Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stitching into nostalgia

A recent blog post written by a friend who is a new mum, about how pregnancy took her back to the days of sewing machine, wherein she insisted that her husband buy her one too..took me down memory lane. 

We had one of these magnificent machines at home, they came with a lovely wooden cover and though not prone to sewing myself..this was one of those childhood images that somehow stuck, much like an old song on the radio. Ma was and still is an expert with the needle and thread and often the 'thakatak thakatak' sound from the machine was a part of the everyday sunshine, one can so easily feel on the back and luxuriate in. 

One would marvel at the diligent way the thread was put through the bobbins and on occasions when the attachment was jammed or didn't work, often me or my sister were called to do the needful. There would be yarns of stitching material lying around, soft laces, scraps of clothing in blue, green and red that she never really got rid of. Which she would eventually turn into something fancy like a quirky door mat or a kitchen runner. There would be a monthly cleaning and oiling of the machine, where it was finely greased and care taken to take out the thread from the bobbins so that it didn't smudge with the oil. The old wooden cover was a favourite, often it would sit out in the sun after a swanky new polish. Fond memories are these, like the warmth of oranges from Darjeeling in the afternoon sun, somehow they never go out of fashion.

Mum gave away the machine to an old faithful when she left Assam. Today she has a fancy one, with many more attachments, but somehow its not quite the same thing & every time I go back home, my eyes invariably search for that little bit of sewing history that decked me and my sister so richly through the years. 

( Picture from the Internet)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Conversations into the night..A photocopy shop

9 PM tonight at my residence. The lack of cartridges in the printer leads to much uproar and I decide to walk down to the nearby photocopy/printer/cyber cafe shop, a 5 minute walk from my home. As I enter the shop there is a young lad in his mid twenties who is manning the shop. Apart from him 3 African students are cooped up in the confines of a cubicle huddled in front of a computer, speaking loudly a language I cannot understand. On the walls are mounted small shelves that hold little figures of Lakshmi and Ganesha. The dhoop has extinguished, a small electric colourful light blinks on and off, lighting up the silver-ish paint of Lashmi's figure. On the walls are plastered old calender pictures of other Gods and Goddesses, on a overhead ledge holds two small speakers. Even as I look at them, Lata Mangeshkar starts crooning, 'Najane kya hua'..

The young man takes from me the rather big bundle of worksheets that need to be photocopied and starts the process. I idly look at the walls and then outside, suddenly I hear a voice speak in Hindi, different from what the Africans are murmuring, I look around and realize the young man speaking on his hands free set. I look away. He speaks again, this time I listen to the one sided conversation and a slow smile creeps up..

'Kya kar rahi hai?'

(pause)..a bit slowly then..

'Arre aunga kaha hai na..mera man nahin karta kya..par kya karun..'


'Hmm..arre aise na kahiyo..humari toh jan chali jayegi..mar na jaye hum'

( smiles to himself) I look away

'Dekho..Shukravar ko agar hum ihan se train pakad te uske baad ke din pohunchenge..phir toh do din hai na hamare pas..jitna man kare dekh lena...'


'accha naraj kyun hoti ho..chudi karidein hain na tumhare liye, aur ek libstick bhi'


'chal ye bata..sapne mein hum aaye ki nahin..toh phir tune kya kiya'

(smiles to himself..laughs a bit too..ruffles his hair)

'humko bhi dekhna hai na tujhe..bohot din ho gaya sala kam itna ai yahan'

( Silence)

'Tu aise bolegi toh hum kaam kaise kar payenge..kal hi train na le le hum'

( Pause..rather long one now..I turn to look..he is staring blankly at the wall, his back to me..I shuffle my feet..walk towards the door a bit)

'Aaaj sapne mein ayegi na..main intezar karunga..abhi rakhta nahin lag raha kam mein'

( A click and his voice addresses me) I am jolted out of my reverie.

'Mam 15 Rupees huye.' I look at him side ways..he doesn't look at me, already busy with something else..there is no smile however. As I come out of the shop, he sits down with a sigh on a small chair..I am the last customer, the Africans have left.. the song stops, changes..something inconsequential starts playing. I'm tempted to step back, say something..but I leave..nothing less than poetry what I had heard..some nights are beautiful..they are also painful I guess.