Monday, July 1, 2013

The Smallest Things

The Ultimate Blog Challenge Day 1

 

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It was that day in the year which made Oli happy. The gloomy monsoons had finally taken leave and the morning had bathed in the amalgamated beauty of the cobalt sky and the golden sunshine. It was the first weekend of autumn, and each year Ma gets out the old iron trunk on such afternoons to put all its contents out in the sun. To get rid of the monsoon dampness, she says.

The big old iron trunk - it is placed in the storeroom on the terrace. Ma says the trunk belonged to Oli's father's grandmother. She had received it as a wedding present. A now rusty brown box, embossed with floral motifs, it surely was once a beauty.

Ma drags the heavy trunk out to the terrace with Shyamali mashi's help. She flings the lid open and starts taking out the old items one at a time. Oli is glued beside her, not ready to miss any of the things that come out of the treasure chest! A silk blanket, moth-eaten at places, yet nice and soft. Her mother's wedding benarasi. The red had faded at places, but the golden zari border still glistened is the afternoon sun. Then out came Baba's Kashmiri shawl, Dadu's silver paan box, his old books - with silverfish marking the pages. There was a hand-fan, the ones which are made from Taal pata or palm leaves, with colourful motifs painted on it. More of her mother's sarees, Thamma's spectacle box, Dadu's hookah - gradually all of these were kept out in the sun. But what made Oli the happiest, was her first dress that Ma sewed when she was born. A tiny white dress with tiny red roses embroidered all over.  Oli pressed it to her cheeks for a long long time and inhaled deep. The naphthalene smell - the smell of a day twenty five years back.

Oli felt a strange pang of nostalgia. So much of memories, all locked up in a box. Probably that's what made the box so heavy. This winter she will be married and flying to the US of A with Amit. Oli realised that this yearly ritual was something that she will miss when she leaves this house. Given a chance, she would love to carry the whole box of memories with her. And on lonely afternoons in the new country, when Amit would be at work, she could just inhale and imbibe the old times.

The rusty old trunk, the inviting smell of naphthalene balls, the silverfish running in and out, the yellowed pages of the hard cover books - sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart - Oli let out a deep sigh.

Glossary
Ma - Mother
Baba - Father
Mashi - Aunt
Dadu - Grandfather
Thamma - Grandmother

24 comments:

  1. Aha! This is so very sweet! And this took me down the memory lane. Even my mom had a big box which would be taken out in the sun during Diwali cleaning and we would love to see the beautiful saris, handmade fans, dari made by my granny, some trinkets, very old coins... It was a ritual we so looked forward to!

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    1. Thanks Shilpa! This i think is a very common ritual in almost every Indian household, something which brings us joy! :)
      welcome to this space, hope to see u here more!

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  2. A beautiful story about sentimental value of precious things. I just loved the description of the contents of the trunk.

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    1. Thanks Sulekkha! The trunk is more like a treasure chest :)

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    1. Thank you kalpana! glad that u loved it!

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  4. Oh, so beautiful! And it's true about the little things. This reminds me of the box of keepsakes I have from when my kids were little :). I love taking a look through it from time to time and remembering . . .

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    1. Thanks Leanne! Little old things are always such a joy-giver!

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  5. this is so beautiful! i love this, and your writing style is gorgeous.

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    1. wow! thanks Nandi! welcome to this space and hope to see more of you here :)

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  6. Such things! They always last in your memory, no matter you move where. A short and sweet post.

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    1. Thanks Diwakar! Indeed these small bits and pieces of memories make up our lives!

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  7. totally agree.. sometimes the smallest things take the most space in our hearts :) :)

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  8. totally agree... sometimes the smallest of things take most of the place in your heart :) :)

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  9. What great memories! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Kim for dropping by! welcome to this space :)

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  10. Lovely!
    Brought back memories of my grandma having such a trunk :)

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  11. Nice story, narrated beautifully.

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  12. We used to have annual Diwali cleaning sprees like this. They were such a treasure hunt for my sis and I, when mom was alive! Sometimes, we would get to keep some of the antique stuff that was dug out from the attic and the trunks (for the airing), as our own! And that would totally make our day!

    As you said, lots of memories stored in those old trunks! :) A very touchy post. Glad to come across your space through the UBC. I'm also participating. Here's the link - UBC Day 2 - "Saying 'No'". Do drop by if you have time. Would love the opportunity to interact more with you... :)

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    1. Oh yes chicky! diwali is another time when such boxes of memories tumble out! I shall jump on to ur post right after I post this comment!

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  13. Oh Yes, My Grandma had one too. Silk sarees and other important stuff would be kept there, and we were strictly not allowed anywhere near the trunk, except under occasional circumstances. Nice post :-)

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