"Don't dwell on the past, live in the present." this preachy line, we frequently get to hear these days on media by new age gurus. But often, I find myself questioning the above ....and my mind starts debating on that.
The arguments vacillate in support 'of' and 'against' the above statement. Sometimes, I think we are the products of our past and therin lies our foundation. Sometimes, I feel the unwanted baggage can hinder our life. Sometimes, I think, Isn't introspection the key to awareness?....so many such thoughts debate on my mind but finally the argument for the support of nostalgia wins...... And Pray, tell me...how can I not dwell on my past when i have made wonderful, unforgettable memories .... .and so I say,
Old is gold!..nostalgia is empowering!!....Old music is unbeatable !!!,.... heritage buildings are classic!!! ......dejavu is rejuvenating!!!
A song, fragrance, a building, a name, so many such things can evoke memories of loved ones separated by death or distance that the hours one spends thinking about such things suspends the present and one travels back to the past.
Mylapore, a part of chennai town is one such place which strikes a chord and sends me on nostalgia lane. The very mention of that place name releases from me a lifetime of personal memories.
During my recent trip, a visit to this place turned me misty eyed with happiness. I made a visit to this place after some 16 years. 14 years back I visited the Kapali temple alone which is the soul of Mylapore, but this time, i went around the mada street, my grand parents home ( sold 17 years back), my mom and aunt's typewriting &shorthand class home, Veena class home( all were taught in homes only). The class cum home still stand hoarding the board. The bank next door, their family jewellers, Srividya manjal shop, the florist shop, appalam kadai, Aavin, Rasi silk store where I still remember my mami asking for the "manjalla yellow border kaatunga"( Show me the yellow with yellow border saree) and how we cousins were laughing at her and she was looking askance at the salesman and us, not knowing why we were laughing. She did'nt realize she said manjal which in tamil means yellow.Every incident and memory that came alive during this visit felt like it happened just recently.
The maadi tailor who used to often get a good dose of scoldings from my aunt for not stitching on time. The pooja and garland store near kapali kovil where we deposited our chappals before the visit, the fights we cousins had at home with elders since we didnt want to accompany the elders to the temple, Matthala narayanan street sweet stall,where we were sent to get the hot kaara sev snacks, The Bharatiya vidya bhavan where I was refused admission for 6 months, The kumaran school ( no more exists)..opposite Hindu chit fund where I studied for 6 months during my sister's birth., Karpagambal mess, kalathi shop, vijaya stores and ofcourse the Kapali kovil, Mundakanniamman koil .....Except for a few facelifts in the interior of these temples, the place looked frozen in time. . There are signs of decay on some buildings which only heightens the perception of continuity with the passing of time and lends an aura of heritage. Some buildings ofcourse have buckled to lifestyle changes and sport trendy looks. But all those glamour and sheen of the new buildings fade in front of the mildewed heritage stores and shops.
With the timing of my visit, I could tick off one more of my bucket list wish. It was on my wish list to shop for the golu dolls after navaratri around the mada street( around the foot path of the temple) . These are temporary road stalls pitched only during navarathri selling clay dolls. With the golu over, the traditional dolls are sold at lesser rates. A win-win situation where the customer gets at cheap rates and the seller does'nt have to store the clay dolls till the next navaratri.
Overall a visit, where my emotional batteries were recharged.
Some pictures from the visit...
sannidhi street housing shops for traditional arts, crafts and weaves and on this lane lies oneof the famous Bharatnatyam dress needs shop which has dance customers from all over the world.
Gopura darisanam kodi punyam goes a tamil saying..meaning seeing a temple tower is equal to a crore good deeds.The ganesh temple as you enter kapali kovil
Many childhood memories buried underneath the flooring of that pandal and that Rasi silks and Giri trading our regular shops..
The flower shops enroute which doubles as free chappal depositary for mami and always the florist would ask mami "Nalla irukkenga akka?" ( are you fine, sister?)
The make shift clay dolls sold during navaratri on the mada streets( the 4 streets around the temple)
Straight and left would take to my mom's school the famous "Lady sivasami aiyar girls high school", kalathi news paper mart famous for rose milk and which has appeared in many travel shows, karpagambal mess, mami kadai...all famous old time shops and mess on this street.