You know how it is when suddenly a memory, or a series of memories hit us most unexpectedly, right? That’s what happened a few days ago.
On a whim, and because the morning was awesomely chilly, I decided to accompany Vidur to school, just to enjoy the sights en route. I did, too. As he walked off, I noticed the Hanuman Temple all decked up. Hanuman Jayanthi, I think. They had a dais in front, presumably to distribute the prasadam. And just to see what they’re up to, I’ll go back in the afternoon.
As I walked back to the bus stop I saw how the leaves had changed color for the winter. Some of the branches of the trees on the way were bare, yet they shone in the sunlight, as if telling their old friend, they’re taking time off before bearing fresh leaves…but had now decided to just enjoy the warm of the winter sun.
The little tank at the traffic police station which had those gorgeous blue water lilies was dry and empty. The buttercups that bloomed on the creeper wrapping the tree in the yard had disappeared. But the nest in the tall tree where the kite lives was intact.
Smiling, I continued to walk to the bus stop, taking care not to trip over all the buttercups strewn in my path. After all, I am training for the Olympics for the obstacle race, right? Yes, yes!
I met my usual friend at the bus stop, who was watching me approach her with a big grin on her face. She looked especially nice in a red sari and flowers in her hair, turmeric streaks along her jawline, a large red “bindi’ on her forehead. It was Friday, no? Om Shakti.
After we chatted for a while, a bus trundled along and we got in. I got off at our stop…and that is when the memories hit me, with the cool breeze. My mind went back to a May in 1999 when you returned from Chennai after a funeral. We had all gone together. Vidur and I had returned in two days as we had to receive our stuff from Mumbai, while you had stayed on to return after two weeks. Do you remember how stunned you were to get off the train and feel the chill, in May of all months? You were so thrilled to be wrapped in a warm shawl after the smelly sweating in Chennai!
We came home in an auto and Vidur was so delighted to have you back. Then we cozily settled down for coffee and breakfast. You wanted to bathe as soon as you could to wash off the “Chennai-ness” and enjoy the happy warmth of being back home. I had already planned a lunch of nimbu rasam – Vidur was such a fan of “juice mummum” those days! And potato curry, just the way you loved it. Oh, what a lovely day it was.
After a lazy afternoon, we went out for a walk in the evening. I lost count of the number of times you echoed my feelings of being back home. When we finally snuggled into bed that night for story time before we went to sleep, the feeling of happiness was indescribable.
Sigh. Now my heart contracts to think that your physical presence is gone forever.