Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Childhood Musings

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? :)


  1. Childhood certainly has a real special place in most ppl's minds.. Probably because of the carefree times.
    Umbergaon certainly seems 2 be an excellent place 2 get away from the maddening crowds of d city and with such a wonderful beach.. Certainly an enticing prospect 2 make it a home. What say?

  2. Nice write up. Umbergaon seems to be a beautiful serene place with a beach. I grew up all my life near beaches. I am therefore partial to beach.

    You recalled your fond childhood memories. I am sure these frozen memories will be with you all your life. I remember a song from Barbra Streisand:

    Light the corners of my mind
    Misty water-colored memories
    Of the way we were
    Scattered pictures,
    Of the smiles we left behind
    Smiles we gave to one another
    For the way we were

  3. Nostalgic post! I have always wanted to live in a small town for some part of my life.. but have always been in big cities throughout my life.. it's fun to live in such small towns :)

  4. Small towns are the best for they have a mix of urban and rural. Umbergaon looks perfect.

  5. I can totally relate to it. It's been almost seven years in Delhi and even a 2-day stay in my hometown Allahabad, makes me want to stay forever! I yearn to go to Mussoorie where I spent most of my schooling years!

    The pictures you have shared here are beautiful and those memories will always be cherished! Write more about your hometown and post pics too...would love to know more :)

  6. It happens to me all the time that i read something and I want to write about it too. For example right now, I want to write about my childhood.

    I have heard about this town from a friend. Its said to have one of the best beaches. But since I have been born, I m a city girl. I spent only my vacations in villages or towns. Even though I like them and that life, I m not really sure about moving away from city. I m way too used to it.

    When I was growing up I knew all neighbors and they were like extended family. I used to eat at my neighbors home a lot and Varsha (my neighbor) used to eat at mine. She liked my mom's cooking and me hers. But now I hardly know my neighbors :(.

  7. Such a lovely post Neha ! A pretty bungalow9sad it was demolished) ,great neighbors , no home work to do (by choice of course),no boring classes to attend (standing out),a beautiful beach,volley ball ground and cherry on top mamaji ka ghar school ke samne .Thanks for sharing beautiful memories of your childhood in Umbergaon.Special thanks to your friend Jigisha for sharing the pics .I already live in a city which feels like a small town- and i love it !.

  8. Memories make our lives.If you cant remember part of your life,it is as if you haven't lived it.
    I had written some thing about my childhood in my blog, and also something I named " Can u remember?", about what is your earliest memory.
    Childhood is the best part of every ones memories.Because we got all the love and attention from every one.As we grow up,we are no longer at the receiving end.

    The fondest memories are the earliest ones!!

  9. If the small town is in the hills, I want to come along

  10. Oh Neha! Your nostalgic article brought tears to my eyes! Yes, it happens with me too...I too feel like sharing something similar whenever I read another blogger writing about it.Now also,I feel like writing about my childhood home which has been destroyed quite a lot!

  11. :) nice pics and the house looks wowo... now this has given me a idea for a post :)

    I envy you now beach tooooo wah ji wah

    Nostalgic times .. did you go back for visit :) YEs When i retire i am defintely comign to INDIA to my village , thats final no second thoughts about it

  12. Ah! Those lovely good old ooops, I mean young days! You know, writing about them and thinking about them transports you back in time and a happy, wonderful feeling lingers on for a long long time! Good to know a bit more about you!
    Wishing you loads of happy times and wonderful memories!
    Cheers :)

  13. Thanks for sharing ! The wonder years hold so much meaning, and so much joy !

    No better than the place that we grew up in !


  14. So beautiful!! !You grew up in a palace like that? Wow!!! Childhood memories are just so precious... as we grow older, we hold on to these memories tighter and closer!!

  15. this happens with me remember school days etc
    nice post

  16. Yes, Childhood memories are so dear and everything changes but memories remain and photographs/pictures ignite those times in the memory...

  17. The bungalow looks so awesome, I am sure it had so many wonderful tales to tell.

    Its nice that you wrote about your childhood. Wonderful times in deed.

  18. wonderful post and the pictures are also great. makes you nostalgic

  19. Wonderful post Neha.. so simple but brings back the memories like anything :)

    Your town is so beautiful.. I always loved the swings :) :)

    A town must be like that.. everybody must be like neighbour... there will be no fear na..

    Add to that a huge ground and a sea view... I should atleast make a visit there if not settling down...

  20. Your post made me nostalgic. It reminded me of all the places where I spent my childhood :) Umbergaon is so beautiful...the beach..ah..breathtaking! :)

  21. Lovely post Neha!! It reminded me of my childhood spent in a small town. It is really a nice experience to be in such places.

  22. yes it does happen to me that after reading a post I'm taken to old days or something similar that I wanted to blog...

    Settle down in some small town? Why not?? But by the time we actually would want to 'settle down' I wonder how many small towns will actually be intact :D

    P.S. The pictures scream loads of fun and innocence :)

  23. Neha.....such a beautiful lil place is Umbergaon...!

    M sure u miss ur days there...n why not!!

    I want to run away to countryside toooo to retire from all the hullaballooo of cities!!!