Whenever I reminisce about my hometown, Lucknow, traditional ways of holding back tears begin to fade away. Well, reminiscence is surely a strange tool. You can be everywhere while being nowhere, except for being physically present at the place where you’re brooding. You’re teleported in a world with a vintage filter from ‘Retrica’ applied, and your vision autofocuses on the top-priority subjects; people. One by one, recollections, memories and forgotten moments freshen up and colourize again. It’s not some black and white 70s film any more, you’re living your past again. It’s an amazing feeling, indeed.
I spent a major part of my life at my Naani’s place. All of us know, when you’re living at your grand-parents, it’s a life in paradise. Getting pampered, having the most delicious food to eat, forcing them to buy you new toys and what not, such were the perks of living with her. Sometimes, I’d be lying on my bed, and she’d come to cover me in a quilt. I long for her sweet chiding, but I know, things have changed now. I have come really far in life. Time has passed, I’m afraid, a little too much.
Like most parents, mine were loving. I remember a moment when my father stood next to me, patted on my shoulder and said, “You have to be a very successful person. Most of all, a happy person. And remember, I’m always proud of you, and I’ll always be with you”. Being young and naive, I couldn't grasp the brevity of his words. Today when I look back at that moment, I shiver. He passed away a month later.
I didn't know how to react. There were laments all around. People expressed their grief and told us how life never stops and keeps going. Some just raised questions, like how will the kids live without a father. It was a question that did pop up in my mind, but I was never taken aback by it. My elder brother smiled at me and said, “I’ll be back”, as he walked on, with some other grown-ups, carrying Dad on their shoulders.
After Dad passed away, I used to sneak into the balcony and gaze at the stars, realizing that the world is too huge a place, and we’re just a fraction of it with an extremely large denominator. Sitting outside in the wilderness, I used to examine one of the most cherished mementos of my father, his signature on my fees receipt. That was my personal mark of his memory, something really close to my heart. I skipped meals, stayed quiet for most of the time. As a result, friends alienated, and I became more of an introvert, sitting alone in classrooms, never paying attention to what went on in the world.
Weeks after this, my Mother told us that we were about to shift to New Delhi. A new life was about to begin, with memories of the old. Nobody can erase memories, they always stay. There is no running away from them, but instead, One must accept. We did the same. After packing all the items in big bulky boxes, we were ready to move. I met my Naani before going, she kept crying hysterically, but after a while, she was normal. As a matter of fact, even she knew what life holds for us humans. Nobody can stop; mustn't stop. You move on. We reached Lucknow Railway Station and boarded the train to New Delhi. It was an emotional moment. I could see my elder brother shedding a couple of tears. I cried, within.
On reaching New Delhi, we unpacked all our stuff. Furniture, crockery, and everything else was now properly placed. The house looked like a home now. I sighed and laid on the bed, for I was too exhausted. All of a sudden, something hit my mind. I went back to the carton boxes and searched. I couldn't find what I was looking for. I checked every notebook, file, drawer, cover, linen, literally every item, but for nothing. I lost my Father’s last memento, his signature.
Liked reading this short story? This was actually a dedicated piece for my friend. Explore me here on ScrollStack, to learn even more! I do have more posts planned up, ranging from a wide variety of topics that you can enjoy deciphering from my profile. It'd be great to hear from you too. Stay safe and awesome. Thank you.
Abhinav ThakurFollow to receive updates for new posts