A slice of nostalgia

Sometimes, one of our senses activates a memory, and we are transported back in time to an entirely different moment. Apparently the brain has filed everything away with ‘categories‘ and ‘tags‘, hasn’t it? The magical thing about nostalgia is, one sense activates the memory, and the rest of your senses will play out the scene in the nostalgia.

So there I was yesterday afternoon, casually picking up a few groceries at our little shop within the community where I live, and I see a poster for ‘Arun ice creams’, and a dedicated little fridge stocking exclusively Arun ice cream products. Having grown up in Chennai, and living in various other cities since I moved out of Chennai in 1993, seeing this brand in Hyderabad is enough to get me nostalgic! I peeped into the fridge, and ever since the monsoons have colluded with my sweet tooth, I find eating ice creams during the rains a perfect little pleasure to indulge in a couple of times a week! I was so glad to notice little ice cream cones (they’ve named them icone!), and then, I saw a ‘Cassata slice’. In one instant I was transported to the magic of the 80s, when I first encountered this ice cream called the cassata. It is apparently of Italian origin, but for me, it is of Chennai origin 🙂

I have eaten so many ice creams and desserts in India and abroad -simple scoops of plain ice cream, to multi-layered desserts, natural fruit flavoured ice creams, to ferroro or brownie mixed creamy ice creams, frozen yogurts posing as ice creams, to all sorts of concocted ice cream-themed desserts from around the world. I have eaten ice cream cups, cones, waffle cones, waffle bowls, and sundaes. Yet, I found eating this Rs.50 slice of casatta such a near-heavenly experience! Go Arun!!!

A slice of ice cream-induced nostalgia

Circa the late 1980s when I first tasted the cassata ice cream on a plate. The Cassata has a layer of cake, about 3-4 layers of different flavours of ice cream, and a bit of whipped cream/cream and nuts on top. Since it is a slice-shaped ice cream, it is eaten with a spoon. What a treat it was! Our fortnightly or monthly outings to the Marina beach in Chennai as a family included indulging in the cassata ice cream at the end of our play. There used to be a Gandhi statue, and me and my two sisters used to run around it, playing for an hour or two during each visit. I wonder how life was so simple yet so satisfying. We would so look forward to these Sunday visits, and I would give anything to take me back in a time capsule and spend one such evening of my childhood all over again.

Strange things happen to my heart when I get nostalgic, and since I didn’t want to be misty-eyed in the shop, I picked up a few ice creams and went home. It was time to introduce cassata to my girls. Over the course of the afternoon, as a family of 5, we shared the 2 slices of cassata I brought home. I wasn’t sure if everyone would like it, hence just 2 slices. My kids loved it, my mother in law loved it, and my husband decided to abstain from dessert indulgences! As usual I went off on a little spin , telling my kids about my simple childhood and how we used to savour the few things we had, but I can’t honestly expect them to understand. They are merely 5 and 10, afterall. Thus was a sweet ending to the trip of nostalgia, with me immersing in the experience of eating this slice of heaven. Mindfulness -I conquered you yesterday afternoon.

My friends, does this happen to you? What kind of things make you nostalgic? What is your primary emotion when you get nostalgic? Do comment, share and let me know.