There have been disturbing talks. Talks of demolishing the house I grew up in; and cherished. Of demolishing it and rebuilding it. I understand that it is a necessity. That it has reached its maturation date. And that it will soon cross its expiry date too. And then it will be almost impossible to live in. It is about 60 years old already!
And, of course there are many more people who have been living/ have lived there longer than I have. Like my father and uncle. Though they didn’t grow up there, they visited it in the summers, it was their grandparents’ retirement retreat. Which eventually became their sons’ too. And since then it has been a home to my father and his brother.
Today, my grandparents are the only ones who can properly call it home. Everyone has moved out, my father shifted out with his family when it became quite evident that the place couldn’t really house the entire family. And then my uncle moved to another city when he found a better opportunity there. In a way my grandparents have been the only permanency there. And now, the house is to be rebuilt; not just renovated. And I understand that it needs to be done.
But, I spent about fourteen years of my life there. Almost my entire childhood, including my early teens. And now its going to be rebuilt. But after rebuilding it will the garden around the house still be the same? The spaces I remember so well, and cherish as my moat wonderful memorie, will they cease to exist altogether? And I’m someone who can’t let go of things easily. It is a Herculean task for me to discard my old and worn out clothes. I can’t even let go of my completely dry sketch pens! And I’m supposed to see mi childhood memories crumble to dust? But I don’t resent it. All old things must end for something new. I understand that it needs to be done.
The time I spent in those gardens (which were like paradise to me) must live on only in my head; in my memories. Just as the marvellous, short-lived sandpit, built on the patch which just wouldn’t grow any lawn. Exactly like the many other spots I remember for silly little things – like the place we used to play dodge ball and langdi; the place where my brother used to make the diwali killa . I still remember when the place was full of life and light, magnificently lit during diwali. I can still remember all the nooks and corners where we placed diyas during the much awaited festival of lights; making sure that no are was left dark. I remember the window sill I fell from (resulting in the removal of my toenail!). I remember the place my brother used to entertain us with his dances, pretending to be the actors of those films; and all those rooms I’ve slept in. I still carry flashes and images from when I was very young and used to roam the house after everyone was asleep! How mu brother and I used to play hide and seek in and outside the house. The loft which has over time housed numerous trinkets. The things which we hadn’t used in many years, and probably wouldn’t be using in the future too. All these instances only get reinforced every time I see the place!
Overall, it was a wonderful place, that house; theoretically, still is. A palace for a very small girl, a haven where everything was alright for a girl just beginning to understand, a retreat for teenage girl from all the tumult around her, and until very recently, a fixed point in life which will continue to be upto eternity.
It was not a beautiful bungalow, but I still loved it. It has only made my belief stronger that something doesn’t have to be beautiful to be special; to be cherished and loved. And now it has to be rebuilt. Of course, I understand why; in some way I even look forward to it! Maybe to create new memories, and cherish the old ones as they are, without tainting them.
The house that I grew up in is to be demolished and rebuilt; and I’m excited about it!