I love nostalgia. The past is always strong, but the smiles and frowns it brings about do play out a deeper meaning of who we are today. So when I was asked to clean out the top cupboards in my bedroom in Mangalore this weekend, I gladly complied, cause everytime I do some spring cleaning (summer in this case) I end up setting aside some time to pour through some papers/documents/photos from the past that do fascinate me. For god’s sake, I did want to be a history teacher at one point in time 🙂
Anyway, I stumbled upon a stack of albums from my younger days and it was fun going through the lot. What I got from them – I was a brat as a kid, yes it brought back some very bratty memories, we cousins got together more often than today and had FUN, I loved every moment of my childhood except studies… and there are times I still do slink into that mode. While it feels good to be all grown up and doing grown up things, reliving my childhood always brings a smile to my face. I was not indulged, mind it, maybe a little bit, but hey I was disciplined enough not to turn into a serial killer.
Here are some of the snapshots of what I found in the top cupboard of my bedroom on May 19.
Grandma and us cousins – L-R Mikey, my sis Veena, Mai (Grandma) holding our youngest cousin (at that time) Kenny, Karina and me. This was when the gang was down for the holidays from Florida and the photo was taken in Grandma’s home in Mangalore.
Mai used to love watching Chitrahaar and Ramayan. These were her two loves on television. In fact till her last days she used to read a copy of the Ramayan along with her Bible. She used to encourage us to watch the serial too and we used to diligently follow her and sit with her.
The Fernandes sisters 1988 – Mum and her younger sisters were called the Fernandes (their maiden name) sisters in Mangalore even after they got married. Here they are in Chicago, L-R – Gemma, Jovita and mum. The kid is Karina (Gemma’s daughter). This was taken when Grandpa passed away in Chicago and Mum had to travel there to help with formalities. Grandma was in shock and a year later we remember we being in shock when Grandma was diagnosed with Cancer.
All the animals in the zoo – That’s us cousins again in the early 90s, It was always a noisy bunch of cousins that landed in Grandma’s place and drove her crazy. It’s been a while since we cousins got together like this.
I love cars – Coming from someone who still doesn’t have his own four-wheeler, I used to love vrooming on Dad’s lap in his Beetle in Ketu, Nigeria. I remember identifying car brands as a kid and being indulged with all the latest Matchbox wheelers (including a sixteen wheeler). Thank you Dad! I still treasure those toys.
Dad and me – I love this photo. This was taken on the steps of our estate bungalow in Mallandur, Chikmagalur. I remember Dad holding my hand and taking me through the estate paths and Mum warning him repeatedly to be careful as there were snakes and critters. Dad loved the outdoors (he still does) and instilled in me a love for nature and adventure that I still hold on to.
Cousin Sonoo and me – We were both brats, no one would say that if they met us today 🙂 This was taken at my paternal Grandmom’s place in Mangalore when Sona Lisa Bose was down for the holidays from London.
At Bon-Rose (paternal Grandparents place) – Seated L-R Aunty Hazel, Mum, uncle Gerard, Uncle Donny (both the uncles from Mumbai). Uncle Donny used to study in manipal Medical College and come down for the weekends. Standing (L-R) Cousins Shaun, Sonoo, Sharon and me
Brat written all over – I was one, climbed all sorts of heights, sat on the bonnet of the car and got shooed by the driver’s, the driver used to complain to grandma about me all the time for loitering around the car and then sitting in the drivers seat and honking and fiddling with the switches and dials. There was even a time when everyone thought there was a rat nibbling on the car upholstery and in the end they found out who did it!
Veena and Aunty Berna – A beautiful and happy picture if there was any. As a kid, my little sister Veena used to love hiding in corners. When Aunty Berna came down, Veena graduated to suitcases. She began hiding her small self among the clothes in the suitcase. It was cute and even cuter was Aunty Berna carrying Veena in her large shopping canvas bag around the house. Veena loved it!
Aunty Jovita and Uncle Francis’ wedding in Philly – This was taken in 1986. You have Mom and her sisters, their husbands, moms brother and grandpa. Grandma never came for the wedding as she had a deep rooted fear of flying. Grandpa was the opposite – a real high flyer. i don’t think there is a country in the world he did not cover…ok that’s exaggerating, but he did cover quite a bit of the United Nations list.
Epilogue: Going through these images from the past, I realise how fortunate I am to have a family that lived life to the fullest and still does so. We may be at different corners of the globe, but the love and affection we share can never be taken away. There will be disagreements, hard days, silence at times, but in the end we always come together as one to celebrate and have fun. I love my family and all the characters that make up this large group where each individual retains her/his exclusiveness. Thank you for imbibing the best in me. The rest, I will figure out and learn.