“Ma , why don’t you allow me to watch the mobile for five more minutes? I am watching a very important video based on the sighting of Whales and Sharks in the Bay of Bengal . I promise you that I will come and flip through the your album in a while.”
Pampa , the nine year old fourth grader tried her level best not to stay away from the mobile . After a while she found herself flipping through the pages of an old album. She spotted a picture of around four to five children playing in a park . She tried to read the name which was too blurry
‘ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani ‘ before immediately asking her mother
“Oh ! Ma where is this place called Kalyani? How far is it from Kolkata? Did you spend your vacations there?”
Her mother was elated at the thought that for once Pampa had changed her mind by deciding to look at her albums instead of playing with her mobile. Soon she started narrating memories from her childhood days.
“My Dida or Granny , lived in a big house near the park at Kalyani. It was a sleepy town located around two hours away from Kolkata. She had a big German Shepherd dog . She named him Hero.
Every summer , when we visited her ,he would greet us by licking our feet before insiting us to play fetch the ball. I would play with him for a good amount of time before racing towards the huge mango orchard to pluck the plumpiest, juciest and fresh favourful ‘ Himsagar ‘mangoes.
Jaya Mashi , Deep Mesho , my elder sister and younger brother would join me . We would pluck and eat the mangoes to our fill. We would play carrom or read story books for hours.”
Pampa was eagerly listening to her mother . She couldn’t imagine a life sans mobile , internet and T. V.
” Did you not watch any cartoons on T. V during those days? How did you pass your time without the mobile or surfing the internet? Did you not find it too boring at times.”
Pampa’s mother laughed for a while before saying
Life was much simple in those days. Each of Dida’s neighbours would cook some amazingly yummy treats including ,’pithas’ to share with us. Their children would play hide and seek , badminton , Coco , Kabaddi and many such games at the Chittaranjan Park.There was hardly a scope of boredom here. We would also have ‘ Choruibatis’ ( picnics) in the Central Park ,during winters . Sometimes even ‘ putul’s biye’ (Dolls Wedding) was organised in Dida’ house She would bring some special sweets including milk flavoured ‘ Kheerer Singada’, mishti doi from Bhushan’s shop and prepare ‘luchis’ , ‘alurdom’ and ghughni, too.”
Pampa visited her mother’s granny’s house during her next Summer vacation.She found herself happily exploring the rhythm of bygone years, beyond mobiles in the quiet town of Kalyani .
” I wish my time would stop in Kalyani forever! This has been my best vacation.”
Pampa declared delightfully.
Dida= Maternal Grandmother
Mashi = Maternal Aunt
Pithas = Sweet delicacies made with newly harvested rice flour and palm jaggery
Khirer Singada= A sweet made with milk solids and flour . Its shaped like Samosa
Putul er biye = Doll’s wedding
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