Folding the strands of age in a bun, my wrinkled lips curled up at the very sight of ’Pronoti’. Unlike me she was huge, staring at me with open arms as she stood high at the banks of the little lake, which had been shackled by weeds. My feet were swift to embrace her, but my arms got entangled in the cobwebs woven by time. The stubborn dust had settled there as the sole owner. As I brushed it off, the mark of the teacup smirked at me. Maybe Dadun used to keep the cup at the same place for a reason.
My backpack fell near my feet as I entered the courtyard. My eyes ogled the little foot mark on the cemented floor near the hand pump. A flashback of a newly constructed cement floor and a little girl ran over it. The house echoed with the roars of the Royal Bengal tiger alias my Dadun. A mason was called for mending the same when I heard my Dadun say, “Leave it, maybe someday it will bring her back.”
The nostalgia mingled with the pungent smell of the dust choked me. Putting myself together I moved towards the room, the teakwood bed still looked the same, where thousands of stories were weaved by Didun. Flooded with memories, I took the weight off my feet, a soft breeze caressed my cheeks and my closed eyes felt the same soft touch. How hard she toiled the whole day, but her motherly touch was divine. Autumn knocked at the window and amidst the withered orchard, I could see the ancient Mango grove coasting the other side of the lake. The flickering lantern which had always attracted me like a moth, had made an impression on the wall.
“Screeeeeeeech,” the chair screamed as I asked it to move. The adamant drawers of the Mahogany Table acceded to request after a lot of push and pull. “Pandora’s Box” a little wooden box was in slumber. Chocolate covers, dried leaves, shells, marbles, eucalyptus tree caps, popsicle sticks, what kind of collections was this, I jiggled my cranium, a letter fell off, it read,
I don’t know whether you will read this letter ever, these are not objects but treasured moments of our togetherness.”
A thousand memories floated clearly in front of my blurred eyes.
As I took charge, the little sparrows started to make their presence known by sharing my nest. The dead and mourned Tulsi in the courtyard was finally welcoming a nascent leaf. A sudden deluge of gratitude enveloped my heart in that moment -towards the ruinous Pandemic. For, hadn’t it been there then a COVID survivor, ostracised by so-called civilized society, would not have headed towards her natal home in a distant village only to finally be united with her Hiraeth.
Rocking my torso on Mahogany, hugging my piping hot brew, I turned the letter,
When I am old, I will sit in a rocking chair, wear glasses, read books, write, cook and stay in the village.
Dadun: Maternal Grandfather
Didun: Maternal Grandmother
Didibhai: Means Elder sister, here it’s the granddaughter addressed with love.
Tulsi: Type of Basil plant, auspicious and worshipped in Hindu Religion
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