S-87

Last I remember

The house was peach

It was peach

With a black and red mask hanging from the second floor balcony

Whose purpose I never really understood

But it had probably been there before me

Much like the guard hut

With guard bhaiya sitting inside it

Calling me gudiya

Till the day I showed him a gudiya

And told him to stop calling me one

Only he knew what treasures the store room held

The store room that smelt musty

But now I think it was the smell of past

Because we no longer have a store room

And in the process of decluttering, neither enough things to store

Nor the guard bhaiya who was a part of our family

I think he still is

I hope he still is

This house of peach walls

And of marble green staircases

Each time I look at the cut in my right eyebrow

I think of that staircase

I haven’t seen THAT green ANYWHERE else

These scars are bittersweet memories

Of a time when I would go to my dadi’s old room

To soak in what felt like her in smell units that lingered there

It felt like she still lived inside me

Through these secret trips to the empty ground floor

I’ve lost access to that empty ground floor

And the plastic blue swing that hung beside the kitchen

Our house, like our kitchen, was open to everyone

No bells to be rung

And no lock that couldn’t be opened from the outside

We now live in a house all locked up

With no driveway to play ball in

And no strategically located corner to make rangolis in

Memories of diwali mornings when my sister and I used to make rangolis fill every corner of my heart

When I was young

I was always scared that somebody was standing behind the curtain of our living room

But now, in our locked up house

I don’t have that fear anymore

I have a new fear now

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