Saturday, 25 February 2017

Homecoming

When you spend all the summer vacations of your life in Himachal, staying away from the hills for more than two years changes a lot of thing (and change happens faster in a state of bereftness). So when the train rushed past a blur of familiar houses I couldn’t help but notice that Scorpios and i10s had replaced Maruti 800s outside the houses that were now lined with fences; perhaps the fear of deceit has shadowed the na├»ve town life too. Bungalows can now be spotted in midst of fields. Shops are lined together in semi-cut hills. But these developments couldn’t alter the known but obliterated calm that embraced me the moment I set foot in the land of Gods. Men draped in shawls over their kurtas, women with the same redness on their cheeks and the familiar joy of homecoming. I had grown so accustomed to Nana ji waiting for us at the railway station and Nani welcoming us at home with tea, I almost forgot that in the years that I grew young, they had grown old too. Coping with the disappointment at his absence I drew my head outside the auto window; in insane admiration of just normal people doing mere routine stuff. When my mother had asked the driver to pull down the binds he replied in my favorite pahaadi accent that it’s not so cold at this hour in the morning. 15 mins later he, in his zipper, was very coolly humming a song I didn’t understand while I sat shivering despite my three layers of clothing. Once back home, I spent my three days’ stay without internet and in the company of people I had forgotten how much I loved. The takeaway was more than just memories and peace of mind; rather it lies in the realization that we all still have hope to de-cluster, that there are people whose lives are not so complex and that family means not only blood but brotherhood. Utopia exists, after all. 

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