My friend posted a picture of one of our many rented houses from our Berhampur days and seeing that has brought back a flood of nice warm memories. The small town, the tiny ,tiny lanes jutting out of nowhere with absolutely no rhyme or reason to each other, the naked little slum boys and girls who would always attempt to steal guavas from the tree in our lawn and me always yelling at them to just prove who’s boss even though that little tree never ever bore fruits. That town has offered us all so much. One of the biggest chunk of my childhood days was spent there and I went to a great school, we had good people around us, there was still an innocence about people, no one was conniving against you the slightest chance they got, no petty politics and when you slept at night you did not have a care in the world beyond your next day’s homework submission. Well atleast for me and my friends.
That house on that narrow crooked street is so important for me and my family. We spent the last 4 years of our Berhampur stay in that house. My father was already working in a different city, our current city, so he would be gone the weekdays and be back with us on Friday nights. My school and my mom’s college were like right next to each other so we would walk to school together in the morning, back home in the afternoon. In 95 ,our first year of living there, I met my friend Gurbir. And by 99 while in the same house I also found out she had passed away. That house was special because I spent so many special mother-daughter moments. When I would do well in class or get a 1st prize for a singing competition she would walk me down to the nearby market and treat me to chaat and paani-puri. And then of course a mandatory halt at ‘Relax-Parlor’, the coolest place at that time. We had that lime green vespa scooter. I still consider it a lucky scooter cause it had the same license plate number as the height of Mt. Everest. In my mind then it was like a sign from the Universe. For what I don’t really know.
And my school friends are still my best set of friends. Not necessarily my best friends, but I have a soft corner for all of them. We spent such an important part of our lives together, that feeling of knowing a bunch of people and growing up together is just priceless. That is also a special house because I remember how passionately and intensely I started crushing on a classmate. Oh good ol teenager love! I do not think there is anything more passionate and blinding than that. But when it happens that is such a sweet sweet phase.Everything in your world just feels so colorful and you want to start singing and dancing in slow-motion just like in the movies.
Well, the crush is now happily put behind but not the lovely realization that you were growing into a intense young woman. I have heard the town has high-rises now standing tall in some of our favorite joints, people are changing, there is a touch of modernity now, but I think deep down the heart and soul of my good old ‘school-town’ is still the same.