Memories are funny things…
here I am at home, recovering from a mild sun stroke. (It doesn’t seem very mild – yesterday, i thought that i was dying … today it seems like i may not after all die of the sunstroke ). i have been in and out of deep slumber. the slumber has been interrupted by snatches of visions … visions from now and then, visions from presents that could have been, and pasts that were … visions where the dead, the alive, my past and my present co-exist happily, and harmoniously !!
One of the more peculiar visions was being a child in Delhi and Chemmeen. I don’t often think of growing up in Delhi — i was around 6 when my folks moved back to Mumbai, and i cannot remember great fun or happiness or unhappiness in Delhi — it’s a bit like visiting Tirupathi when i was 5 … no real memories – good, bad or ugly. Yet, yesterday i dreamt of Delhi and Chemmeen.
we lived in East of Kailash, in a place called EPDP colony — i am not even sure if the colony still exists. EPDP was East Pakistan Displaced Person’s colony … my dad was in STC and this was where we were housed. Why a Tam Andhra family will go and live in EPDP colony, i don’t know… but, we did.
One of the things about my family was that we were encouraged to enquire. to ask. there was never any ban on reading anything. except the one time. And, it was Chemmeen. There was a library near the house from which i used to borrow comics. And, one day i got home Chemmeen. My mother, who otherwise never stood in the way of any reading, sent me back to return the comic. It is too early for you … she said. I being me, read it on my way back while walking to the library. I didn’t really understand the story — except that everyone died … but, there was a sense of achievement of having read it !
But, my mom was right … 6 year olds should not really know about betrayal and other grown up ugliness. They really don’t. I read Chemmeen when i grew up, and i remember being struck by the sheer futility of the situation, the characters, and the self fulfilling prophecies.
Even today, when i see fishermen, i wonder about the legend.
but, i wonder, why that was a part of my snatches of dreams yesterday ! i really do… why does such an insignificant memory come to the fore ?