Gone are the days of ice-lollies, lozenges, and candy-floss; gone are the days when we went “Puja market-ing” in New Market and Gariahat; gone are the days when contentment was inexpensive, and mango-frooti was the best drink around. Times have changed. I am not saying that life now is not good, it is definitely better in a lot of ways…but the good ol’ days will always remain the good ol’ days –the days of no malls, and no chocolate boutiques. The days of simple pleasures. Sometimes I miss them, despite being yet another KFC fan!

Take for example Durga Puja. Now it is pure extravagance, in plain mercenary terms, in those days it was not. The spirit was something else altogether. The joy we felt was true, it was a simple feeling. We were happy, and happiness was in abundance. We felt it warming our hearts all the time –be it when the multitude of cousins were lined up together in their best clothes –little girls in frocks, the pink and white frothy ones, and little boys in blue corduroy and jackets –for a photo; when we listened in silence to grandma’s bedtime story though we already knew it by heart; when we had to share a single bar of sticky chocolate…it was everywhere, in everything. Those were the days of simplicity. Now when I see kids dressed as fashionistas, chattering away things their little heads don’t need to know, I feel sad. You don’t want to be a grown-up at five. They never understand how big a slice of life they are missing out on. Lipstick and liners, branded jeans and video-game parlours –this is what childhood has reduced to. I remember in those days we went to mom’s parent’s place for the Puja celebrations. She hailed from a small town, Haldibari, on the Indo-Bangladesh border, and the five days of festivities were the most anticipated and the best days of the year, when me and my cousin gorged on two-in-one ice-creams, orange candies, puddings and ice-lollies, chicken curry and chowmein; when we played in the courtyard all day, and plucked the tiny white flowers from hearts of bougainvillea, and waited for the bath water to warm up in the sun; when he drew dinosaurs and I little girls, and sceneries; when our mothers fed as the afternoon lunch, carefully separating out the fish bones; when we posed in our new clothes and new shoes; when crying was a regular thing and the heart was just another organ… Life was easy, life was good. It had a charm; otherwise I would never have been so nostalgic about the good ol’ days. On the last day, the Dashami, a huge crowd would assemble in the temple grounds. The idols were immersed, and a big effigy of Ravana was burnt. Fireworks lit up the sky, going boom boom boom, in brilliant sprays of rainbow colored light…I miss it all so much. Fifteen years later.

Those days will never come back. Sometimes I feel if only I could hold these days, lock them up, and never let them pass away…I wish things would remain unchanged. They were innocently happy times, without heart-breaks, and I was still allowed to be a child. This is the poem for tonight…it could have been better, I know, but I don’t want to edit it now. Suggestions are always welcome, though.


Gone are those days,
when ice-creams were just
pink and white, and tears
fell only because we
scrapped our knees.

Gone are those days,
when love meant mom’s kiss,
chilly-chicken was b’day treat,
and fashion was frocks,
with matching ribbon bits.

Gone are those days,
when we waved at passing trains
when happiness meant
laughing louder than everyone else,
and unmatched festivities.

©Mohana Das


4 thoughts on “Nostalgia…

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