Last Updated on
December 26th, 2021 03:05 pm
Nani Teri Morni Ko Mor Le Gaye….
Singing this song all the way to nani house was my favourite pastime during the 4-hour bus ride from Delhi to Behal, Haryana.
Either I would sing the song or pester my mum with “kab ayega, kitni door hai….”.
To keep my mouth shut during the long journey, my mom would carry loads of mouth-watering snacks. Whenever I would get on her nerves, she would give me some or the other snack and the little me would gaily get engaged munching on it.
Behal was a city where everyone knew everyone else and the moment we got down the bus on reaching Behal bus stop, someone or the other would recognize us and yell, “Ratan, teri bhanji aur behan aa gai hai” and my maamu would come rushing to us with a flask of buttermilk in his hand. A sip of buttermilk prepared by my nani rejuvenated me to the core and my fatigue vanished in thin air after drinking one full glass of it.
Nani house was about 500 meters away from the stop. He would hire a rickshaw for mom and luggage. Then, he would make me sit astride his neck and walk on foot. All through this ride, he would treat me with kaanji vada, kulhad wali kulfi, and pipe wala churan.
I have three mausis and he did the same with all my cousins. He left no stone unturned to pamper us and fulfill our demands. During vacations, our nani house became a pandemonium of “Rakshashon ki sena“. Yes, that is what we all cousins were known by, throughout the small city.
I remember one incident in particular. Once, my other cousins had not yet arrived and I was alone. While roaming around carefree in the streets, I saw an open manhole. I covered it with hay and grass to make it look like normal ground. Nobody could make out that there was an uncovered manhole.
I hid behind a tree to see the show unfold in front of me.. I didn’t observe that there was a beehive on that tree. Some naughty kids like me threw a stone on it. The bees started flying hither dither. When I realized, I ran from there and myself fell into that uncovered manhole, thereby proving, “u fall in the same pit, u dig for others”
My God!!! what a mess I was in?
A neighboring uncle who was returning from the shop at that time pulled me out. Thankfully, it was not a deep hole. I got a solid scolding from my mom. Thankfully, my cousins were not there to make fun of me.
In my nani’s house, there was a big underground water tank. My maamu always made sure to keep it covered when ‘rakshashon ki sena‘ was there.
Once he forgot. We all kids were dumbstruck to see how deep it was and filled with water. One by one, we shouted in it and our voices echoed. It was thrilling and quite exciting.
We meandered and played in the streets all through the day as if we own the city and the heatwaves did us no harm. During the evening, other kids too would come out of their shells and the city would reverberate with the noises and laughter of kids of all age groups.
Sometimes, I used to feel that Behal was a universal nani house of all the kids of the world. During vacations, there was no dearth of kids who had come to their respective nani houses.
Our maamu would bring chutur putur for us every evening while returning from work.
We would engage in mango-eating competitions and later, cry due to stomach aches. Late-night back-to-back movies were a must. My maamu loved visiting circus shows and he would take us along with him. They were so fun to watch.
My naani cooked delectable dishes for us. Naani k hath k pickles, wadiyan, papad and jawe would accompany us back to our home after the vacations.
Those vacations and the naani house visit rejuvenated and recharged us.
My nani, due to old age, and my maamu, due to cancer; both have made their journey to their heavenly abode but they are and will always remain in our memories for giving us a memorable childhood.