Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The age of innocence..

Everything is so different when you are a child. You deliberately splash in a rain puddle, while as an adult you are worried that a wee bit of rain may spoil your shoes. You eat lollies/guavas-with-salt/gooseberries-with-salt/candies being sold roadside with enjoyment and glee, whereas as an adult you are careful to eat at the cleanliest of restaurants worried about your health. As a child, nothing is untouchable, not insects, not dirty window panes, not any flowers/leaves. But as an adult, you wash your hands even if all you have been doing the whole day is type on a stupid keyboard :-p.

What brought this up suddenly? Nostalgia as always :). Last night, somehow I was suddenly reminiscing about some of the weird things I used to do as a child and they brought a smile on to my face. I thought well, why not write a post about it? The only problem was that I had to look up some of the trees/flowers we used to address with weird names then. What the heck is Google for? I was able to find all that I had been looking for in a matter of minutes and so here I am listing the "weird" things :-D.

Gulmohar flowers:

The Gulmohar trees are pretty common in Bangalore, more so in Banashankari where I used to live as a kid. The most fun part about this tree was in its flowers, more like the flower's sepals. Not petals, sepals!

I remember especially one of the trees near the school bus stop. We used to climb on to the compound of the Banashankari BDA complex and pluck the flowers. Later separate the sepals carefully and collect them. One flower would yield 5 sepals, so we would generally pluck 2 to 3 flowers. Each of these sepals looks like a finger-nail, red on the inside and greenish-yellow on the outside. I'd carefully peel part of the red layer and stick the remaining sepal to my original nail (there was some kind of glue in the sepal). And so on until we had all our nails covered with the sepals. They would look like witches nails (what with red on the inside) and we'd show it to everyone we could find :-D. It was a simple straight-forward "project" but it never lost its fun :-D.

Jacaranda (or bluebell as I used to call it) trees:

Like Gulmohar, these purple flowered trees are also very common in Bangalore. Its really wonderful to see them at full blossom. The whole tree looks purple and the leaves aren't visible at all! As a kid, we had 2 things to play with from this tree. One was the flower itself. You can see the flower is hollow and once it is plucked, its like a small fat tube. So what we'd do is pluck the flower, fold it carefully (so as to not damage it), take both ends into the mouth and blow air into it. The flower would swell. Then carefully holding both the ends so as to not let any of the air out, we'd find a bakra who'd willingly show us their forehead to smash the swollen flower against. The flower would burst making a sound like a very small balloon exploding ;-) :-D. Since we would get lots of ammunition (:-D), this would go on for sometime until our hands started aching ;-).

The second plaything was the pod.

The pod as you can see has 2 parts. We'd, with difficulty, pry open and separate the parts. Then apply glue to the darker surface of both, stick one to the thumb and the other to the rest 4 fingers and Voila!! We'd have a thaala!! For those who don't know what a thaala is, its an instument that is a set of small brass cymbals and it is played like a beat to songs by clapping them together like cymbals. We'd sometimes have these glued to both our hands and we'd run around the house creating a ruckus :-D.

Spathodea tree (or boat tree :-D):

Again another common tree. We always would call it boat mara, mainly because of its boat-shaped pods :-D. Another bad name to it was uchchekai (urine-fruit, I know, I know, the name's terrible :-D) mara because it had these juicy fruits. It was fun to rupture a part of the fruit and squirt it on an unaware friend :-D. These trees grow pretty tall, so it'd be extrmely rare to find a bunch of these fruits, so when found it'd be guarded like a treasure and everyone around would be squirted upon :-D. But we'd be careful not to squirt these in anyone's eyes, we had this idea that the power of sight will be lost forever in such a case (probably "weird" thoery told by parents just to make sure the children would not do such a thing :-p). I still don't know whether this is true or not!

The 2nd thing were the pods. These pods would dry completely , push out flaky feathered seeds that'd fly everywhere, then fall down. This was when they were of any use to us. They literally were shaped like boats, so if there was a puddle anywhere around, we'd float them there. if there was no puddle anywhere , then we'd run home with our arms full of these and prepare a tub (the tub isn't the hugge bath tubs, but just a small round plastic tub) full of water and have a blast floating these natural boats :-D.

Other than these, there were still so many things. I climbed trees, jumped for tamarind, mangoes, guavas. I used to ride my cycle for hours exploring what I called "new" places :-D. I used to love rains, just because it meant I could shake the leaves on trees, get wet and then say at home "I got drenched in the rain" ;-). Once I even found a way to get down from the terrace of our 1-storied house (thank God, it was only 1) without using the stairs (I actually used the window panes and the compound to get down!) :-D. Once I even planted an onion without telling my parents and was fascinated when the young shoots erupted from the ground. Another time I found a dead butterfly and was so sad that I buried it with all glory. If we found sand, we'd make a cave. Once we even made a sort of sculpture which we called "Bath of Mesopotamia", hehehe :).

I wonder how or why we suddenly "grow up". Suddenly we are not kids anymore. Suddenly things we love become examples of "childishness". Suddenly we stop looking at the world with wonder. Suddenly money is more important than the little moments of happiness. As a child I thought that the clouds were made of sugar candy and that if I swallow a seed of some fruit, a plant will grow out of my mouth. Now I know better, but how come it doesn't make me feel any better? And I am certain that if I was a child, I would never have been worried about not working as long as I am fed :-D. Why do we change so much? Well, I guess I haven't changed too much if I still am building snow mommies and snow children :-D.

I wish I could go back. I wish I could return to a phase where I don't need to be "dignified" or "behave maturely", where I thought there was really a huggge rabbit on the moon or when a ride on the bus was an adventure. I am glad that I have retained atleast some of the wonder :).

* The snaps are all not mine, sadly. They have been taken from various spots on the internet. Hope to take my own snaps sometime when I am in Bangalore.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

- William Blake in his poem "Auguries of Innocence"

Listening to: "Chinna Chinna Aaasai" from Roja.

Chinna chinna aasai,
Siragadikkum aasai,
Muthu muthu aasai,
Mudinthuvaitha aasai..
Vennilavu thothu muttham ida aasai,
Ennai intha boomi sutri vara aasai..

Translated roughly it means..

Little little wishes
Wing-laden wishes,
Like little pearls - these wishes,
Carefully cherished wishes..
Wishes to touch the silvery moon and kiss it,
Wishes for this earth to revolve around me..


Pegasus retorted...

what are these pods actually called?

Deeps retorted...

Pegasus, which ones? There are 2 mentioned in the post. The first ones (thaala) are the Jacaranda pods and the second ones (boat-shaped) are the Spathodea pods.

Thanu retorted...

I used to do the nail thing too..

the inside part of hte flowers... I dunno what it is called, the long thing with a football shapped thing on the top, we used take one and other person wud have one and we used interlock it and pull. When one person, football like thinf popped hte other person won...

those were the days when nothing mattered and we cud find a million things to do...

Orchid retorted...

i tried to comment earlier and it wouldn't let me ....
thanks for makign me mnostlagic as well..and since I used to live in Banashankari too, the memories came flooding back.
childhood is truly a blissful time and I am getting to re-live some of those joys through my son :)

Deeps retorted...

Thanu, I think I remember the boys playing the interlock battles :-D. We were too "dignified" for that I guess ;-) :-D.

Orchid, The pleasure is all mine. It must be a different thrill to see your child going through the "childhood" phase :).

Chickoo retorted...

Hi Deepthi,
I became nostalgic after reading your post, I used to do every single thing that you have mentioned in this post, using flowers as a nail polish, making thala, yup every one of them.


anks retorted...

hey... a first timer here... quitre liked the post... loved it actually, seems like you had an awful lot of fun as a kid... made me go back to my own carefree days... :)

Deeps retorted...

Deepa, I knew you could relate to this, you beingfrom Banashankari :).

Anks, glad you liked the post :). Nostalgia is contagious :-D.

Usha retorted...

I know what you mean, the trees and the flowers in every season is something I love about bangalore too. This is the time for the yellow and purple flowers - Holi!