Yesterday I visited my maternal uncle’s house (mamar bari) after close to a decade. My eldest uncle is terminally ill. I was to see him. He is an important figure in my life. I remember learning English words sitting on his lap. He accompanied me when I went to take admission at IIT, Kharagpur. He always encouraged me to pursue higher studies. If I think a bit more, many such sweet memories will surface for sure. Though the scene was somber, I found pieces of my childhood scattered all over the place.
When I was a child, I visited my maternal uncle’s place whenever there were school holidays. Once I even fled there from school. I was then ten years old. I took a bus and rode thirty five kilometers without telling my parents! The main attractions were the aunts (masi) and my grandmother (dida). My aunts are just few years elder than me. They were my play mates. My grandmother used to pamper me a lot. Good foods were a given.
Yesterday I found some of the things still in place while others were gone. The dusty mango tree still stands. The broken pillar, which used to double as a bench, lies there but it’s now covered in moss. The pond is there but only a little muddy water filled it. The cashew nut tree beside the pond still stands but it is left with only a few leaves. The Kul tree and the Jam tree have gone. A new Tulsi temple in another part has replaced the earlier one.
I entered one of the rooms, and remembered that once it was used for Sarswati puja. We had lot of fun that time. I went to the roof and remembered that, once upon a time I took a sunset photo using my analog camera from that place. I looked at the closed door of the garret and remembered that I huddled there with some other children during one of my aunt’s marriage. Almost every object made me reminisce something or the other in a flash back.
I felt good and bad. In fact, it’s very difficult to express my feelings in words. There are some things which probably can only be experienced.