Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holiday stories

So the very next day I landed at home, Mum dragged me all the way to my native place. I personally have no problem visiting that place, I love that place – it holds many fond memories of my childhood. But not when half the house is lying empty! In fact, the house has become a ghost of what it was when I was a kid. We used to visit every weekend when my Dad came back from Gaya (where he used to teach in a medical college) and had the best weekends that a child can possibly imagine. Now all those cousins who welcomed me with open arms into their tightly knit compartment are not there. They have moved out or settled down elsewhere, more closer to the city. I was always one of the youngest and not unexpectedly had a run for everything best and the most wonderful that was possibly on offer. I know… I confess I was one of those pampered ones. Now that those attractions are no more there, the urge has diminished (uttered with total selfishness). We rather keep in touch over emails, chat sessions, over the phone… long distance, they say.

Despite the tremendous unwillingness we eventually did manage to go… not much has changed from the last time I went. I missed those wonderful days when many an afternoons we had spent in the orchard and the barn planning and executing all the pickle expeditions while the entire household was busy catching their daily siesta. Now it is like a curtsy call to pay respects to the elders in the family… you never know whether you mean much of it or not. Now they give you exactly all the things that you loved when you were a kid. But that fascination is gone. And now, even if all the those delicious things for which you were even willing to risk getting smacked at by the elders - but you still tried it and never gave up, is lying right in front of you, laid out only for you, you miss the charm of procuring it when you are not allowed to take it.The miles and miles of open fields have now been dotted by concret houses and huts of settlers whose nests have been raked to ashes. The brown meandering road is now one straight strip of tar that slowly vanished into the horizon. The pond has become half the size of what it was and the fishes are no more there. The cowshed is now the storeroom and the barn has become home for some more destitutes whom the city did not accept into its wide open arms.The upper part of the house, towards the eastern side, the walls are crumbling as the tree roots make their way more and more into the cracks between the bricks and the cement.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And then there was a sudden spark, a loud crackling noise and everything went dark… on the TV screen. For a few seconds all three of us remained motionless, our minds taking their own sweet time to fathom the damage that has just been done. This was immediately followed by a sudden burst of energy (synergy?) in the three of us. Mom screamed, “Switch off the power button and unplug the power cord!” to Dad whose limbs decided to not listen to his mind (brain?) right at that very moment. I for some reason beyond my own comprehension shouted the declaration as if I was standing on Mount Everest and have just spotted a unicorn in the nearby bush, “I see fire!!”
No, it was not a cloudy day, the weather was fine (in fact, there was nip in the air with the onset of winter, finally), in fact it was not even day; it was quite late at night. We had just come back from a late dinner form a family friend’s place and decided to unwind ourselves (very unusually though) by plonking our asses on the couch in front of the television set. Our three pairs of eyes were glued to the television screen as we were every beta/ gamma/ pixel of light signal that was being emitted through the cathode tube (or whatever that is they call it), trying to follow the chain of events in the daily soap that has become quite an addiction for all of us… yes, Dad too included! And just when things were becoming interesting (and don’t understand why all interruptions come at the “THE” moment) the picture tube of our eleven-year-old-otherwise-working-perfectly-14inch television decided to conk off. And I am very sorry to break it to you all, that was the end of our journey together. Many a film I have watched through the eyes of that so-called idiot box that opened my eyes to the world to a large extent. Three world cup finals and a string of wins and losses by the men in blue (that’s the only game I seriously watch apart from swimming, basketball, tennis, formula one races… etc, etc). And now it is no more.
Now its coveted position has been usurped by a sleek LCD screen 26inch television where everything looks bigger than they did in the 14inch. You don’t have to whack its head so as to get the picture back. As a matter of fact, this one does not even have a proper head! So much for trying to hit size zero, huh? That’s the trend these days. Kareena, for instance. I mean seriously, a day will dawn very soon when Saif might have to wear red glasses to spot where lies his size zero girl friend!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ruminations

The silence of the rooms deafens my ears. The air seems to hang still… not a stirring anywhere. It’s not so warm and the fan is switched off. So the usual whirring of the fan’s blades cutting through the air is missing. I miss that sound… something that reminds me more of the long hot summer evenings. Suddenly the power goes. Just when my conscience begins to look forward to another round of silence there is a stirring everywhere around me. People are feeling their way around the house. The eye takes sometime to habituate. I love those few moments… when I know my eyes are wide open and yet I cannot even spot a trace of light anywhere around me. Somebody lights a match, I hear the hissing as the flames lick the soggy wooden matchstick. The maid had come to wash the kitchen in the afternoon and mindless that she is, she poured a bucketful of water before she noticed the matchbox. Thankfully it wasn’t too late. The escaping moisture seems to throw their last complaint at your face before making a dash out of the matchstick.
The shadows play around with the shadows of the mind. The room is sometimes lighted up by the headlights of the passing cars. Even they seem to stealthily pass by this place engulfed in darkness… The candle is finally lit after much protestation from the matchstick.
There is a moment’s pause before those familiar hands with their familiar shapes, the sounds of the bangles that I had always known, come with light – fire – man’s first discovery. The hands guard the flame against the sudden breeze that came from nowhere. I can see the blood flowing through the palm against the bright candle light. The tinkling of the bangles, make me sit up straight. It’s an old habit from childhood when I used to stealthily read storybooks during study hours. But those same bangle clad hands become the warm nook wherein I can nestle, guarded from all the dangers of the world.

A Whole New Year!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all...

Have not been able to write much this past one month but I am back again :)
and hopefully can resolve to be more regular.