgia because of its incarcerating powers.

    Actually, you can never fully express the way you feel with a 'tightened' throat. But do sit down, take a deep breath or two, and let it clear off and you will realise you can express it a lot better. (psst.. Don't share the tips with others!)

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    1. That's a great tip. You are a master at exploring emotions. Frankly, reading your posts is a great learning experience.

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  6. Alka this is a wonderful post. No one can forget the memories of school and college days. And the dresses which my children wore, bring a flood of emotions. I enjoyed reading every word.

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  7. Anything which evokes memories of happy past is always welcome be it memories of old cards, books or even collections !There are few who can compare to the way you write Alka, and your post about childhood memories of climbing trees in Lucknow is still fresh in my memory:)

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    1. That is so kind of you to say Rahul. Glad you remember that post.
      Thanks.

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  8. What a sweet post! I am a sucker for old memorabilia. I can browse old pics for house going Awww a thousand times lost in my thoughts. I have no knack for writing poetry either :). And I can't find any of my old report cards. Multiple moves through cities took care of that I guess. I was shy little girl, so shy that I hardly had any real friends always tagging along with elder sister. But I did flourish in college. Presentations and public speaking became my forte. I enjoy the interaction with the audience. But I am still a shy little girl in large gatherings. I won't invite attention to myself or go up voluntarily. I am just not limelight savvy :). Loved getting a sneak peek into you. And I just love your shyness and warmth as a person. You are a refreshing change from the boisterous show offs that we see in abundance!

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    1. Not many can speak on a stage or on any public platform and express thoughts in a cogent manner. I wish I could do that. After many virtual interactions we know each other well.Thank you for the kind words. I guess in many ways we think alike.

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  9. A wonderful post Alka. Just few days back, I also happened to bump into a treasure of cards and can't tell you how it choked me.

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  10. This is such a brilliant post! I could identify with almost everything you wrote! I remember the last page of my notebooks to be filled with rough work for sums of mathematics, silly games like Flames/bollywood-Hollywood/Name Place Animal thing, signatures, drawings and some well kept secrets which never saw the light of the day.

    Hats off to you that you still maintain a diary! I left it long back and couldn't start again. I can type my heart out but my handwriting has gone so bad that if i write, I won't be able to understand it myself. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating, but you get the drift, right?

    Oh those report cards- our teachers used to judge us so correctly. Those remarks are just so true, in my case as well. I always used to get that 'shy' thing by some teacher or the other. Public speaking is still a nightmare for me, and will always be.

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    1. Ha ha you played Name Place Animal Thing too? Something's truly never change. My handwriting has not bloomed either. In fact it has worsened with all the keyboarding.

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  11. hehe !Loved reading it.
    You know what few days backk I just wrote abt friends and farewells as part of F and the same thoughts - each word penned by you engulfed me.

    Past is not a place to live . It is just to visit . people say
    But some times i jst get lost in trance.

    I HAV TOTAL 5-6 diaries and its my best time pass to read those pages randomly.
    I always get surprised by myself reading what I wrote.

    Report cards are my treasure. My mom has neatly filed every thing and if I feel low I open that magical file which transports me in time machine back to those years

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    1. I haven't kept any diary, just a few college notebooks which have survived multiple relocations. Thank your mum and treasure your report cards. It is fun to look at them after decades.

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  12. Many smiles with this post, Alka. I am a very nostalgic person. Very sentimental too..As we moved to this country, there are not many things that I could carry over here. But when I go home, I make sure to go through some old pics and autograph books :) I used to put dots in random and then join..donno why..in note books, at the back..or spill a drop of ink and fold the paper :)

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    1. Away from home, nostalgia tends to strengthen it's grip.

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  13. Lovely! I have a few such memorabilia from past among my treasure.

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  14. Beautiful post! This has become a sort of every year ritual. During Diwali, I am cleaning the lofts et al, there is this bag which has all the memrobaila from school and college... I abandon my cleaning process and sit for a while going page by page of all the slam books, autograph books, pictures... it transports me back through time and space to many old memories. And I enjoy doing that :)

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    1. Yes Shilpa, depending on the associated memories, re visiting can be fun.

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  15. A great piece...travelling down the memory lanes could be both lovable and traumatic...and memories etched in some corner of our hearts have a tendency to show up at regular intervals...Njoyed,as always.

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  16. brought back so many memories.. the little chits, notes, doodles... oh man. the slam books. do they still have them these days ? I guess with facebook, noone needs them. Still, theres nothing like seeing a handwritten note from the past...

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    1. Sometimes these chits and doodles have lovely anecdotes behind them.

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  17. Beautiful post Alka :) Recently I was going through my autograph book...I brough back so many memories!

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  18. Few days back exactly these thoughts were brewing in my mind..
    memories and how they often come back to us in unexpected times :)
    some faded, some jaded.. but all remains, deep buried, in our hearts.. just waiting for the right time to pop up.
    I was reading Amitav Ghosh few days back and these lines are stuck with me..
    he says- How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory, like an old toy in a cupboard, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?

    and I think damn.. exactly that's what happens :)

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    1. Jyoti, I read your post about words and nostalgia.
      Loved it.

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  19. I have been thinking of writing a similar post from a long time. I shifted my house almost 1.5 years back and the packing brought out long forgotten memories stacked away in boxes. Your post reminded me that I have to complete that post. :)

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    1. Would love to read it. You have a wonderful way with words Amit.

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  20. Loved this post! its funny how some intrinsic nature of ours never goes away even after we have grown up...
    have a great Sunday!

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  21. Hey Alka, one little suggestion..do sort that blog archive from latest to old, so that 2013 shows on top...I like it that way but its your blog...so you are the boss...you can have it this way too:)

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    1. Thanks, suggestion well taken. Any more suggestions for improvement are welcome.
      Will try to do it right away.

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  22. Probably the only thing that can slow down todays pace and hectic life is nostalgia.Sometimes its important to sit down and reflect on how much distance you have travelled.Appreciate yourself.

    Alka,if you keep reminding yourlsef that you are bad at public speaking, then thats how it will be , forever.
    Alternatively, if reinforce positivity,even though your di it mechanically, will slowly turn around the belief and therefore the results.

    You can start by speaking infront of people you know,on a subject you are familiar with,and slowly step into newer boundaries.

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    1. That's a very encouraging comment.
      Thanks.

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  23. What a treasure to find. Sadly, I'm the antithesis of a memory keeper!

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  24. Nice!! Once i found my old slambook with a lot of embarrassing comments from my 10th grade friends! lol

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    1. Thanks Jayanth. Long time. How's your blog doing? Will visit soon.

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