Monday, April 6, 2020

F is for First Kiss #AtoZChallenge

All the fruit trees in Papaji's garden had one thing in common. Their fruit was unimpressive and never tasted as good as the ones we bought from the market which was a source of much disappointment to him. The chakotra (grapefruit) looked impressive in size. But once cut, its extremely sour and not so juicy segments would make Papaji sad. He'd persevere and sprinkle sugar on top and entice us to give it a try, at least once.

Fruits of  Daddy's beloved pomegranate and the closely guarded guava had similar secrets. But at least they bore fruit. The peach tree in the far corner of his garden never let anyone know that it's supposed to produce peaches. Only because Papaji used to call it aadoo ka ped, did we figure out its identity.


His trees, however, provided two extremely important functions for his grandchildren: as climbing frames and as hiding places. And often we combined the two and climbed up the trees to hide either alone or in tolees, small groups.

My favourite spot, when I was about eleven years old, was the patch between the pomegranate and the peach tree. It was a secluded bit of Papaji's garden. The vegetables that grew in the foreground provided extra cover. Some summers, baingan and bhindi (eggplant and okra) plants would rise quite high and blanket my spot off from the world completely. I was very fond of my own company. I still am. Solitude suits me.

I'd pull out our munjhi (woven cot), plant it roughly in between the two trees and spend hours reading, day dreaming, talking to myself creating new story lines for my imaginary worlds where I was always the heroine. That's the beauty of a fertile imagination, one can be occupied for hours without stepping out or without spending a penny. 

This was in the early eighties. My father had built our house in one corner of Papaji's garden by this time. So, our family was once again living close to my grandparents, as their next door neighbours. 

A decade or so later,  the plot that was the garden of my childhood will be split into four sections, one each for my father and his three brothers and except for a tree and a few flower pots, Papaji's garden will live only in my recall and writing.

But in 1982, apart from the corner where our newly built house stood, the rest of the garden was safe. 

I'd recently fallen in love with Sachin Pilgaonkar for the second time after watching his new film, Nadiya ke Paar.  The first time he'd caught my attention was when I had seen him with Sarika in Geet Gaata Chal.

It must've been late spring. I was looking through a magazine, lying under the shade of the peach tree, when I came across Sachin's face smiling up at me. His eyes were twinkling. His mouth was turned up at the corner suggesting he had more mirth in him than he was letting out. My eleven year old heart started beating like a drum. Before I knew it, I had planted a big smacker on Sachin's face. Shocked at my own besharmi (shamelessness), I sprang out of the manjhi, looked around to check if I'd been caught and sprinted back home.

My cheeks were hot with embarrassment for almost a week. Or was it the side-effect of pehla, pehla pyaar (first love)? 

In case you're curious, I'm sharing this video to show you those twinkling eyes. Bullock cart makes a come back. 

What you see in this video is my idyll.


You're welcome to share your 'first kiss' stories if you'd like.
********************
What I'd like to know is if you had a secret corner, a hideaway or a spot that was only for you when you were growing up?


43 comments:

  1. What a terribly cute story! Loved your first kiss. But I can't imagine anyone falling in love with Sachin Pilgaonkar ( sorry). I also love your observation of how fruits grown in one's garden are never as sweet as the ones from the market. Do thy do something special?
    https://mumbaionahigh.com/2020/04/daily-prayers-and-the-sanskrit-effect.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was besotted with Sachin!
      Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
    2. I"m unable to log onto your web page for some reason. Just wanted to say I tried to visit you.

      Delete
  2. Sachin was a cutie. Damn funny first kiss story. Now since you asked to share ours, I am struggling hard to find my first kiss story 😂. Probably it was Ravi Shastri 😃 after winning that Audi in 1985.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooh! Do you spot the difference Pinkz?
      I fell for 'bel gaadi' types and you for Audi wala:) Ha! Ha!
      Thank you for sharing your story.

      Delete
  3. Interesting - reading your piece was a like watching a light movie with no dishoom- dishoom fights/ simple sweet post. Sachin & Supriya Pilgaonkar till date are fav couple -on & off screen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind comments Viyoma.
      I agree, they are both great artists and I can never tire of watching their films etc.

      Delete
  4. We had a pomegranate tree too!
    That is a lovely video :)

    The Multicolored Diary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did yours produce sweet fruit?
      Thank you--I love the song and the scenery and the hero, of course:)

      Delete
  5. What a Beautiful story and such a lovely song!! Considering the tuff competition he had in the film industry those days,Sachin Pilgaonkar is truly blessed to have that much attention from you. Papaji ne dekha hota toh aur char chand lag jaata iss story ko!
    Ofcourse,we all have had our hideaway spots. To us mumbaikars,given our Bombay houses and the luxury of space it offered,it would give best of best Ikea designers a tuff challenge when it comes to space utilization.Our balcony was my place. it was not a hidden place so to say, easily accessible to all family members,but when we had to escape for our "me time" be it to anxiously wait for parents returning from work or any expected cousin/friend,cry alone,pullout a dried rose secretly from an old book,listen to music in Vividhbharati/Taperecorder,be lost in day dreams, prank with the roadside vendors & hide or victoriously eat those hidden potato chips which was kept for a special day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh! Vidya--- you could do a blogging challenge with posts just about your balcony. I love the image of you pulling out a dried up rose from an old book, your hair carelessly caressing your cheeks in the breeze and the radio playing 'Kabhi--Kabhi--meri dil mein..."
      --imagining it and smiling.
      Love you my friend. xx

      Delete
  6. Nice one! Took my memories back to those school days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Pardeep.
      I hope they are happy memories:)

      Delete
  7. I wasn't lucky enough to have a hiding spot of my own but I wish I did as I have a brother and sister I would have liked to get away from. As for my First Kiss it was from a kid in our neighborhood that I still see at times and lives around the corner from me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting and for sharing your first kiss story Glenda.
      Hope your siblings are more manageable now:)

      Delete
  8. Simply delightful!I don't remember my first kiss and I'd probably feel embarrassed if I did!

    F is for....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Keith.
      You know, I think that 'I don't remember' seems to be an easy wall to hide behind. My husband uses that phrase when I ask him about his past too;)

      Delete
  9. I love the way you describe fond memories from your childhood - the fruits that never tasted as good as bought fruits, the peach tree that never bore fruit and the calm peaceful garden. Loved the way you describe your first kiss. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shweta.
      So glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  10. Hari OM
    so sweet! Hehehe, my first crush was Gene Pitney; had a big poster over my bed, and yes, there may have been a little brush of the lips to that image... and my bedroom was always my sanctuary. YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to google Gene Pitney. Boy! he has intense eyes. I can see the attraction Yamini.
      Thank you for sharing.
      Much love.

      Delete
  11. Haha great story.... It does feel sad to see your fond childhood memory of a place get divided as pieces of property later... And the only thing that remains intact and unshredded are the memories of the place that once was... Childhood memories are indeed special :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ira.
      Yes. This is the price of progress--more buildings, less green spaces.
      The reason I decided to write about my memories is to keep Papaji's garden flourishing for as long as memory serves me.

      Delete
  12. Well, *that* certainly brought a smile to my face!
    I didn't kiss a magazine but I did kiss paper - a poster of David Cassidy back in the early Partridge Family days.
    Wouldn't work for me now but holy cow, back in those days...! ;-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Jz.
      So happy to see you here. And even more glad to have brought a smile to your face.
      I hope you're keeping well.
      hugs. xx

      Delete
  13. I have never kissed a picture...Like never...And I just thought about it in retrospect when I read your post. I'm still thinking.
    The ordinary moments that have no beginning middle or end turn out to be the most endearing. We revel in the fact that they stay just as they were. I loved this simple tribute to your papajis garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sonia.
      If I confess to the fact that I still kiss pictures, will you laugh?
      When I miss my loved ones, a peck on their photos brings me great comfort.
      I sometimes hold framed photos close to my heart and just feel like they're there with me.

      Delete
  14. Such a delightful first kiss story! Too bad the fruit wasn't more cooperative for your Papaji, but your hideaway spots sound wonderful. Perfect places for daydreaming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it just Deborah?
      I think Papaji's spirit has something to do with the fact that I'm blessed with a similar spot in my own garden, albeit it's neem and frangipani trees and I don't have to hide from anyone as I am an empty-nester. But, it's my scared spot. I love sitting there on my mat with chai and Rumi.

      Delete
  15. The story did not go the way I expected. Such an innocent moment from childhood. Weekends In Maine

    ReplyDelete
  16. That was a beautiful read! I made up a lot of stories in my mind too, with me as the protagonist- usually I was a sport person training hard and reaching great heights while having a tough childhood!
    My real childhood was quiet and safe. And I had my own small bedroom in which to read for hours. I read through nights sometimes and as a result had to wear glasses by the time I was 12.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your imaginary world as much as I like the image of you reading deep into the night:)

      Delete
  17. My first kiss left a lot of newspaper dye lingering on my mouth. I think I gave a lot of tongue 😛

    I think I was kissing Alicia Silverstone...or was it Amisha Patel...I don't quite remember.

    Do drop by mine.

    Cheers,
    CRD
    www.scriptedinsanity.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aiyoo!! Naughty boy--tongue? Don't you know newspaper ink has chemicals in it? Ha! HA!
      Jokes aside, your first kiss scene is making me grin from ear to ear. Thank you for sharing.

      Delete
  18. Well, I loved Amir Khan in QSQT, and watched that movie several time, but can't really remember if I had kissed his picture...
    I used to go on terrace to escape from mummy's call for some household chores.
    Much enjoyed your memories of moving towards adolescence. Love, Nisha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Nisha. QSQT was responsible for so many of us falling for Amir:) He was the cutie on QSQT.

      Delete
  19. Poor Papaji and his orchard - the grass as they say always seems greener in thy neighbour's garden. Until we look back and realise how naive we were, and long again for those good old times with loved ones who cared. Another refreshing recall of an eleven year old with a zest for life. Glad you are not keeping your thoughts to yourself in solitude. Keep the ink flowing ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll keep them flowing dear Raj:)
      Thank you.

      Delete
  20. So cute and innocent first kiss ..😂😂loved reading it

    ReplyDelete

I would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts and comments here.