Homecoming


The station was bare like it always used to be. A septuagenarian stationmaster walked from this corner to the next, while a young moustache sporting hawaldar sat on the benches fanning himself with an old newspaper. The platform was a total of twenty yards long, with one government teashop in the middle and one phone booth at one corner. The other corner had food-dripping plastic plates and bowls scattered all over as a witness to the euphoria generated by the poori-chhole vendor who stopped there every morning on his way to the nearby temple which was his day-long stop. The old tin board with jagged corners said Teespur in a dull faded color of paint.

Soham descended from his train slowly. This was familiar territory. He had been watching it for the past nineteen years with an anxious breath each time. Anxious because he anticipated change every time which did not come, leaving him with further anxiety for his next visit.

He picked up his luggage and started walking towards the iron door of the railway station. There under the grand mango tree stood Lakshman, the sole auto-rickshaw owner of the village bearing the few remaining teeth in his mouth. Upon seeing Soham, he ran to take his luggage, but Soham insisted on carrying it himself this time. They sat down in the rickshaw and started their long and slow journey, to the other end of the village, and to the other end of time.

The journey to his grandparents’ house was a total of thirty-five minutes but it always felt like an era to Soham. The dirty children playing around the trees, the little weak men toiling in the fields, the ornamented women doing petty work here and there covered from head to tow. He always wondered how these women saw what they were doing with a big cloth covering more than half their face.

He knew it would come and it came like expected. A certain kind of heaviness started swelling up inside his heart before he had even spent fifteen minutes in Teespur. It happened with such an uninterrupted steadiness each time he stepped in the village, that Soham took it for granted. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the figures, the faces, everything about Teespur took him to another world. A world, which he was not familiar with, back in his cozy apartment, his swanky office and his luxurious car.

Back in his city complete with wide lanes, huge shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants, Soham did not know that life existed in this form also. Either he did not know or he chose to not remember was something that he still wasn’t sure about. But one thing he was sure about was that every year he came back to this remote piece of the world called Teespur and the reasons were completely unknown to him. He could have forced his grandparent to shift in with him in his apartment, or take another one close to his own. They were extremely well off and owned quite a fortune in Teespur and the adjoining villages. He very well knew that though they were hell bent on spending their entire lives in Teespur, they would have relented to Soham’s wishes. He was the only thing they cared about in the whole world after his parents died in a road accident five years back.

Lakshman parked his rickshaw in front of the Banyan tree and bared those two teeth in his mouth again. Soham knew they had reached the sprawling farmhouse of his grandparents. He looked around and smiled satisfactorily. All seemed well. Meanwhile Lakshman had very energetically taken his luggage to his room and called the couple outside. For an old man of sixty, he had still a lot of alacrity in his fragile body.

Tears were rolling endlessly from amma’s eyes when she hugged him. Dada patiently waited for his turn. When he was done, amma insisted on hugging Soham again. Lakshman stood there laughing.

In the evening a table was set out in the garden and all the delicacies of his grandmother were prepared and laid out for him. All four sat there eating, talking and laughing. Soham looked up at the sky. The clarity amazed him. He felt he could almost see the heaven above with bare eyes. He looked at everything around him. He knew he loved each and every inch of substance around him. The dizziness inside his head had started subsiding and he already felt a little better. He looked at the happy faces of the three elderly people around him. I can’t yet come. I will, one day. But not yet.

Comments

Unknown!!! said…
Hi, am so happy you still remember me :)
I am in riyadh now again :( (hey am not a terrorist:D), coming back to india this month end permanently.

Wish you happy new year :) and keep posting. You write really well, I like all your posts :)
hatsoff to your creativity. Keep it up :)
arvindiyer said…
Heyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! Great to see you again in my world. A very Happy New Year to you too.. hope you get everything that you want this year.

Interesting read as always.
der Bergwind said…
HI...

thanks for the fleeting glance n the generous comment :)
i always start off writing a story n then get lost in all the things i wanna say.. they grow too long n too heavy for anyone to assimilate.. n here i saw how its really done.. subtle yet detailed... lots of images generated n a nice lil story... aint a judge but loved this one..
Jay said…
Hey!

That was a surprise .... [:)]. I am good .. how are you?
Canary said…
@unknown
Terrorist!! I never said that! this is fishy? :P

@arvind
Welcome to you too! :)

@der bergwind
Thats a generous comment again! *bows and thanks*

@jay
me gud me gud! :)
Thinking aloud said…
hey..that was a good read...its been some time...:)
Endevourme said…
“The monk who sold his Ferrari”, quite a piece of junk, if you ask me. Misuse of the Indian brand to sell some boring philosophy. Seems to be the ‘in’ thing to do.
hehe luved that one, i too feel the same :D
i think i like 'fountainhead' havent read 'atlas' tho..but dont u think its too black and white?
anyways...sorry fr the biggg coment..
Canary said…
@thinking
oh yes, long time! thanks for dropping by again.. :)

@endevourme
Thanks for dropping by my blog :)
I've read Atlas and Fountainhead, loved both for their treatment, but how come you have posted comments for one of my older posts here? :|
Cynthia said…
I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Abhinav said…
Awesome words ... thanks for dropping by :) will update there soon
manuscrypts said…
we keep postponing that decision, dont we? sometimes, by the time we are ready, there's nothing to go back to...
nice to see you back... :)
Still Searching said…
Familiar story for all those who have left "home" and moved to different cities to pursue their dreams... Very nicely captured!
Canary said…
@cynthia
Thanks a ton!

@abhinav
thanks for dropping by you too :)

@manuscrypts
very well said, nothingto go back to... :)

@still searching
thanks again :P
boogers said…
another enjoyable read. oh,,and a belated happy new year :)
Sophie said…
thanks a lot for coming to my space...and a very nice read here..will sure come back for more
Mallesh said…
sorry but this is mundane... as in, the imagery is one everyone knows, so your language should be special to keep one hooked... this is what makes RK Narayan a stalwart in writing with a village background...
frissko said…
Vivid piece...Nice...and was reminded of 'Train stops at shamli' (a Ruskin Bond short story, no connection really, except that there's a station there too) and an Airtel ad where a guy visits his grand parents..
Canary said…
@boogers
Thanks bud!

@sophie
look forward :)

@mallesh
any feedback is very welcome! thanks :)

@frissko
actually i think the Ruskin Bond story was at the back of my mind when i was writing this too!
Ashish Gupta said…
Oooh! all sentimental and philosophical! Kya baat hai, just a story or your mood too?! :-)
Jyoti said…
nice story!!! i enjoyed reading that..Keep writting.
Trevor Penn said…
Quite a narration. I liked it. I especially liked the climax.
satishds said…
that's a wonderfully written story. Thoroughly enjoyed it
Lash said…
Most of the times, we tend to deliberately forget our past and the plcaes associated with it. Sometimes it's your greed, sometimes it's your plain wish to embrace 'change', sometimes it's your sheer inability to afford the consequence of remembering them..

I wonder what had propmted this guy to cut himself away from his village and folks.. But the place would always beckon you, because that's where your past resides.. isn't it?
backpakker said…
very evocative..i would have willingly left my life in the city if I can help it..thanks for dropping by at backpakker and for your comments there
Trevor Penn said…
Whoa!!! You'd dropped many li'l canary comments on your flying visits to my blog in the past. I'm surprised you forgot about 'em.
Canary said…
@ashish
sentimenal eh? :|

@jyoti
thanks :)

@trevor
I thought the conclusion was a little incomplete, glad you liked it...

@satish
Am glad u did...

@lash
I am not sure if the past always beckons, but yes, i do believe it is a part of you and defines you, you like it or not..

@backpakker
welcome here!

@trevor
Then, have you changed your name, I might have forgotten it, coz Im coming back to my blog after such long intervals these days :(

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