Its raining outside, heavily. It was not, some time before, but since then, it all looked so sad, so gloomy. It’s like that emptiness that had found its way into me around 2 weeks ago when I had left my rental apartment, has not left me yet, and maybe it will show up a couple of times more before I leave my permanent residence and my parents here, and fly to US next month for my studies.
Rain had always brought pleasant emotions in me, or has it? I don’t remember. Just yesterday I went through some emotional situations, though I stayed as composed as I could, but the emotions in play were strong. And yesterday was a clear sunny day.
I tried out my suit which I plan to take to US with me and wear it on occasions which will require that attire. We were on the way to home, another 1 hour ride in the middle of which I had to also get my Sherwani and a couple of clothes for my dad to be taken to our one week trip tomorrow to my native place, Kerala, at my Uncle’s house. That is when dad spotted Pinto uncle, or was it Mom who did the spotting; I don’t remember. Dad parked the car, I got down, waved at Pinto uncle, who had clearly not recognized me; ‘Age takes its toll on the memory and eyes’, I said to myself to explain and make a comfortable sense of the situation. Soon and close enough, he recognized and I embraced him; I had no idea why I did that. I don’t usually go around hugging people, especially when they are very elder to me; I keep my distance, maybe smile, and maybe, if need and situation asks for it, touch their feet. I guided him towards the car where Mom and Dad waited for him, I wondered why they were not getting down. They saw him, and mom laughed in a way which was only some decibels short of a guffaw, though it was not pride, or was it? May be she was in fact the one who spotted him; was the pride for that? Was their pride at all? I don’t remember.
Dad asked him to wait while he parks the car safe. Pinto uncle nodded and kept walking. We got down the car and he was gone. He clearly did not understand what we said. Dad said it is very usual of him and we all agreed on going to his house, which is in the building where we used to live since long before I was born and till just 3 years ago when we shifted to our current residence in Kalyan, a mere 2 hours of drive by car; I don’t know why I said mere, it is not mere, it is far.
So, we went to his place, in the building where we once lived, where we have so many who knows us yet they don’t, and hence I visited only his house, and no other. He was happy to see us, Pinto auntie was there too. The happiness on their faces looked genuine, and when they heard about my plans to go to US for studies that happiness did not take time to squeeze out some tears. Pinto uncle did hide and wiped away the tears, but his voice gave him away. I did not expect this. They both got up, and prayed to the photo of Jesus and Mother Mary for me. We got up too, me and mom with our hands mimicking theirs, and dad with his hands folded; he stood just to show respect to their faith, it is not like he does not have faith in any Gods. He is a die hard fan of the Hindu Gods, he just doesn’t take the other Gods so seriously, nonetheless he stood till their prayer was over. Before leaving, I touched the feet of both of them, not Jesus and Mary, obviously not, the photos were close ups from face to shoulder, no feet to touch. I meant Pinto uncle and Pinto auntie, their feet I touched, and more tears came. I felt overwhelmed.
Before leaving I wanted to see their bedroom once, where once I had learned as a child. Seraphine didi (elder sister), their daughter, used to teach me when I was in school. It felt nice to be there. I could remember where she sat, and where I sat, and where the bed was, and where the books were, where Sindhu, another neighbor cum student of hers sat, and I also remembered didi’s handwriting, and the way she wrote, and how I tried to mimic it.
In sometime, we left for home. On the way we started suggesting each other places to eat, and on the way to one place we all voted yes for, I came close to ‘Shree Gajanan‘ that Vada Pav center in Vishnu Nagar close to Excel Classes where I was a student for about a year. Oh I remember the class, Nitin sir, Usha mam. They both were married, and both were great and enthusiastic teachers. I remember my crush on Usha mam. Mom said there is no Excel classes there anymore, but there was ‘Shree Gajanan‘. We used to have Vada Pavs over there, and when we were short on our budget we used to have Chutney Pav which came for Rs. 2. I used to love their Chutney, and I realized I still do, and I still remembered the taste. I suggested that we can have our lunch here. They did not argue and I went to get three Vada Pavs and a plate of Kanda Bhaji with lots of their Chutney. I looked around in the place, to see myself, a younger me, standing and having Vada Pavs with my friends, discussing that one girl in our class whom we all liked. She had a way of carrying herself at an age when that did not come naturally to many girls, I wondered if she is still that gorgeous, and my thoughts were interrupted by my parcel. I brought the food to the car, where my parents were comfortably waiting for me. We had our lunch and I enjoyed every bite of it.
After some more time we were off to our house.
In about 2 hours we leave for Kerala, to visit the temples and some of our relatives. It is my chance to ask the Gods to come with me to the foreign land and to bid farewell to my relative and share hopes to see them again. The heavy rains have reduced to a drizzle, but the emptiness still remains.
It is these memories I bet, so many of them. Even though I will be back to my house from Kerala in 1 week and I will be back to my house from US in some years, but the memories, the more they fill up, the more this emptiness. I guess that is the equation in play.
I am sure I should be doing something else right now, instead of typing this down. What is it? I don’t remember.