Down Memory Lane

You could call her old-fashioned, and she certainly wouldn’t mind, because to her old was 24 carat gold.

Thanks to our maid, she could afford to follow many old-fashioned practices at home – be it manual washing of clothes and dishes, manual sweeping and cleaning of the floor instead of vacuum cleaning, using coffee-powder ground from beans right in front of you instead of using instant coffee powder, and more.

I have lived in both worlds – the old-fashioned home of amma and the modern, glitzy home of the sophisticates. While old-fashioned is definitely not as efficient as modern (in time taken for completion), and it sure takes some work, the charm and taste of the old are distinct and memorable.

During the COVID lockdown, amma’s preference for such old-fashioned practices meant that I had to support her in implementing them every day.

Many of these efforts took me back many years to my childhood days – whether it was walking down to buy coffee powder, getting rice milled to a flour in a local rice mill (I thought these did not exist any longer), or standing in a queue at the state government’s public distribution system (PDS) to buy essential goods that were being given free of cost owing as part of COVID incentives. My protestations that the well-off should not use the PDS fell on deaf ears – it was unthinkable for her to refuse anything of use that was offered free by the government.

By making me do all these, she had subconsciously drawn me even closer to her, given the strong associations many of these activities had with my childhood days when I had accompanied her on these errands.

I also realized how revisiting childhood places and people could be a powerful way to rejuvenate ourselves, and perhaps even reawaken the child in us. 140

Getting domesticated <= Down memory lane => Kolams



140. Going down memory lane can present many benefits, as these reports also suggest –; also, research shows remembering the past and retelling the stories forms new pathways in the brain and these family discussions may resemble a more formal type of eldercare service called reminiscence therapy –


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