I am back; just to share a few of my thoughts. Yesterday I was having a discussion with my friends about toys and about the Teddy bear, the soft cuddly ones which kids enjoy. My friend had bought a teddy for her daughter and our discussion became very lively. I felt happy discussing this as I believe there is a kid inside every body however big or mature we are.

This set me off into a reminiscent mood and I did travel a few years down my memory lane where I enjoyed playing with my siblings and friends. When I narrate this many of you will also be transported to your young beautiful days where each one of us flew like colorful butterflies sucking the nectar of life. Life indeed was care free, is it not? If God appears before me and wants to grant me a boon I would definitely opt for a time machine so that I can sail to my child hood when ever I wish. My dear friends if you wish, you too can join and jump aboard to have fun and frolic.

I enjoyed a lot as a kid as I had the great advantage of growing up in a joint family. Totally there were 9 children in the house and during vacation the house would be buzzing like a bee’s nest when our cousins also poured in to spend the holidays. The house was big enough to accommodate a lot of people. And I do wonder what tough time my mom and aunt would have had managing the house, controlling the little monkeys, cooking, feeding, wow! Can’t even imagine such a situation these days where we have fallen into a nuclear family system where we hardly find time for one another.

By the end of the day after dinner we would be all tucked into bed, all girls in one hall and boys occupying the other. Fights were frequent between the boys and girls’ team as our interests in games differed. We settled for softer games and they would opt for rough and tough games sometimes ending up in quarrels and fights.

The play started everyday after the breakfast was over and all the girls would huddle under the coconut trees and we set up our house on the Tulsi Madam (platform) below a tree.

We had a set of cooking utensils which we got as a gift from my father when he visited Tirupathi. Many of you would have played or seen it. If not let me explain. They were made of wood smooth and safe and toxin free made colorful with vegetable colour dyes and we had stove, ladles, spoons, the conventional flour maker (yantra), chapatti board, few plates and a pot to fetch water. I wonder where that kind of toys have gone? If at all they are available they are pretty costly. I feel the steel kitchen sets what are available today are no match for what we had. My mother or aunt will readily help us with some rice and one or two vegetables so that we would be engaged and away from their feet. In between we would be called for snacks and that too we added to our kitchen supply. We took turns in playing the role of father and mother; father would wear a dhoti and mother would wear a sari, a small piece of cloth or a towel was all that we used for the same. The very young ones in the group would be always kids. Then the usual routine father going out for work, mother cooking and feeding children. I vividly remember making papads for lunch. There was a kind of round leaf and that we used to prick with a stick, God knows for what and they were our make believe papads. In between we would have attacks from our boys’ team, they would come and destroy all the set up and would make away with the snacks and girls would end up screaming which would require elders’ intervention.

We particularly enjoyed one game that was dolls marriage. We had two wooden dolls, made of red sanders (again from Tirupati) a boy and a girl in our house about 1 foot long. My aunt made costumes for them with little bits of silk she had and our dolls became bright and colorful. They had really good features and we would play the wedding ceremony. First there would be two teams, groom’s side and the bride’s side. The Tulsi platform will become the mandapam which would be decorated with colorful paper and leaves. The marriage ceremony would be enacted like bringing the bride to the mandapam, tying the thali, going around the homam etc. What ever we knew we performed. After the wedding over the bride’s party had no more role to play so all would join and become one single groom’s party as the ceremonies would continue in the groom’s house. What jolly good days those were. As I write this blog I am enjoying my childhood visualizing the same. I also wonder whether experiences like this would ever be substituted by the costly teddies, electronic toys and Barbie dolls we buy for our children these days. I feel the young kids these days are missing a lot because we have learnt a lot of lessons about life by being together.

I would still like to spend some time in the past as a kid but I have to get out of my reverie as life has to move on. Please share some of your experiences with me. I am all ears.