Childhood memories are always special. It is the birthright of every child to have a happy childhood. Unfortunately its not always true for all kids. I am one of those lucky few who had a happy childhood. I feel really blessed to have experienced this. One of the most important part of any ones childhood memory is their house. The four walls, the floor and roof, doors and windows, is what forms a major chunk of the memories. Every nook and corner, every stair, every wall has a story to tell.It is a different feeling to visit your childhood house long after you stop inhabiting it. Most married girls will agree with me considering the fact that society rules ask the female in the relationship to settle in the male’s house. I had completely absorbed my maiden home before leaving it because I knew its not going to be around always. My parents had put it up for sale. Those last few minutes, just before we were leaving for bombay, for my marriage, still give me goosebumps.
I lived in a joint family in a very cosy house. I still remember the feel of the grass under my bare feet, my hair swaying in rhythm with the swaying of the swing, the badam tree, the mulberry tree, that left red stains on the parking floor when riped Badam and mulberries fell off it, the small servant cottage where I thought of building my doll house, the kitchen garden that saw many failed attempts to grow vegetables, the huge terrace where we slept under the stars in hot Summers, the kitchen where my mom cooked the most amazing delicacies for our never satisfying appetite, The drawing room and the single cane sofa right next to the tv, where we all 4 cousins fought to sit, especially to watch Jungle book and Hum Paanch, the spiral ladder which made me feel like a princess when I walked up and down on it, i can go on and on with this. But like i said, i knrw i cant hold on to it forever. When the deal came through after about 2 years of my marriage, I didn’t get the chance to say the final goodbye to it.
One day, when I was visiting my parents, they came to pick me from the station. I was sitting in the back seat, eager to see the new place bought by them. As much as I wanted to be happy for them, I was very affected when they didn’t take the obvious right turn to my old home and instead went straight ahead. The road thereon, seemed alien, unknown, strange, not my own, unlike the one I had traversed for 22 years and which was familiar. Its been 15 years since I made that right turn again. But it still feels the obvious thing to do. I did pass the house a couple of times when I visited a childhood friend who lived next door. The lane, the trees, the garden, everything seemed familiar but the house was not. The new owners have completely changed the look of the house. I used to think of showing it to my kids someday so that they know where their mom grew up but with so many changes on the exterior, I never felt the urge to enter the house. Perhaps, it would alter my vision of how I remember it. And I don’t want anything to change the way I look at my childhood house. I am happy with the blurry images that fog my mind when I think of stories which were woven in that house.
Why am I suddenly talking about my childhood house which I haven’t visited for the past 15 years? The reason is my uncle, my fathers younger brother, Mr. Narendra Bagaria, fondly called Don Chacha, with whose family we shared this beautiful house. He has recreated a model of this home of ours, in 3D, with the exact precision as it was when we lived there. Every detail has been taken care of, every door, window, staircase, everything is just how I remember it. When my cousin shared the pic of the model after it was complete, I had tears in my eyes. I could see myself in every corner of the house with my cousins. All my memories became fresh, as if life is giving me snap shots of my past memories, just like Facebook does.
Does my house miss me as much as I miss it?? Has it embraced its new owners?? I am sure it has, with the same love and warmth, as it had embraced us. There is something special about homes. They are accepting of all its residents, provided they look after it with affection, passion and child-like enthusiasm, just like our new homes accepted us when we all moved on in our lives and went our separate ways.
Thank you chachaji, for creating this masterpiece. I can now show my kids my childhood abode and relive my happy past without disturbing my perception of how I see it.