I’ve been brought up in the very house in which I currently stay, so I had never experienced sentiments of moving to a new house, leaving behind scores of experiences and lovely people or anything like that… Until this April, when my uncle’s family moved to a new house. That’s the closest I’ve come to having that experience and I realize, it left a stronger impression than I would’ve thought.
Practically, I spent almost as much time at my uncle’s place as I did at my own. I’d spend days and weeks together at their place since a very young age; guess I was just in H. Kg when my parents went to Europe for 25 days or so. And as often as possible, my cousin, Abhishek, would also join me. There are so many memories the house holds!
I was reminded of just how much I loved that place when I recently visited one of mom’s aunts who stays close by. They’ve sold the house now, and there is no better comfort than knowing that it is in good hands now too but I didn’t know they were reconstructing it… not the slightest clue so when I revisited that place after 5 months of seeing it last, looking at the broken strong walls of the hall where we always gathered for parties, windows in which I’d sit and read or look out for long time and passage filled with gravel where me and Abhi played countless games, broke my heart. There is a moment of anger too but I realize it’s no longer my house. Dad went in and had a look and even liked the new plan but me and mom could not gather the courage to step in, we chose to stay by the car.
For a long while after I came back I kept thinking of every tiny detail of the house, every seemingly insignificant memory, it’s surprising how much I still remember. Most of my memories are in the company of Abhi, I remember collecting shells in the parking lot, once breaking the nameplate and a show piece while playing in the passage, playing hide and seek and marking our height on the pole of the circular staircase, I was the taller one at 3 ft. until the last time, when Abhi’s blue marking was higher than my red one. I never thought that would happen! Dammit! ;)… I wonder if it’s still there, or have they repainted the staircase? And would they have ever wondered what they were for?…I miss yelling to my friend from the living room window instead of calling her, walking to school with her, going to the mall with her, getting wet in the rains or bursting fire crackers on the terrace, gathering at their place for every little function, complaining about the furniture or the color of the walls, etc…. It’s the festive season I miss the most. As we grew up though, our visits became less frequent and I would prefer staying at home but now I wish I could just spend one more day there…just like it was before.
I have no complaints about the new house, the people are the same, though there many new faces at functions, the house is certainly prettier, bigger and the color of the walls and the furniture is much better but it doesn’t feel the same. No, it isn’t the house I grew up in, I can’t slump in the couch like I used to, it doesn’t know a thing!… sure, they’ve just moved and there’s still more this house has to offer but a part of me is till caught up in the old one… I am reminded of a lesson on similar lines in my textbook last year and the song by Miranda Lambert, those were just words then, but now, each of those words strikes a chord, I can feel everything the writer wanted to express… Even now, often when lying in bed, I see myself entering the gate again (it screeched when you opened it), and walk into the house, go up the circular staircase, into the bedroom, in the kitchen…. Relive all the memories I had… and a tear streams down my eye, there’s nostalgia of course, but with it comes a weird sense of satisfaction too.
And I guess that is why I don’t want to go into the house now…I don’t need to see it in its present state. The way I do now, is just how I would always want to remember it….I don’t need the reality.