It had finally arrived, the day that he would lock up the house once and for all. True, he had moved out five years back but it was still operational and he always found himself popping in and out from time to time.
His nostalgia started almost instantaneously. The familiar creek of the grill gate before he could reach the door. He could picture a younger version of him sneaking in during midnight, after spending endless hours talking with his childhood friends…There was this one night back in 2005, when he smuggled Rajath and Shankar in to watch Champions league football… Then those nights when he would call Hiresh & Prasad and sometimes, Sid and head to “Midnight Masala” for second dinner. He felt happy they were still in touch after so many years.
As he pushed the door open, he faced the wall to the right and imagined 3 large suitcases. There was an image of his brother smiling at him. His excitement palpable, coupled with a hint of nervousness, for he was off to US of A and a new life. When was this, 2003?
To the left of this wall would be the dining table, and before that sprang the image of an eclectic mix of people.. There was his uncle, and his uncle’s cousin, his friend Kiran from college, Hiresh, Prasad, Nishanth, Ajit and Ajay… All of them going through a frenzy of emotions, watching a young team India led by some new kid called Dhoni winning the first ever T20 world cup… Nothing unites Indians as cricket does. Which year was it?
As his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw the hall where he had spent countless (after) hours before the TV. He would not miss SS music at 11PM back in those formative days..
Then came the balcony.. There he was, speaking through a cordless phone with his girl.. Little did he imagine they would be married eight years later, but looking at that happy kid reassured him that life had turned out the right way… She was always one of his first contacts when dial up happened and he could use Yahoo! Messenger.. when he got his first second hand motorola.. and his first second hand Nokia 1100.. and his first Sony, Samsung and now Nexus… As he went to close the door, he thought he saw the kid give him a wink!
He hardly spent time in the kitchen, but his eyes automatically moved towards the shelf where the money was kept. He was a good kid, but there were instances where he had indulged in taking an extra twenty.
The bedroom was his haven… No matter how hard life had been or how distracted he felt, he had this one place where he could get back and collect his thoughts. Even years after leaving the house, he always imagined himself in the room, with the air-conditioner and fan to provide the rhythm.. Looking into the room made him realize how much he missed being stress free & young.
He had to take a moment before opening the door to the other room. For he knew each square inch had a memory..
There he was, teaching Kiran math.
There was the computer, where he wrote his first blog.
There was the corner below the window where he and Aarti sneaked their first hug.
The window through which he used to stare for hours when it rained.
The memory of his exams being cancelled due to monsoons… and “Where’s the party tonight” song playing for the exact reason..
His fake attempts at studying for GRE & CFA
His friends toasting him the night before his departure to UK..
His meets for Chennaibuyz – the company he tried to build
As tears welled in his eyes, he rushed out, for he could take it no more… amidst all these ever changing memories, the house had remained constant.. and with it had that one person who had lived in it..
and now she was changing too?
He could no longer bear the emotions.. he ran upstairs and gave the keys back to his grandmom, saying that he could not lock the door by his own..
“Oh you silly emotional fool… I thought my purpose of moving out is to spend time with your baby girl… Looks like there is more than one baby in the house now!”
With speed that defied her age, the women took the elevator down to close the door of the house.. and with it, multiple chapters of the book – my life.