Reader responses for Big Picture (Nostalgia)

Thank you for your overwhelming response to our Big Picture essay on nostalgia 'A Hook Called Nostalgia' published on August 1, 2021. Here are a selection of responses we received (in no particular order).
Last Updated : 08 August 2021, 04:15 IST
Last Updated : 08 August 2021, 04:15 IST

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Rosalind David

It was the winter of 1972. We had been in Australia for two years, busy trying to integrate into the new culture.

One afternoon we were invited by an Indian couple for lunch. Our first meeting with an Indian family! The heady mixture of the smell of sambar and incense stick wafted out to welcome us. Then our host put on a record of M S Subbalakshmi singing of Meera’s longing for Lord Krishna. That undid me. All that unacknowledged homesickness and anguish of loneliness burst open into a torrent of tears. The warmth of our hosts and our uninhibited sharing of experiences assuaged my grief.

Now that we are back in India whenever I hear that song, I feel nostalgic for an afternoon of warmth and healing experienced so many years ago.

Sudha Narasimhachar

The first summer rain, with the inviting smell of the wet soil, the sun fighting to shine through the raindrops and the happily swaying branches of trees always take me back to my teenage. I loved that phase when I was filled with love. Everything seemed positive and beautiful. I had felt then that life would always be as perfect and colourful. I was enjoying my college days and had the strength and tenacity to bear all the little challenges that our family faced. How I wish I could go back to that phase of my life!

Indu Rajeev

Getting lost in a labyrinth of memories is a real pleasure especially if it is a nostalgic one. For me a particular moment of nostalgia is seeing old photographs. Whenever I go through any photo albums, I find myself in midst of the events that occurred on the day the photo was taken. One such is an old photo of mine which was taken when I was nine years old along with my mother and younger brother. It was taken on a Sunday afternoon and I still remember the tasty lunch of mackerel curry and rice made by my mother.

Radhika D Shyam

Retro songs gently nudge me down memory lane. ‘Madhuban mein …..’ made my little heart swell with pride at Rafi crooning my name. Classical songs had me handling my plaits and plate during Sangeet Sarita on Vividh Bharati, or I’d be late for school. The songs through the 70’s and the 80’s remind me of details like who I watched it with, the theatre watched in, on TV or Drive-In theatre. And, ‘Kabhi alvida na kehna …’ tears me up at its prophetic symbolism, being the last song sung by a dear friend a few days before her fatal accident.

Soumya Mansoor

I wish I could go back in time, just to feel a few things .Like my childhood summer holidays. After every academic year our amusement was in building open houses from used school notebook hard binding covers . The lazy afternoons reading Enid Blyton, Hardy boys, Nancy Drew, Three Investigators, Archie, Tinkle with unlimited lemonade. Visits from relatives with cousins would stir up the idle kitchen menu into festival cuisine. The exceptional terrace sleep over’s by entire family infused by extensive conversations and stories. Summer holidays were pure fun, a memorable time cherished forever in the heart.

Mathangi K

Belgian waffles or banana pancakes? What should I have for breakfast? “Maavu kanji”, a voice whispers. Instantly, memories of my childhood, the days of my grandmother’s food, come crashing. Breakfast consisted of ‘maavu kanji’, a multigrain porridge. Five gulps and I was sated till lunchtime. Rice, rasam and curry for lunch; a crisp ‘appalam’ on lucky days. For dinner, I usually got tiffin – chapati or upma. My grandmother’s food was simple. Yet, no Thai curry or blueberry cheesecake fills my soul the same way. I give myself a shake; if I want international breakfast, nostalgia will have to wait.

Jayashree B Kadri

The Pattering of rain drops, whether on a tiled roof, tin sheet or against a windowpane, makes me nostalgic about my grandmother. My grandmother was an epitome of love for life and was a lively lady. She loved all the seasons, be it rain or sunshine. However, I remember the fragrant, delicious ‘Patrode’s , made from Colocasia leaves and also the jackfruit seed ‘holige’, salted raw mango ‘gojju’ and jackfruit papads during the rainy season, , which she used to serve with lot of affection and love. Though she had studied only up to third standard, she used to voraciously read Kannada novels, story books and magazines and novels . She used to tell wonderful stories of Panchatantra, Ramayana and some of her own life events , which I believe instilled a love for literature in us, among grandchildren. I guess I should be forever indebted to her, for loving me, without any gender bias and also for inculcating a love for life and literature.

Kalavathi P A

Any image of cluster of wild flowers immediately transforms me, visit to Valley of Flowers. No itinerary, the only planned was to fly from Bengaluru to Delhi. From Delhi Airport, rushed to Bus-stand to catch bus to Haridwar, which we reached early morning. Freshened up by the roadside, planted ourselves into another local Bus to Govindghat, last motor able road to Valley, with one halt at Owli because once dark, buses won’t ply in the Himalayan range.

Third day, we commenced trek of fourteen km to Gangaria, Base point of valley crossing mountains. Day four, ten kms trek to Our destination Valley, narrow path, with deep gorge on one side with a blind curve at the end of tenth kilometre opens up Valley of Flowers. Rest, Nostalgia.

Sampriti Halegouda

Nostalgia is such a strong word that it brings with itself numerous pent-up memories from a certain phase of life. A couple of months ago my aunt came up to me a gave me a Jasmine flower. As I took in it’s fresh scent, it transported me to my childhood days where my uncle and me would visit the flower market during festivities. As soon as we returned home we would decorate the deity’s statue and wait for the guests to arrive. When the pooja was over dinner was served which was awaited by everyone. At times these memories bring sorrow to me as I won’t be able to experience them again. But at times they provide an impetus to do silly things as these memories will bring exhilaration in the future.

Sahana Hegde

My memories of 2019 when I suddenly shifted from Bangalore to Chennai are vivid. After living in Chennai for a year, in 2020 I have returned to my native Attur which is a non descriptive located in Udupi district.

Idiyappam which is a popular food both in Tamilnadu and my native makes me nostalgic about Chennai. In my native Idiyappam is called as Semai. On every occasion of Krishna Janmashtami my mother prepares Semai and coconut milk at home. While i eating Semai here, a street vendor named after Ilayasan who was selling Idiyappam in Nanganalluru temple street near Palavandangal Railway station comes before my eyes. Ilayasan was coming in motor cycle with mic announcement. He was kind enough to give me 3-4 homemade Idiyappam for Rs 20. Almost 2-3days in a week every evening i used to eat Idiyappam.

As Krishna Janmashtami is near, I am waiting for another nostalgic tour of Nanganalluru street lane.

Published 08 August 2021, 04:06 IST

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