Returning hometown, especially to an Indian home, has its own advantages – you get stuffed to the neck with delicious, homecooked food; bed feels warmer with your old blanket, and sleep is peaceful after the ‘champi’ (head-massage) by your mom; the nature smells divine as the pollution is nowhere to find; and friends that are always ready to play cricket with you.
The wi-fi is slow, and memories are fast – crawling, jumping, running on the roads that are devoid of traffic, entering your heart that is devoid of city-lights and day-to-day-fights for survival as well.
And then, once you have soaked all the joy in, and your family is busy in taking an afternoon nap (that is a sacrifice you’ve to make today) – you walk towards your old almirah, just to find yourself in front of that ‘box’.
The box of memories – reminiscent of what used to be your life.
Make no mistake – this is not any ordinary box – this is a living, breathing animal in itself. It is a flask with the elixir or life – each droplet containing an emotion – endless joys and hardest goodbyes; smiles so wide they squeeze pears out of your eyes; a string of lives you lived and touched.
Ohh, the variance is so high – such an irregular, diverse set of pebbles.
A photo of your first set of friends in college laughs awkwardly with their goodbye notes.
An I-card from your PG is looking curiously and sternly at a photo of a 10 year-old kid playing cricket – refusing to believe that it is looking at its own reflection in the mirror.
A letter you wrote to your loved one but never posted – well, it is still not your biggest regret, tells a bluish bookmark wryly, as it has divorced its connections with books and rather marks a time, a phase, a memory in your life instead!
Yeah, such a random collection – just like a piece of stone you picked up on every road your travelled on random – but guided by an ‘invisible hand’ of destiny – as this irregular set is the best collage you’ve ever seen.
It’s 4PM – the tune of the town is returning to its chorus – it is about the time. Your deep sigh is an ode to the inexplicable set of emotions on your face, your hands guiding those memories a way home with abundant admiration.
You pack your life and return to the normalcy with a sense of contentment and a smile that is forced and genuine at the same instance.
With a fuel of purpose, you start walking on your road to collect some more stones and pebble on the way – the ones that will become jewels of this collection someday.
The collection, the box called ‘story of my life!’