Growing up we are often detached from our memories…the memories that constitute our childhood. Just like many people, even I was a notorious kid. My childhood memories mainly comprise of the time that I spent at my grandmother’s place. After my parents had to move abroad in search of new job prospects, they had to leave me with my grandmother. My world revolved around my grandmother. We lived in our ancestral house in a village at Himachal Pradesh. It was me and her, the maid and the butler cum gardener lived in the outhouse situated at the corner of our garden.
For me it was nothing less than heaven. In daytime, my grandmother used to tutor me with basic Mathematics and Sanskrit at home whereas, in the evening we used to visit the only temple in the village. On our way back, we used to feed stray dogs with chapatis. Dinner times used to be my favourite part of the day. With my favourite meal of hot chapatis topped with homemade butter as well as some sugar, grandma used to narrate stories from Panchatantra, fairy tales and other Hindu mythologies. It used to be so captivating. Though, it was nothing too fancy but till date no restaurant could top that experience for me.
Back then power-cuts were a common thing. I used to make the most of it by playing with the neighbour kids. There was Binay & his younger sister Rupa, Binay was my best friend. We used to keep playing until his mother used to come looking for him or till grandma used to send Ramu Kaka to summon me for dinner. I remember how I and Binay used to make plans to steal mangoes from the neighbour’s garden. Once we tried to release all the parakeets caged by the village Post-master in his front courtyard. We were successful but unfortunately Binay was caught. His parents were called by the village head. I and Rupa also joined the meeting so that Binay wouldn’t get punished alone. We all were left with a warning. After the episode, we went to the orchard to eat delicious ripped oranges forgetting the incident.
It was all going well until my Grandma’s health started deteriorating. At the age of 9, after my grandma passed away, my parents came to India to take me back with them. That was the last time I met Binay and Rupa. Like any other naïve 9-year-old I promised to visit them on every summer vacation. However, my parents decided to sell our ancestral house and the last thread of connection was removed.
Recently, after 16 years, I visited my hometown in India. Binay’s parents still live there but now in a much bigger house. I got to know through them that Binay works as a Software Engineer in an MNC at Bengaluru and Rupa is married to a businessman from Bhopal. I went through mixed emotions, at the same time I was happy for both but also was sad that all these years we couldn’t be in touch.