Unboxed Writers App for Phone and Tablet

Here are more ways to stay at forefront of Unboxed Writers and stay informed and inspired! Download our app for Android Phones and Tablets. Click on the image to Download Now!


Justice

Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

 

Archives

Cattitude: Cause We Support

Cattitude!

The Cattitude Trust is a Public Charitable Trust started to reach out to cats in distress, particularly in Chennai (India).

To know more about Cattitude, 'Like' them on Facebook.

Copyright

Creative Commons License
All content displayed here by Unboxed Writers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://unboxedwriters.com.

Excerpt, Don't Copy: You may not publish an entire post. You may republish an excerpt of not increasing 250 words.

Give Credit: You may not use any material from our site without giving due credit to the individual author and Unboxed Writers. You must hyperlink directly to the post.

Author: Author of the post retains all copyright, and reserves all rights not explicitly granted here.

Kaaka..

images (1)

On a sultry Gujarat afternoon, the lazy summer heat would waft in, bringing in its warm folds the salted sweetness of his voice. “Paaaaaavvvvbiskeeeeeeeeeeeet!” Always starting low at ‘paa’ and reaching a nice final peak at ‘keet.’ Paav and biscuit is how his vendor call could be broken up as, but for a child those days it was a word on its own, one that made you instantly hungry.

Hearts would start to race, pencils would be dropped from home-working fingers, and positions would be taken at windows, each one revealing an eager face peering out, waiting to nab Kaaka, ready to call out to him, just in case he took the lack of your physical presence to be a sign of your disinterest in his wares. That would be utter and complete tragedy.

A large metal trunk, painted green but grey with use, opened to a world of baked delicacies. Loaves of bread always, but also soft fluffy buns, fat beige naankhatais, coconut biscuits, salty khaari, and those two most coveted of them all – cream buns and jam rolls. Keereem bun, he would say, and jaam roll, and macroom, but his quaint words for them only made them more exotic than anything you’d ever dreamed of.

Every child had sampled the assembly line produce at KK’s and Novelty’s down town and they somehow just didn’t do the trick. Kaaka’s spread, on the other hand, never failed you. You never thought of where all the goodies came from. They couldn’t have come from the assembly line sort of place that the others stocked their bakeries with – that much was for sure. And Kaaka couldn’t have baked them all by himself – he was too old to make anything, he barely made the journey from…wherever he came from. It had never occurred to you to ask him where that was. So you sort of assumed that they somehow formed themselves in the still of the night, every night, right there in the metal trunk, from glitter and sparkle from the stars above.

It was magic all right, way better than the ‘Water of India, Water of Bengal’ sort you saw at the half-yearly PC Sorcar travelling magic show last May.

Kaaka was so old, so incredibly ancient, he was bound to be a man of magic. He appeared at least a 150- years- old to child’s eyes, with his wrinkled skin, grey hair and sagging earlobes, earlobes weighed down by the weight of thick silver earrings. His eyes looked like Poppins – glassy and coloured grey, blue, brown and black all at once. Cataract.. you would realise later. There were more lines on his face than that red and blue line notebook they gave you for sums in Primary School.

He wore a full head of grey hair in a close crop – more hair could have been an encumbrance. His trunk travelled on his head, separated from it only by a rolled, coiled piece of cloth. His working dress was always Khakee – a shirt with collars, shoulder bands that were buttoned down, pockets and half sleeves. His shorts, again with deep pockets to hold the day’s wages and loose change in, ended at his knees, giving way to a pair of spindly, withered legs that had stood many a ground, across time.

But his weathered frame notwithstanding, Kaaka’s gnarled hands always held out the promise of sweetness to come, sometimes saltiness too, a promise that all would be well the moment you bit into one of his freshly baked biscuits. Kaaka teased and gently cajoled you into trying a bit of this, then a bit of that, his eyes often revealing a smidgen of disappointment at the word ‘no’.

What started out as a speck of saliva in your mouth when you heard his voice hundreds of metres away, grew into a pool so large you couldn’t speak. But you needn’t have said a word. Your greedy eyes said it all. You pointed to all the things you would have liked to see in your tiffin box for the next few days, and if you’d been a good child, you’d get about a tenth of your ask. That would do just fine too, especially if that included a keereem bun or a jaam roll.

In time, Kaaka’s trips started to dwindle, as did the number of asks in your childish kitty, till one day the memory of him receded deep into your growing mind. Then one day a sight somewhere, of a swatch of khakhee, a sagging earlobe, bony knees perhaps, brings home smells forgotten. And you childishly hope Kaaka was claimed gently, lovingly, by the glitter and sparkle from the stars above.

 

Seetal Iyer is the co-founder and content head at Timbre Media and one of the most well-loved radio voices for over 15 years and counting.

Similar posts
  • A Trek Back to Selfhood   “It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, but clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.” — Wild: From Lost [...]
  • Walking Tall Though Change Father was always a fast walker; his strides were long, his gait effortless. When Calvin and I managed to match his pace during our morning walks in Boat Club, I panted more than my canine companion. I was a teenager then and Calvin was just two. Father was faster, brisker, and more focussed than most [...]
  • Of The Moon And Luminous Mindfulness “The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. [...]
  • F Is For Forgiveness “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” — The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Hurt announces his arrival with a deafening cacophony of cymbals and trumpets and accordions. He slips into a tuxedo and a [...]
  • FB Detox For A Purposeful Life   I became a citizen of the Facebook universe in circa 2006 and tasted for the first time, the pleasures of rampant social networking. Despite coming from the professional field of Public Relations and having represented the buzzing world of hotels for the better part of my career, I always seemed to saddle the fence between extroversion and [...]

2 Comments

  1. maneesha Agarkar sha maneesha Agarkar sha
    February 27, 2014    

    Oh…you made me re live childhood again….thank you so much. ..

  2. Sunil Agarkar Sunil Agarkar
    March 10, 2014    

    seetal,
    your beautiful language has given me a feeling actually seeing kaka coming and gifting (selling ) love and warmth to us.
    the same breads and biscuits of bakery shop were not as testy, as they were lacking of love and warmth added by kaka.
    his denial by saying that today this is reserved for my that kid, next time I will bring for you. also confirming from mother.
    now I respect his support to mother when mother was saying no for certain item.
    let me now end journey of childhood and come to reality.
    sunil agarkar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Authors

Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers!

Subscribe for FREE and get the latest in your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
Name
Email *

Admins

Editor & Founder:
Reema Moudgil
Design Director & Founder:
Vani Bahl
Media Consultant:
Poonam Goel

Mission Statement

Who are we? We are writers. And here, in this space, we put pride and passion back into writing. We give ourselves and each other creative freedom and respect.

* We create an environment where content generation does not entail degeneration of inspiration and spirit.
* We create content that we believe in and identify with.
* We recognise that to create is always of more value than to berate.
*We critique without malice and arrogance.

This site is about us writers, what we stand for but more importantly, about creating something valuable, inclusive, thought-provoking. In this space, we do not just stand for ourselves but for all those who listen to a compelling inner voice that tells them, "Create!"

Unboxed Writers Share

Join the other awesome people who get the new posts right away by email!
Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers.
Enter your email and stay on top of things!

Subscribe!