Total Recall

I handed over my branded watch to the service center ,my most priced possession and a witness of my  life and career. People used to envy it and would always say ,” This watch really has a charm”. I would laugh it out and would feel that I was the proud owner of the “lucky charm “. Somehow after my marriage and my graduation to “mom of two “this watch failed to show correct time and the dial too was cracked. While cleaning up my drawer I found my watch and I was sad thinking how could I ignore this lovely possession . I decided to get it repaired . Somehow you just tend to get emotional about some things and you relate them to your good old days. The watch repairer was an old man in his late fifties and was kind enough to attend to me even when he had a call to answer and a desk full of broken watches. I explained him the damage and also told him about my concern of whether it could be repaired .The watch repairer put on his glasses and checked the inside out of it with great astonishment. He promptly replied ” This watch is one of its kind. You won’t get such unique makes in the watches of today. I shall repair it and give it to you.” I was so happy, and thanked the gentleman for the same. I stepped out of the showroom with a new glow on my face.

After a few days  I got a call from the service center asking me to pick up the repaired watch. Now this service centre is located in the suburb where I have lived my pre-marriage life. I have lived my entire childhood there and so the emotional attachment is obviously more when it comes to thinking of all this. I wore the watch as if I had worn my good luck charm on my wrist. I suddenly felt that my good old days are back .The dial of the watch was little oblong and of light lavender shade.The strap was unique with no locks but would just fit on the wrist like a band as in it was stretchable.  And lastly, it was bought from the then newly launched series out of the little bonus amount received from my first appraisals. The watch looked so beautiful on my wrist ! It just reminded me and gave me a feeling of becoming a spinster again . I already felt ten years younger. It felt like I travelled back to that time when I walked out of the shop with my dad and telling him that finally bought a branded watch from my hard-earned money. And today it was almost after a decade that I was going to explore those good old lanes with my free arms ( I mean it literally, as I always have either of my kids to take care of ).While walking in those old lanes I felt like Mr. Amitabh Bachchan of Piku who cycles his way in the small lanes of Kolkata enjoying the total recall of his  past time spent there.I saw the small size shopping center which had all small traders with their small shops of clothes, earrings, music CD’s and footwear. Malls didn’t exist then and visiting a mall for shopping was considered a status symbol. These shops were our economical malls. They didn’t have big brands but the clothes bought from these shops did last for years. The goodwill was immense. I visited all those shops which had memories of me holding my parents hands and nodding for all the clothes that they chose. Faces of the shop owners had changed maybe I would have forgotten how they looked like. Obviously couldn’t ignore the fact that I have grown old too. I decided to walk more. Undeterred with the hot blazing sun I walked with my head full of memories to the market. I remembered how my mom would drag me there after our school to pick up the groceries and how I would grumble while walking as that would be a silent sacrifice of my evening play time. Stress levels were high in schools and sacrificing one evening playtime would be a colossal loss. Today while walking on the same pavements with my shoulders loaded with groceries I realized how difficult it was for our parents to reach these center points for grocery shopping unlike today where everything is online. I saw the railway station opposite to the bazaar and that reminded me of the 8.03 am train which I never missed to reach me to office on time. I saw that meeting place where after being betrothed my husband and I had met on my birthday as he was invited to be a part of the bash and was to get introduced to our other family members.I saw that ATM and ticket counters which had 24*7 snail like queues. And there, I saw an old blind man selling note books. During my college days it was my ritual to buy books only from the blind people who would crowd the bridge and sell stuff for a living. There was an old blind couple which would sit with their lot of notebooks and would efficiently accept the money and give you the correct change. The old man would wear a white kurta pyjama and a Nehru cap and his wife would wear a Marathi style nine yard saree. They had wrinkled faces, trembling hands. When asked about the cost of the notebook they would quickly reply and try to show you the quality of the note books. I would find it extremely painful to see them in this state. I would buy 2 or 3 notebooks and of higher quality even when I didn’t need them. I always thought  it was my silent contribution to their living. Today, these people would be barely making some money or may be not. This time too I bought the note-book from this old man only difference was that he was someone else. That old couple would have got lost in time . Was wondering where they would be . I saw the sweet’s shop which was a living legend as it would supply sweets of high quality during results season. The shopkeeper would greet us with warmth and would offer us samples to eat so that we decide the best sweet to distribute to everyone to share our happiness. My parents would buy sweets from this shop when I scored excellent in board exams or even when I scored a higher score than my batchmates in my MBA exams. Now the dealership had changed and the quality of sweets didn’t look the same. That was a disappointment. The shop where one gram gold or Bentex earrings were sold had closed down but saw a small shop still selling it. I would sometimes buy small earrings for my mom on her birthday and she would accept it with pride.

I roamed that day till I realised that all these places haven’t changed much,people have changed. The marketing strategies of the shopkeepers have changed but the goodwill,the name or the place has not changed. Memories  are so good .They make you feel so young, so alive and lastly nobody can change this gift that you carry for your entire life . I know every time I visit these places I will only miss my fond days,my childhood, the innocence and the simple yet satisfying life which we lived then . For me ,my icon of memory was the wrist watch, the old blind couple , the sweet shop or even the ATM or …oh so many of them !!

Take care of your memories for you cannot relive them.

– Bob Dylan





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