I’m back… this time with a heavy heart. I don’t make bones about how I feel, do I? And I don’t give a damn about it either, do I? Anyways, I recently got a bad news. They rightly say bad news travels fast. How I wish it didn’t.
All this started almost 4 decades ago. A young and dashing Malayali man rents an incommodious room in a senescent building. That’s my septuagenarian father. He rents the place as a bachelor, later gets married and moves to a trifle bigger place in the same building. I guess this building was built in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Just a wild guess. On a cold Christmas evening, I decided to join the party – I was born in a quaint town in North Kerala! When I was 2 months old and still trying to figure out my next mischievous move, my mum took me to this place which I would call HOME for the next three decades.
A little over two years, my mum gifted me this wonderful companion the world calls SISTER. Together we grew up in this small yet cosy house. We always complained that it was too small. We at times felt embarrassed to tell our friends we stayed there. We hardly called our friends over so they would never know where we stayed. I guess we never realised then what we would feel today.
We played, we fought, we loved, we hated, we envied, we won, we lost, we conquered, we acceded, we conceded, we facilitated, we circumvented, we felt pleasure, pain, glory, vanity, insanity, delusion and what not (phew… you guys are still reading? My fingers are killing me). We did so many things there – good, bad, naughty, insane, cruel, great and I can go on and on. We grew up, went to school, went to college, got jobs and went to work. But we always returned home to just one place, HEAVEN to rich and poor alike – called HOME. It embraced us the way we were – never argued with us. Never judged us. Never chided us. Always provided the warm and comfort that we needed. We slept peacefully in the star filled (sometimes cloudy and overcast) nights and it kept us safe. It’s crumbling walls still assured us of peaceful times inside. The rusted latches on the doors and windows told us we were safe and need not worry about the cruel world outside.
Every year, during Diwali we would decorate this ageing, wrinkly old lady with whatever we could manage, but she never complained. Instead, she shone with the resplendence of stars (at least to the four of us). The window near our main door opened up to the lane opposite our building. It’s the same window where I sat as a kid and watched people and time go by. My father would then appear on the horizon (of that lane) pedalling his bicycle home for lunch. I still remember the peace that encompassed me at that sight.
We never knew one day all this would simply fade into oblivion.
As we grew up, so did our parents – just that they aged. The bonds of love grew stronger with each passing day even as we were completely oblivious to this fact. We etched several memories on to the iridescent canvas called LIFE. But I guess we painted in water colours. Because today, it’s all gone. The old lady was ruthlessly felled even as she was screaming out for help. She wasn’t dead yet. But nobody heard her screams. Nobody saw her tears as one brick crumbled after another. Nobody knew the agony of that old beauty and she was slowly and meticulously reduced to mere rubble. All it’s pristine, glory, it’s magnificence all vanished into thin air.
But wait – that’s not what happened. She lives on – now in the fond memories of the families she once housed. I’m not sure about the others – but she’ll always be a part of my fond memories. She’s been an integral part of my life. She’s lives on. She’s the titanic I once sailed in – so what if she went down? She’ll always be remembered. Because that was what I called HOME SWEET HOME. That was the only other place outside my mother’s womb that I felt warm and safe.
Yet another day has dawned and now – the nocturnal creature that I am – I must hit the sack. Bye folks. But remember – your home has a soul – trust me. Be kind to it. I am not homeless. I have a home sweetly populated by my beautiful wife and cute daughter. But what went down to rubble, my first home – will always be on my mind, in some corner, reminiscent of my wonderful past.
Adieus. Ciao. Bye.