- Walking back home: Less than 10 years ago walking back from college was the most hated thing. I was always the 'autorikshaw person'! Walking back home then meant aching legs, sweat, the evening traffic, the swarm of people rushing back home, the buses almost brushing your sides and as if they were not enough, heavy bags and lab records in hand, at times the mini drafter as well. And today, the office cab drops me right in front of my gate and volvos stop a metre away from home. Oh yeah, lets not forget the car and the bike too! Today, thoughts about walking back home is not clouded with aching legs or buses any more; rather I miss all the giggles and gossips, chats and pranks, snacks and fun with friends that was part of the walk. Today, I hardly walk, let alone walk with friends!
- Getting drenched in the rain to the skin: One drop of rain on my shoes and I got into a maniacal state. There was always this thought fed into the Malayali minds to reach home/college/wherever one is supposed to go before it starts raining. Rains weren't romantic then when one was out in it - how could it be when your wet dripping umbrella would form a mini-pool wherever it was placed, when every auto driver's towel would be so wet that it can't be used to wipe the back seats anymore and the honour is on your salwar to do so or when your slippers made embarrassing noises gurgling with water while you walked. It was days and days of almost continuous rains and one used to wait for it to cease. Today, my umbrella hardly sees light! Today, we stay in a place where any drizzle beyond 10 minutes leads to fallen trees, over flowing drains and the newspapers term it "heavy rains".
- Non-exotic Kerala foods I took for granted: No, they were not my fave of faves then. Pazham puzhungiyatu (steamed bananas) or mathi varatatu (fried sardines) are something ultra mundane and non-exotic. One is so used to eating them that there was nothing to relish! There is a lot of difference between one yearning for mom's special curry and one yearning for something as simple as steamed bananas; its hard to justify the latter :-)
- Power Cuts: This, from the lips of a Bangalorean, might shock you. I wasn't mentioning the day long power cuts, but those 30 mins/ 1 hour power cuts that used to happen everyday in the evenings for a few months. That was the time when the family did nothing and everybody was in one room, faces partially lit by the yellow glow from a single candle or the 'emergency lamp'. Mosquitoes buzzing in chorus, shadow puppets, the deadly red glow when you wrap your fingers tightly over the torch beam, the rain pelting on the windows and the music of the crickets.. I remember them all! Power cuts today are either from dawn to dusk or if you are lucky, you might have a gen back up. Both cases, they don't evoke anything!
- Surprise Guests: Having your mom's colleague and family visit you in the evenings of a week day or dad's cousin's cousin's cousin and family drop by on a Sunday morning while they were on their way to some other place was always a very frequent occurrence. Visits, in those days were so informal. No prior calls, no syncing of calendars to fix a date and no elaborate lunch preparations. They just walked in one fine day, drank a cup of tea/coffee and ate snacks, light talks and off they go. A similar visit would be returned on another weekday at their place too. While the parents talked, kids made new friends. But at times, visits like this throw all the plans you had to visit the fair at the town out of the window and you are forced to switch off the TV and be with guest right when the cricket is going on live. You grumble about "surprise guests" who spoil your plans. Today, we hardly go visiting somebody or take pains to invite anybody home! Weekends are exclusively for being lazy. And even when somebody is invited, it has to start with calendar syncs, buying all the stuffs in a super market to cook a lunch and then so busy with cooking that you forget to sit and chat! And worse still, today nobody walks in to your home 'one fine day' - isn't it considered impolite!!! I miss a surprise visit!
And all the while, I never though I'd ever miss these!!