What is the first thing you recall when the word ATTIC comes across you?
Old trunks… Piles of unused or discarded things… Old cupboards…???
For me… it’s the scent of something old yet inviting, the smell of old-books, dry-fruits, and camphor. Yes, that is the first thing I remember when I think of attic.
The attic room, in this post, was in my maternal grandparents’ house. It was a farmhouse – a sprawling two-storey building with orchards on one side and paddy-fields on the other. Most of my childhood memories are from that place. (By the time I am done with all of my posts, you all readers will be well-acquainted with the place :))
On the second storey, just beside the stairs which led to our terrace, there was this small cute door which used to remain locked most of the time. Sometimes I used to see my grandmother going and coming out of the room. I had never paid so much attention to it, until one day when I saw my grandma coming out from there with a bowl filled with dry-fruits. She gave a handful to all of us. It was then that my interest was piqued.
I wanted to know what was inside. My childhood imagination made me create a whole fairyland, behind that small door, having all the things which I relished. So, I decided to visit it and for that, I needed a partner. Convincing my siblings wasn’t hard as we hardly had anything to do during the afternoons. I and my siblings decided to raid the attic at the time when all the adults were taking their afternoon nap.
Our initial efforts failed. For a five-year-old, it was enough to know that to open a lock one needs a key. So without bothering whether the key was of that lock or not, we tried opening it with a random bunch of keys. On the third day, frustrated with our continuous failures, we decided to tail our grandma. We followed her wherever she went. Unfortunately, she didn’t go to the attic. It was becoming too much for us and we were quite impatient. So, we boldly asked her to show us the attic.
Being straight-forward really helped. She laughed and asked what we wanted to see there. Saying that she took out the key from the knot tied at the corner of her sari (And here we were running all around the house to find the right key!!!), and climbed the staircase to open the door.
The first thing that I came across, as we stepped inside, was the aroma of dry-fruits making my mouth water. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light of the attic, I could make out the outline of various wooden trunks and boxes towards one side of the wall. On the opposite wall, there was a shelf. There were few old things kept on the shelf. Out of curiosity, I went near and found myself looking at an old mirror. Next to it was a small circular shaped mirror having ‘convex lens’ (I came to know about the term in my later years). For a couple of years, we used to call it a ‘funny mirror’ as our faces used to look funny in that.
That was our first day in the attic.
From then onwards our summer vacations became more fun. Every year we raided the attic, opening one trunk or the other. They mostly contained beautifully embroidered shawls and colorful hand-knitted cardigans. Some boxes contained old utensils, some had tools. We also found albums having photographs of my mother from the time of her birth till marriage, all stored safely. A huge perambulator (yep…not calling it pram as it was so old-fashioned) used to lurk in the corner. It was the day when we were trying to move the perambulator that we found our real treasure… a cupboard overflowing with comics!
The happiness to discover something like this, the thrill of getting to use someone else’s prized possession (those comics were my uncle’s and he was very possessive about them 🙂) is something you can’t express. We just freaked out!!!
These comics belonged to my uncle when he was a child. The famous ‘Phantom’ and ‘Mandrake’ were waving at us from those comics.
But the problem was that we could be in trouble if our uncle caught us reading them (he couldn’t trust us with his precious comics.) So we had to come up with a plan of reading them when he wasn’t around. We had two things to especially take care of- First, to keep track of our uncle’s whereabouts and second, to memorize the exact place and series number of the comics which we took out to read from the bookshelf.
So, the moment he was out of the main gate on his motorbike, we used to rush to the attic, open the cupboard and take out the comics to read. Before pulling those out we used to carefully note the shelf and the series so that we could put them exactly in same place. We used to sit near the window and read the books. Why? Because we could easily hear the motorbike coming and had enough time to restore everything. Sometimes, we were almost on the verge of getting caught and it made the adventure of raiding the attic more exciting. It took us four summers to read all the comics of that big cupboard and we were proud that nobody came to know about it until the time we all were adults ourselves 🙂
Looking back, I can still feel the thrill of those times when we did something forbidden, broke the rules and had fun together.
Those were some fun moments being the Attic Raiders during our childhood.
Do you have any such childhood memories? Have you ever done something adventurous in your childhood which was freaking awesome? What comics did you read in your childhood?
Would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
This blog post is part of #A2ZBlogging Challenge. My theme for the year 2018 is Memories. This post is for letter ‘A’.