Memories …..Flick like pages of that big fat Fairy Tales book where all fantasies of a child comes true. That was the starting point of rainbow which grew more bright and colorful in the process of its journey. It was perfect and life seemed absolutely cool and in order.
It was a huge place with high ceiling and numerous rooms where four of us grew from cry babies to wildest kids. Being the eldest I had my own den where two single beds were put to accommodate me and my sister. But I never remember a day when we slept there. After hearing all the ghost stories from our grandma we never felt courageous enough to sleep there alone. So it was in the huge room where grandma slept on a bed and four of us on one Diwan.
The youngest was the ugly duckling who wore specs on her boy cut hair style, which was shabby because mom was particular about a girlish style and she was a hardcore tom boy who never allowed to grow her hair; result was oily, spiky and a weird hairdo. She hardly used to see through her glasses because those never used to stay at proper place instead she peeped above them and smiled a toothless grin and looked horrible in her shirts and shorts. (I hope she will not read this Varna meri khair nahi)Her best was when she was in nursery. Once she came from school all excited with that silly grin and opened her box. (It was not a bag but a aluminum box those days) throwing her single notebook and book which looked damp and little orangish: she was in utter shock. With a howl she shouted “someone has taken my ice-creammmmmmmmmmmm, chor chorrrrrrrrrr’
We were surprised ice cream in the bag?
‘Yes, she said sadly, she wanted to have that orange bar at home and now was shocked to found only the stick there!!!!
Number two was called 007 because she used to transit all the latest news items, gossip and complaints of each other on dinning table with such innocence that no one ever believed that her master brain was behind all the devilish deeds. She was the fastest cycle peddler, who would cycle for hours in her ‘Kenchi’ style because her height did not permit her to ride that properly. She was the fastest tree climber too who could gather heaps of ‘Katare’ from two huge trees on the premises. There was always salt and chilly powder with raw tamarind under her frock belt and god knows how she managed to eat that while riding a bicycle! She was the quietest attacker who was master in shouting the most, without even getting hurt in the battle of four soldiers. She played Sitar and Tabla beautifully and always thought herself as the star of the family, which we never acknowledged then simply because we were jealous!
Number three was an attacker, who never got any advantage of being the only boy in the family. Rough and tough! Once he came silently and stood in front of mom who was working on sewing machine. After standing there for few minutes when he did not get any attention he declared “Mom please don’t look at me, I am a little hurt but don’t shout at me.’ Hearing this when mom looked at him; she fainted. He was bleeding profusely. We called dad and he was taken to hospital and got five stitches on his forehead! He had a weird habit; whatever he got to eat he used to hide that and when we all finished our share he used to take that out and eat with a mean smile. I must confess that we really used to look at him like hungry dogs! This toughfy was a scene whenever mom went to anywhere for night; he always held her saree close by and cried silently! His best was wearing a Duppata as skirt in Zeenat Aman style and dancing on the tunes of ‘Bhoar Bhaiye Panghat Pe Mohe Natkhat Shyam Sataye"!
Once Agra was flooded badly and our building was on the banks of river Jumuna. It was like an adventure for few days. We were staying on the first floor and factory was on the ground floor. Being a carpet factory hundreds of looms were there. When slowly water started rising up dad panicked but nothing could be done as whole of the looms were under water. There was no sign of ground or road. Everywhere was water. Mom and dad were in grave tension but being the head of the company he could not leave the premises. One fine morning when situation became dangerously grave army was called for rescue. They insisted to vacate the building as it was not safe. We climbed through the balcony and taken to dry areas in army boats. We saw a boat capturing nearby but mom hugged us closely while chanting Hanuman Chalisa and we were watching people crying, shouting everywhere. We were small and could not realize the gravity of situation but mom was sick for days and she had an acute phobia of water for many days!
My school was nearby and whenever a rainy day was declared whole gang of girls used to come to my house and we were treated with hot Pakoras and Chai. Dancing on the tunes of Boney M and ABBA in the huge drawing room under the chandelier we lived many great moments of our life.
Every moment of that sweet and sour journey was etched on the memory and it always used to stir something inside, making me nostalgic. When after many years my sister came to visit Delhi we planned to visit Agra too. She had some work in the university and we decide to visit our school and old home too. Being a vacation time there was no one there but a kind watchman let us in. It was going back to a moment where we enjoyed most and had the greatest fun plus the education. Strangely the school building looked so small, maybe sprawling schools of our kids broadened our vision? Or when we were small everything looked so huge and big? Touching the school bell, going to the classes were we spend many years was like living a dream. With heavy heart and moist eyes we promised that we will visit it again with our kids someday.
Most amazing experience was going back to the house where our childhood was lurking from every nook and corner. The proud building was almost on the verge of falling. Huge gate was closed and a watchman was sitting there like old times. He was surprised to see the visitors but opened the gate for us. When we told him that we resided there long back he generously offered to escort us to the ruins to ward off the monkeys who had made it their residence now. Walking on the ruins was like walking on the dead dreams. The house which was bursting with energy and laughter was quite and an eerie silence was everywhere. Most of the parts were destroyed and the pungent smell was repulsive. With so much pain and disturbance we kept on moving to every room. It looked haunted and gloomy. We stood there silently with so much of sadness to see that destruction. Watchman told us that a builder is starting work here and huge residential flats were coming up soon. Maybe after few years this place again comeback to life.
It was a lesson that, never go back to the time where you spent the most cherished moments of life. Nothing stays or stops; life is the name of flow and only that moment is true which you lived. The end of the rainbow held no magic, only magic is in what you lived in that moment.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
So for me ‘’ I’d rather have a moment of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
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