She got her two year old niece, Ira dressed in a tiny skirt and a tee that had ‘Daddy’s princess’ embossed on it. They were leaving for the annual fair of their village. It was Ira’s first visit to the flea. The little girl amused to witness the crowd, was clapping gleefully at the sight of all the rides, food stalls and shopping booths. With the few words that her niece had learnt to pronounce, she asked her to sit in all the amusement rides with her- toy train, Ferris wheel, merry-go-round.
Watching Ira’s fervour, she reminisced her visit to the fair during her childhood times.
As soon as the summer holidays commenced, all her cousins assembled in the village home for the fair. Collecting money from all the elders to purchase tickets for the rides was their favourite passtime. They stood in the verandah and watched the chaotic streets in bewilderment. They ended up going to every food stall to binge on chaat, drink chilled juices and cold drinks and played lucky draw to win prizes. She loved sitting in the giant wheel and the cup and saucer ride. Viewing the entire village from above, exhilirated her.
She always stopped by the candy floss counter. The spinning of granulated sugar into a cotton candy, letting out tiny sparkles of crystal sugar while making it, left her in awe. She coerced her elder siblings into buying one for each of them. They wandered on the streets eating the pink candy with their hands,halting at every booth to purchase something- a piggy bank that was replaced every year, posters of Indian cricketers and movie stars, jhumkis, colorful glass bangles.
They returned home late after gorging on cheap Chinese food on the roadside stalls. On their way back, they stopped by the Paan stall to eat chocolate paan, something they indulged into once in a while.
When they returned home, she displayed all the items she bought from the flea and showed it to everyone around. All of them would then gather in the living room, to play dumb charades. Laughing, fighting , screaming on top of their voices, yet glued together, they were thoroughly blessed with each other’s company. They would all arrange their beds in a straight row in the living room and listen to stories of the fair from her father’s time.
Today, visiting the fair alone sans her cousins but only her niece holding on to her, got her nostalgic. How time flies, she thought. A couple of years back, all of them never missed a chance to go to the village but today they had gotten busy with their fast growing lives.
There she stood alone amidst the crowd, trying to treasure her memoirs from the past!