Spice of Life: Past to present, perfect partners in every prank - Hindustan Times
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Spice of Life: Past to present, perfect partners in every prank

ByRandeep Dhillon Mand
May 08, 2024 09:58 AM IST

We all change and evolve with time. Yet, there are parts of our persona known only to our cousins, childhood friends and old colleagues. Lose no opportunity to reignite the timeless bonds.

My cousin comes visiting from Australia after almost a decade and we pick up where we left off.

Together, we made a wild bunch and quite a handful for my mother to watch over, as their parents shuttled between cities to meet other relatives. (Shutterstock)
Together, we made a wild bunch and quite a handful for my mother to watch over, as their parents shuttled between cities to meet other relatives. (Shutterstock)

Though separated by oceans, we stayed connected all through our growing-up years because my uncle and aunt would visit India for long durations. Those trips would end with tearful farewells at railway stations. Mushy letters would be exchanged till e-mails came to our rescue. By the time video calls became the norm, we were too occupied raising our children.

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Sharing a few messages back and forth is nothing compared to seeing each other in person. This was the day to reinforce the bond and revisit the past.

Together, there were six of us cousins; two boys and four girls. We went cafe-hopping, shopped together, danced on weddings and went on long drives together. Brimming with energy with no gadgets, even in our college days we ran amok in the sprawling lawn. Our creative minds, unsullied by social media, came up with newer pranks with usually the girls ganging up against the boys. Hose pipes would be inserted through window grills, targeting unsuspecting souls seated on a settee next to the window or remotes would be stolen from each other’s bedrooms to suddenly turn on the TV full blast in the middle of the night.

Once, not happy with the fact that the boys planned to watch a Bipasha Basu movie without us, we girls managed to take them to the terrace and bolted the door. To our dismay, as we were celebrating this feat, the boys jumped from the terrace through the parapet and drove off before we could recover.

Together, we made a wild bunch and quite a handful for my mother to watch over, as their parents shuttled between cities to meet other relatives. She sought to enforce a code of conduct that included a bedtime of 11pm to prevent our midnight shenanigans. We would enter our respective rooms at our Cinderella hour and dim the lights only to emerge minutes later and reunite. But one fine night as my cousin went around beating coffee in a bowl and knocking softly at our bedroom doors, the spillage from the bowl created a ‘coffee trail ’that gave us away in the morning.

Recounting these stories with my cousin made us feel grateful for having such fun-filled formative years. The most wonderful interface between the past and the present is the moment her daughter reads aloud a letter she had written to us in 2001.

A reunion can reveal so much about us. It could be an opportunity to look at ourselves from a different lens and also to see how far we have come.

My cousin asks my daughter in jest, “Does your mama still wander in the garden with a faraway look in her eyes?” My daughter nods profusely, making us guffaw.

This was a reminder that we humans need to get out of the rut we create for ourselves and make time to reconnect with family and friends. My uncle and aunt must have overcome psychological, financial and logistical barriers to travel to India to be with their relatives and my parents honoured that by welcoming them with love and making them a priority during their stay here.

We all change and evolve with time. Yet, there are parts of our persona known only to our cousins, childhood friends and old colleagues. Lose no opportunity to reignite the timeless bonds.

The writer is a Jalandhar-based freelance contributor and rupymand@gmail.com

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