Does it happen with you when you read a post by a fellow blogger, you remember something similar, or you want to blog about the same subject too expressing your views about that topic? It happens with me all the times. Most of the times, I rant on their blogs and use the comment form for my post, or simply write a post on my blog. Today is one of such times.
Last week, Kavi wrote a post about Harihareshwar and that post reminded me of my childhood I spent at Umbergaon. I mailed him a few pictures of that place. But my fingers itched to type out the memories and publish them here. Though in my various posts, I have mentioned about my childhood and Umbergaon, but when my childhood friend Jigisha shared an album with me, I immediately smsed her to take her permission so that I could share those images on my blog.
Umbergaon is a small town located near Gujarat Maharashtra border. Not too crowded town with majority Gujarati population, it welcomes you with a warm village feeling minus the huts. Huts are there too, quite a few of them in the interiors of this small town. But rest of the things remain the same. Narrow lanes, kachi sadak (dirt road), wells, temples at every 100 yards, rangoli outside every house, neighbours talking to each other while cooking or working and such. each and every person has time to at least wish you good morning. Almost everyone knows everyone.
I spent my childhood there. I was born to my parents, but was brought up by the neighbours. Now, that's how it works there. My parents have parented so many kids too but their own. My brother and I even had our meals with neighbours. And it was considered very normal.
This was the bungalow with five houses where I was brought up. It is just the half portion that you can see. The other half was demolished when this picture was clicked. Now it is fully demolished. My house is very much there, right opposite to it; but for me, this was home. And I will always miss it as my entire childhood was spent here. These poles witnessed so many games played by us. Old people sat on that bench in the far corner in the evening. My first ever friend stayed in the house you can see now. All the houses had swings.
This is my school. The ground that you can see, it was our volleyball ground. There are corridors on the both sides of the main gates. That's where I usually stayed during school time. I never did my homework, and my usual punishment was to stand outside the classroom. But well, it still never changed anything. There was not a single day on which I must have done my homework.
On the left hand side of the volleyball ground, we had our drawing class, which is of course not visible in this picture. I loved to paint and I always managed to score pretty decent in the subject. Another advantage I had was that my mama (maternal uncle) stayed bang opposite to my school. Many times, I went there for lunch or just to show off at the time of lunch break. People envied me as I got to eat hot and fresh lunch. Ah, I have always been a show off :P
Now comes the most beautiful part of the town - the beach. Umbergaon has a wonderful beach. And it is right behind my school. Each day, we enjoyed the beach view from our classroom windows. In the picture above, you can spot the photographer and another girl who was brought up by me. She is my first friend's cousin. That's how it goes.
Ah, I miss this place. It's been 12 years since I shifted to Mumbai. I love this city and those who read me regularly know that very well. But somewhere deep inside me, I am still a small town girl. Given a choice, I will settle in one of the small towns of India. Umbergaon is definitely an option, but most of the places with which my memories are associated are no longer there or even if they are there, they are modified or renovated. But still, it is an option. Maybe when I retire (if at all I do! I am a workaholic!), I will settle in one of the small towns. Do I have any company in my neighbourhood? Any bloggers? :)