Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Looking Back? Or Ahead?




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I collected marbles; didn't play with them really..

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For the Love of Old Books


Books (Photo credit: henry…)

I love books, and I love bookstores. But most of all, I love secondhand bookstores*. No, it’s not because of the smell of old books, like people keep saying. Neither is it their easy-on-your-pockets nature, although it is one of the major attractions. Mostly, I love shops that sell secondhand books because browsing through them feels like treasure-hunting!

Actual bookstores organize books by category and alphabetical order and popularity and age group. Of course, that is to be appreciated in general, and be thankful for when you’re looking for that one A.R.R.R. Roberts spoof you’ve wanted to read for ages specifically. But plowing through the haphazard piles and rows and stacks of used books, arranged in no particular order of genre or author or price, is entirely another adventure. For some reason, it reminds me of the few  treasure hunts my brother and I had for our birthdays. You dive in, first get a bird’s eye-view of everything, and then search all the corners and hidey-holes for the treasure. And then the next one, and the next. The search itself is more fun, is much more exciting than the treasure itself, or even the satisfaction of having found it. 

And you never know what you’re going to find. You might go in with a clear mind and a list of the books you are looking for; and you might find one, or all, or a few, or even none of them; but you never leave the second-hand store empty-handed. At least I never do. There are always five other books that hold my interest, and always one that I just have to buy. It doesn’t matter that I have to study for the course I’m doing, or that I already have those three books I’ve yet to start, or that I really won’t have all that time to read so many books, or that I’m already in the middle of–simultaneously, you could say–two library books, three ebooks and one of my own paperbacks; I always end up buying a couple of books more from such places.

Visiting a regular bookstore is an adventure for sure, but browsing a used-books store is like an extreme action adventure extraordinaire!

*By ‘secondhand bookstores’ I mean stores that sell second-hand books, and not bookstores that are second-hand. Just so we’re clear.


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Abode of the Gods


Temple of Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction, in Gujrat, India

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I remember
the day we met last;
seems like here and now,
though a thing of the past.
I can still feel
your palms over mine,
those futile efforts at palmistry,
that corny pick-up line.
Can still smell
the lunch we shared.
Over coffee and burgers,
not a subject we’d spared.
I still dream
about that perfect day;
a nip in the air made you offer me
your jacket in that offhand way.
I cherish
your smile, your laugh, your chivalry;
in my heart they ever stay–
your jokes, your compliments, your gallantry.
I imagine
how it would be
if we were together–
just you and me.


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Invincibility vs. Healthy Living

What is it about childhood and adolescence that makes us feel invincible? Nothing could go wrong when we were young. We were adventurers, and everything in our world was immortal. Illnesses were just another excuse for bunking classes, and tragedies happened to other people.

There was a time I believed that brushing teeth twice a day was for weenies; I didn’t have to worry about cavities. When I couldn’t understand why my mother insisted I shouldn’t read lying down on the couch. When I would secretly throw away my green vegetables. And later, in college, when I ate unhealthy, take-out junk food three meals a day.

But a few years, two root canals, a mild case of cervical spondylosis and the development of a moderately active health-and-nutrition consciousness later, I like to think I’m smarter. Mature. Now I’m the one telling others to make healthy lifestyle adjustments; I tell my cousins off for their bad posture, try to wheedle young nephews and nieces into drinking milk, and frown at my father when he puts extra salt on his food.

Do we take care of our bodies because life is a gift? Or is this just the price we pay for being human; for having a destructible body that we wish to protect? That we should live in fear of sickness, of death? Or maybe it’s just an evolutionary thing–we need to be fit in order to survive.

Whatever the reason, I do try to have a salubrious lifestyle. But I still yearn for those days when I could eat a whole bar of chocolate without feeling guilty, and when I didn’t feel compelled to go to the gym every time I had a huge bowl of noodles for dinner. I wish I didn’t have to grow up!



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“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
–Alice, in ‘Alice in wonderland’

I love this quote, but I wish I wouldn’t forget it during those alluring rainy mornings or those paralytic twilight hours. Times when I walk down the memory lane: look back and miss what I had been, see faces and miss the friends who were.

I wish I could stop fearing the future.


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