It’s been a while. More than a year. I would gather my thoughts, write down a few lines, gibberish sometimes and sometimes meaningful, but always ended up with nothing. Never got to finish anything because it was either too plain or too complicated. Nothing is ever good enough for me.
But then again why do I care? It’s my words, my thoughts. Who cares if it is perfect or outstanding? The pressure of doing something amazing keeps us from doing even the minimal. It scares us to the point that we can’t even get started, or begin doing something we love.
So here I am, beginning. Nothing fancy or out of this world, just something that has been on my mind for quite some time now. My thoughts were all over the place when they got aligned with a question I read on my friend’s Instagram story: What color is nostalgia?
And the answer came to me naturally, without thinking much, with no extra effort.
Its warm hues of crimson and red, the colors of the sky drenched in the setting sun, sinking into the horizon, taking with it the burdens of the day. Nostalgia is the deep purple creeping over those hues followed by the greys and blacks of the night.
This cliche scene of dusk is so everyday and ordinary but so exceptional still.
No matter where I am in the world this cliche takes me back to my childhood.
The memory of my childhood is dreamlike.
I remember the wind in my hair, and the green of the sun-drenched grass almost ethereal in quality.
I grew up amidst trees. Climbing on soaring pines, scraping knees while plucking mulberries, and chasing after goats are my fondest memories of that time.
The winter, no matter how severe and cold was a beautiful sight. The last week of school was me trudging through shoulder-deep snow, dragging myself and the layers of warm clothing my mom would drown me in. Coming back home to burning wood and warm tea, I still love the winter, no matter how many people make it out to be the villain.
After harsh winters the sun would deliquesce the snow, revealing the needle-like leaves of the evergreens, the birds would sing their songs and the days would be longer and brighter. Those summers spent playing outside in the forest are treasures from my childhood, I carry to this day and will for all my life.
I am one of the fortunate few who have had a chance to grow up so close to nature. I don’t fancy myself a 90’s kid, but the early 2000’s in my hometown were like the 90’s era, more or less. The much-awaited and only children’s show that aired after a week was the only time we spent in front of the huge, round television set.
On the Ayubia road, right after Barrian, a small private road leads up to a total of three houses in the neighborhood, where we were all like a close-knit family. The place is named ‘Dhairian’, and rightly so. Derived from a ‘dhairi’; (small hill or dune), it’s looking upon valleys on either side, through which you can witness the sun rising and setting on opposite ends.
Protruding over the kitchen balcony is our neighbor’s ancient walnut tree, which brings in the aroma of the unripe walnuts throughout the summer. They would ripen and start tumbling down like hailstones in early fall which meant everyone gathering around, cracking them open, and commenting on how amazing they turned out — every year.
The bond with nature I developed is due to the natural location of my childhood house. The cities don’t have the clear night sky dotted with millions of stars. They don’t have still evenings, where the only activity is birds returning to their nests. Neither do they have the crunchy and thick oak-tasting walnuts, no matter how expensive. I still yearn to run, carefree and barefoot on the grass; to listen to the trees rustling and watch the clouds in the blue sky’s backdrop.
Those summers spent in Dhairian, where the only screen-time was the drama on PTV from 8 to 9 p.m. after which only hooting owls and chirping crickets could be heard, are worth time-traveling back to.
I thank you Zaeema for asking such a beautiful question. It helped me sort through the chaos my mind was in.
I am glad I did this. Let’s hope it's not another year before I come back.