Just One More Day !
My Dear Reha,
Life moves on.
Now there is no looking back. It has been almost ten years, a month more than that – the substantial part of our life, was spent by us in G 307, Surya Vihar. And you were a part of it. As I gear up to move to what would perhaps be the last destination of my life, there is some strange mysterious force that keeps pulling me back.
Morning tea on bed , evening soup , ‘aloo ka parotha’ on Sundays, Bunty’s favourite halwa, anytime interaction, even at midnight, with neighbours, frequent visits of friends and relatives, fetching them from the airport, dropping them at the railway station. – everything was associated with, and totally dependent on, your Meethi Ma . With Her, everything is gone……
Now, there is no chirping of your Meethi Ma in the morning, anymore. I go to bed whenever I want, and ‘if ‘ I want, as if I am the king. If I keep my eyes open staring at the ceiling fan till wee hours, there is no one to stop me. The poor window of our room feels orphaned, it is where it was, unopened and hazy, there is no one to look through it, into the sky beyond the horizon of the setting sun. The curtains remain where they are , for days together, unruffled, dusty and silent, all mornings and nights are just the same for them. There is no wake up call in the morning, for me to get up, to get ready after bath, and prepare a hot cup of bed tea , a task I had been religiously performing for the last so many years. Morning means 5 a.m. , a must-shower before that, the strict regime of morning shower had become my integral routine unknowingly, I know not since when, MY routine Reha, YOUR DAD’s …….who had never got up before 8.30 a.m. in Jaipur or Chandigarh, yes, you would always make fun of me, in connivance with your Meethi Ma whenever I missed my bath. This is how your Meethi Ma changed my lifestyle without my being aware of it.
In fact two small things, I found, had become the part of our life…one, morning tea – the only time when we were relaxed before the day’s hard work and the other , evening soup- the only time we wanted to relax after the day’s hard work. Your Meethi Ma would take milk with ‘Ensure’ , glucose Tiger Biscuit, Munnakka, Fig and I would take tea and Rusk in the morning.
And in the evening, soup , in all probability, it would be tomato soup with bread crumbs.
Today, everything seems lethargic and listless. Today, there is no charm left in this house. There is no knocking of the door in the evening now, no Jappu comes to carry the handbag and lunch box of your Meethi Ma……..no waiting for me…and the irony is. ..life just moves on…….
As I empty Her room, I feel like running away to a very distant place. Only last season, me and your Meethi Ma packed the winter clothing in the box bed beneath us, Her silk sarees, blouses and shawls. She was telling me that she would wear more suits than sarees and sarees, she would give to you. Only last season, we safely kept Her woollensocks, Her different shades of caps, Her favourite blanket in the suitcase. Only last season, we took out Her summer stuff , you know she looked so pretty in Her cotton blue saree. Here and there I get Her small remarks, this is for …….this is for…..this is locker key, this money is for Temple, laundry bill is paid, submit medical bill….
The squirrel still comes, moves around , makes some sound, climbs the window to look for your Meethi Ma and goes back. Pigeons still make their nest on the air conditioner but they don’t make noise during night thinking that your Meethi Maa is asleep. The school in front of our house is still full of children…….that your Meethi Ma was so fond of….
There is Her signature on everything that is here in this house. There is Her presence in everything that is a part of this house. Be it a wall, roof or ceiling. Be it a door or a window. Be it the morning fragrance of the air or foul smell of the debris in front.
And you want me to leave this place. The Bank does not understand. You don’t understand……..Nobody understands……..
Just One More Day…….