I pass by the play room in my home but a strong, peculiar smell pulls me back. I inspect the room and realize that the smell has travelled here from the apartment above that is undergoing maintenance. However, the chemical odour seemed oddly familiar, like some long forgotten friend. My brain processed the mystery quickly and I remembered that my grandma’s tiny house used to smell like that.
The smell pushed over a wave of nostalgia over me. This house was the place most of my childhood vacations were spent in. Although having a small capacity, those days when we used to go for vacation, all my maternal cousins used to join us in my Nani’s house. The fun we used to have playing hopscotch, the thrill of riding bicycles on unpaved dirt paths, the sheer joy of collecting marbles, I missed it all. Early morning, my Nani used to sit on a small stool in the kitchen, beside a gas stove, preparing breakfast for all, tending to each one’s demand. Some of us wanted ‘chai roti’, which is made by breaking down the normal ‘paratha’ into tiny pieces and soaking them in milk tea. But I always wanted Nani to make ‘shakkar ki roti’, a form of paratha with a filling of sugar. I have eaten the best pastries of the world yet I always desire to eat the ‘shakkar ki roti’ made by my Nani. During the monsoons, my uncle used to get hot and spicy savories like ‘mirch pakodas’ from the nearby road stalls. All of us used to munch on these, over lame jokes, rounds of Antakshari (a game where players sing songs from the last letter the previous player ended at) and ghost stories.
I usually move on from things and get bored easily. I am also quite forgetful and absent-minded but somehow my mind never fails to cling on to these memories. Someday, I want to re-create those days with the same people. But people change. I doubt if the attempt would provide the same outcome. Nevertheless, I would try once. To make it all the same again.