Dated – October, 2009
Home. I love it. Everything about it. The word itself has so much warmth. I just need to close my eyes and think of home and so many images flash by. The old house with the big garden. Sundays spent with baba, washing the old Maruti 700. Getting thoroughly drenched in the process. Showing off to dada how well I could wash the tyres. And to ma’s horror, walking in the kitchen in that wet state with my Bata flip-flops making an imprint as I walked around, scavenging for food. Evenings spent helping ma water the plants. Trying to learn how to trim the plants, but my impatience always got the better of me. I would run away with the water hose and try to make my part of the world dust free. 🙂
There was a huge mango tree in the garden. Some weird mixed breed of mangoes with which ma used to make world’s most amazing pickle. Thanks to that tree, mango season used to subject our house and car to ample stone pelting. Baba’s fury used to be on a roll during that time. There were a pair of mongoose who used to live in our garden, next to the drain. Ma used to say they keep away the snakes. That made me like those two weird scrawny creatures.
There were rules. Ma made them. Ma implemented them. Baba used to spoil us. Days started early. An hour of sleep after school, and we were sent to play. Six pm was curfew time. I remember doing sit-ups for being five minutes late. Ma’s a teacher and she treated us no differently. We never interrupted when elders spoke. We never argued with elders. Idiot and stupid were taboo words (so they were said behind closed doors while we siblings fought it out). We used to get ten bucks a month as pocket money. I think it was revamped to fifty when we reached eighth standard.
I was an introvert when I was small. Still am in some ways. Complete bookworm. Ma used to teach Dada in the evenings. I would sit by the side with my book, looking out for some attention. There was this huge book of bedtime stories. Ma used to read it out to me every night and then put me to sleep. Thakuma had her own set of stories. Stories that these English authors can’t compare to. Because they were magically woven out of thin air, depending on the request I made.
Holidays meant seeing ma do pujo in the morning. Hot breakfast and He-Man on TV. We did move on to other equally juvenile shows as we grew up. The Golden ice-cream wala knew our holidays. He would yell out extra loudly on those days in front of our gate. And we would plead. Somedays we would hit the jackpot and get a Chocobar, other days we used to be content with an orange candy.
Heavy rains used to fill up the space in front of the porch with water. We would run out to get wet. Be ready with our boats. Be jealous of the kids who were allowed to run free on the roads. But we would revel in our space. Cross our fingers that a rainy day would be declared in school. The lyrics that come back to me time and again is cliched..but perfect..
वो मासूम चाहत की तस्वीर अपनी,
वो ख्वाबों खिलौनों की जागीर अपनी,
ना दुनिया का गम था, ना रिश्तों का बंधन,
बड़ी खूबसूरत थी वो ज़िन्दगानी…..
वो कागज़ की कश्ती, वो बारिश का पानी….
There is actually no end to the million things that come to my mind when I think of home. We have moved on from that house to an apartment. Its not the same, but it still is home. The warmth is still there in every nook and corner, because its not the bricks and mortar but Ma and Baba who define home to me. Dada and I have moved on to far away places. Rare are the occasions when we get together. Memories are all that binds us together. Hats off to the two people who have given us this rock solid support to hold on to, in times good and bad. Hats off to Ma and Baba. I had said this before..that if I could be even 10% of what they are, I would be exceptional!