You know how it is visiting home after a while? It is truly like revisiting a part of yourself. After what seems like ages, mom, dad, my sister, and I are back together to live the feeling of what it is to share our lives under one roof. Vani is on vacation, I am on one too, mom is no longer the busy teacher running to school, and dad is still the man who runs the show. When did we last hear of this? ‘Way too long’ back!
At a time when responsibilities of a different order, ones confronting a married woman is all that you have witnessed for a while, you actually wonder how it felt to remain irresponsible. And that precisely is the feeling I have come to experience again, during this break, the sense of parental pampering, a rare comfort of ‘there is someone to mind it all’. You don’t worry about what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it is all piled in copious amounts on a the ‘stainless steel plate’ that exclusively belonged to you ever since you came into this world. And what luxury - do you have to remind mom about what would tickle your taste buds? Come on!
We have spoken all sorts of stories, ones buried deep inside our souls, waiting to be reborn, in the words of our retelling and our acts of hearing them out all over again. Tales like how I gave my sister the name she has come to bear today, how she used to be this little brat who wanted everything that her sister had and at one point of time trembled with jealousy over all the attention that the elder one received when she had set off for graduation.
With mom this time, it has been a run through of her patented ‘arranged marriage’ philosophy, as we laughed over all that appeared ‘once serious’ and now ‘outrageously funny’. All the same, it is also the time that she has chosen to send out those signals to my sister about ‘minding the step’. This time, it is my turn to grin from ear to ear!! With dad, the discussion as always has proceeded on a different platform – books, music, investments, the irony of how we so easily complicate our lives, as well as a rather formal talk on how the married life went on. And you know how it is with sisters, you don’t need solid stuff to speak and can get away with all sorts of nonsense!
The most fascinating part of it all is how everything fell into place, the emotions, the long-established signals of communication and the unchanged meaning of silence. And then there are these other things – dad’s driver who taught us Gujarati, and this wonderful little angel who is all but three, living in the same building. She has the most beautiful and adorable pair of eyes that I have seen in a long time. She speaks Gujju, and I speak everything else other than that and she still is so much fun to hang around with!
In between all this I miss him and wonder how he is taking care of himself, starting from what he is eating. Despite all those petty fights and admonitions (fond though they are) we throw at each other over the phone, I deeply wish he were here. I wish I can hold his hand and lean on his shoulder and whisper softly how I miss him.
And yet, I revisit carelessness every night, as I lie curled in my mom’s lap. After all, it is a means to satisfy that burning desire to be a child once again, especially when your little one is already telling you through her soft kicks that it’s time for this woman in her mom’s lap to change roles, very soon.