It was a regular October day – or so I thought. Having two small kids at home means your are often too preoccupied to know what day or date it is, leave alone special occasions. My toddler was having dinner when the door bell rang. Now, any mother, whose toddler is a fussy eater will agree with me that when your toddler has started eating after a lot of coaxing, threats and sweet promises, any small disturbance that can divert your toddler’s capricious attention from dinner to anything else is unwelcome. However, the split second I took to realise that the deed was done, my lil monkey was at the door, trying to balance herself on the toes as she opened the door. She shrieked as the door opened and the sound of “Trick or Treat” filled our living room. Just outside our door were a bunch of neighbourhood kids dressed as superman, spiderman, pirate and what not. And it dawned on me that it was 31st October – Halloween. One of the advantages of having a kid at home is the never ending supply of chocolates and candies, all thanks to attending zillion birthday parties and the “sweet” custom of “return gifts”. The treasure is further supplemented by visitors who come bearing chocolates for the toddler.
So, as my toddler watched curiously, I dug into that treasure and handed over the treats to the kids. I explained to my munchkin that today was Halloween and kids dress up and go door to door collecting treats. Her eyes twinkled as it dawned on her that this is a good idea to get more candies and chocolates. She turned towards me and said “Mamma, I too want to go as Halloween”. Before I could correct her and explain that it was the day which was called “Halloween”, she did something which is very hard to refuse. Her little face gleamed up at me beseechingly and uttered the magic word “Pleeeeeasse”. I could not refuse her little earnest request and started thinking what outfit I could arrange at a moment’s notice at that late hour. I decided to dress her up as a dacoit, as it was the easiest thing to do. With the help of kajal, I drew a moustache on her and a big teeka on her forehead and tied a white handkerchief across her mouth. I handed her a toy gun and just like that my little scary dacoit was ready and off she went, “trick or treating” with her papa.
She returned a good hour later, her bag full of candies and her face beaming with joy. She handed me the bag, after I convinced her that I will keep them safe for her. As I was emptying the goodies, my glance fell on a red box which looked familiar. My face lit up as recognised something that I hadn’t seen for over two decades – 2 boxes of Phantom sweet cigarettes, which triggered an innocent childhood memory! For those who don’t know, what these are, they’re sugar candies shaped like cigarettes, white with a red tip. As children. we used to love to pretend-smoke these cigarettes and use them as props while playing “chor-police”. I immediately took one and relived those carefree, unhurried days when life was worry-free and slow-paced, yet wholly fulfilling. A friend of ours who had given these said that they found it on Amazon(Buy here), at a price that it still as low, relatively, as it was in those days.
It is fascinating how the smallest of memories associated with ones childhood can bring such joy – no wonder childhood is rightly considered the best phase of life. As we hurry on through life, jumping from one issue to the other, dealing with the myriad complexities of modern living, dealing with traffic and pollution and a general sense of always being hurried and falling behind in the rat race of life, a fake puff on a fake cigarette to unwind proved a much more (relatively) healthy way to de-stress.
Do you have food memories associated with your childhood that transports you back to a warm, safe place that brings forth the child in you? Do write in and share your wonderful sweet memories!