Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Frozen

Traveling to India for the New Years was a last minute, great-tickets-on-travelocity-so-probably-a-good-idea type decision. I had over 2 weeks in holidays so instead of getting drunk and sleeping through new years without G, I decided to be on a plane for 19 hours (wow, much better) with mom (i.e. can’t drink or flirt on the plane). Although she let me flirt, she promised to report all such incidents to interested parties.
Flew over to Baroda. ‘Nothing’ has changed- 5 years. But I some how felt like I was in a Hindi movie or in some Indian advertisement as I walked in through the big grilled front entrance. In the midst of all of that hadn’t changed-my house seemed wounded and worn. In some desperate attempt to stay the same, the marbled floors shone from underneath the layers of dust and dirt.. Paint held on to the walls and the rooms smelled of all the rains, winters and summers they had weathered with no one to shelter.
Our House- Thakuma’s House-where she lived for over 25 years-Fed the birds, chanted hymns, bathed me, told me stories, read me poems, waited for us (her son, my mother and me) to come visit, and died. Baba’s House-that he fought to buy and took a large debt for, brought his newly wed bride and eventually, became a yearly guest to. Ma’s house-possibly her’s much more than ours - It stood there as if a testament to all her pains to build the house without Baba around, her Pujos, her sacrifices for us and the family, and her copious tears when I left for Grad School.
My house- where I went to school since I was 9, studied long nights for my exams, rejoiced at the end of it, partied with my friends, fought with Ma to get cable TV, got introduced to Star TV, ate numerous Chinese dinners from Hot Stuff, attended my valedictory function in High School, applied for and finished Engineering school, applied for grad school, and left. Putul’s House-where she came as a shy, scared frail young girl of 15, became a part of all of us and left as an older, married woman of 27. Thakuma died, I moved to New York, Ma, Baba and Bhai moved to Toronto- the house got left behind, and stood still exactly where we had left it.
Not a complaint on its lips, not a sore we could see.

And yet, as we all moved on, our house hung on- to our disappointments, our victories, our joys, our tears and our neighbors. Its all there-frozen.