Memories are strange beings, awakened by words, sounds, smells, tastes, anything can trigger them off. And then how they snowball!
Beginning with the sarauta in Part 1, the walk down memory lane reached the imam dasta, or mortar and pestle, refreshing many people’s childhood memories of it and other things. See if you find anything that you had almost forgotten!
Imam dasta – mortar and pestle
Do you remember hearing the “Dhamm, Dhamm, Dhamm”? And whole house would be redolent with the heady aroma of spices, every time this sound reverberated in it? Dried turmeric, dry red chilies or whole coriander seeds being pounded in an iron okhli, giving out an aroma that could be smelled from far.
The tradition of pounding spices in the imam dasta has almost stopped with the advent of packaged powdered spices. Imam dastas weighed a lot, and were inconvenient in that sense to move around.
Can you remember that piece of iron being slammed into the bottom of the okhli? Sometimes, it would hit the sides of the Okhli, it made a distinct deep ringing sound, tunnnnn! That sound is still embedded in our senses but the imam dasta now only makes an appearance in traditional remedies stores or dispensaries.
Over the last few years, small okhlis have reappeared in the market and are used to pound small amounts of things, ginger for tea or a green chillies and garlic for a tadka.
Samir Kapoor wrote, “After a long time yesterday, I uttered the words imam dasta when given a giloi twig. When he told me to pound it, I couldn’t help but declare it would be a cakewalk with the help of the imam dasta. Memories of the imam dasta were suddenly refreshed.”
Another Twitter user, Sudarshan Patidar said “it is called himal dasta in Madhya Pradesh. In some parts of the country, it is also called khal batta. In Bhojpuri, it is called okhar.” And Sandeep Bajpai said, “In Bundelkhand, it is called the khallar moosar.” Another user, Ankit, wrote: “In Maithili, the imam dasta is called nista-mungadi, but it’s been ages since anyone has spoken of it.”
Mogri -the laundry bat
The use of the washing machine is not very old in India. Do you remember the scene of a damp courtyard where your father sat with a pile of clothes, surrounded by various buckets? Trousers folded up to the calves, with soapy hands and a wooden bat or mogri in one, beating the daylights out of the clothes. Every thump of this wooden bat would draw some soap from the cloth.
The mogri is less visible now. In the afternoon, while the grownups slept, remember playing cricket in the courtyard with a brother or sister with the same wooden bat? Till recently the mogri could be seen resting against a wall in bathrooms all over India. But now, with the arrival of washing machines makes its use has reduced. All Twitter users gave fun responses while recalling mogri.
A Twitter user wrote that there was a mischievous saying among women, “Jada Laglo Para Laglo Odha Gudri, Budhiya Ke Damad Ello Mar Mungadi!” A Haryana user said mogri was called thapki in Haryanvi.
There was a time when people could recognize the sound of the postman’s bicycl. Taking the brown satchel off from his shoulder, dressed in his khaki uniform, when the post man handed over that blue inland letter, it was nothing short of receiving treasure.
Carefully tearing open the blue envelope and then inhaling its scent. By reading the letter over and over you could almost hear the voice of the sender.
These inland letters which sometimes made us happy, sometimes sad, sometimes tearful and sometimes mirthful, are not seen any more. In the current age of video calling and free-Internet calls, there are no distances left in relationships, ironically perhaps that is why relationships don’t feel connected?
Sometimes, when an inland letter escapes from a certain forgotten drawer of a certain old almirah and falls on the floor, it feels as if it holds, enclosed within it, precious memories of the past.
Eikh – Sugar Cane
Have you ever snuck past everyone to raid a sugarcane field? If you haven’t, it’s also unlikely that you know the sweet taste of fresh eikh. And if you have, the word eikh would have conjured up many childhood memories for you too.
Eikh is called many things in different parts of India. As the twitter user Mihir wrote, “earlier, in Darbhanga and Madhubani areas of Bihar, eikh was called ‘Kusiyar’. In addition, guava was called ‘Latam” pomegranate, “Darim” and Moong ‘kherahi’.”
Over time, however, the diversity of languages is ending. Homogenization of the spoken language has led to the use of universal words over local words. For instance, Devendra Nagar says, “Once upon a time in Harauti we used to call eikh ‘santha’. As children we knew eikh by only that name but as the villages drew nearer to the cities the linguistic exchange occurred and now it has been ages since we have heard harauti. Today it has come up suddenly.”
Manav of Rajasthan tweeted, “In our state, eikh was called ‘ganda’. Ganda Khet, Ganda Bona, Ganda Khana were popular words but now no one says ganda, only ganna or eikh.”
Sinhora -Vermillion Pot
Do you also remember your mother’s dressing table? The same one with the mirror upon which she would stick the red bindi she removed from her forehead? Many of you must have even tried with your keen little fingers to remove the glue from the bindis on that mirror.
You might remember vividly, all the makeup things on the table and the most important of all, colourful dibia (tiny jar), most unique and most special of them all. She cherished that dibia the most. We cherish the memory of that fancy and colourful dibia too, which our mothers carefully opened to take a pinch of sindoor (vermilion) and neatly fill the central parting of their hair.
Sinhora, this is what it was called. When a user mentioned Sinhora, dozens of bright windows opened up for many readers.
Mahesh Sharma, referring to Sinhora, wrote: “It was the most important and beautiful item on the shelf. My mother used to keep it very carefully and we loved its decoration. At weddings, it was often gifted to the bride and was greatly regarded as the symbol of suhag.”
This thread is still alive on twitter! Click on it here and revisit forgotten words, and write your own …
Jamshed Qamar Siddiqui is an Associate Creative Head for the Content Project Company. He has written stories and mentored young writers since he left TV journalism behind in 2017. Lucknow is Jamshed’s hometown but he now lives in Delhi. He has written more than 150 stories for many radio shows.