For me, the feeling of home is all about being with my parents. Last month in September, I had gone to my mum’s place, in the city of Surat in Gujarat. I reached there at the break of the dawn. And then, slowly, everything started. The apartment’s lift, which is more than two decades old now, has a pre-recorded setting in it. And as I open its doors, the lady starts singing. Welcome! Please close the door. I say hello to this lady, and to the watchman, who comes behind me, lifting my heavy bags.
As I enter the corridor, I wave to my neighbour aunty. Once inside the house, I hit the sack and hug my sleepy brothers. Next, I try to wake them up by tickling their feet. My father scuffles my hair and switches on the television set as he settles down on the sofa. I can see only breaking news and zodiac forecasts on the TV. Then, my mum goes to the terrace. I follow her as I still feel the Rajdhani train jerks. She feeds the pigeons some handfuls of jowar grains. Then, she fills the shallow pots with some water for the little birds and squirrels that loiter around on the terrace. Now is the crow’s turn. My mum says they like spicy stuff, so she puts some gathiya, a type of Gujarati spicy namkeen (snack) on one of the roofs for the crows.
In the next hour, my dad prepares a glass of hot dudh chai for me; a mix of tea and milk, with some freshly ground ginger root, lots of black pepper, cardamom and other spices. There’s a little window from which I can see him in the kitchen. And I smile to myself, as I realise how I look like him. Super slim with flesh-less cheeks.
Next, my father wakes up my younger brothers. And then, his ranting starts: “How can you reach the textile market this late? How can a businessman work like this? When will you were bring discipline in your life, if you really want to taste success? I should marry you guys off and let your wives rectify your spoilt lifestyles.” My brothers have no effect, whatsoever. They’re just checking their phones, with their eyes half-open. My mum keeps looking at me, and hugging me. I just keep my head on her lap, close my eyes and think to myself: “I’ve been missing this, ma.”
In the next hour, which is around 9 in the morning, my mum prepares the veggies in the kitchen. My dad helps her as usual and kneads the dough. Then, the both of them will make some rotis and go to the nearest cows’ shelter and feed the rotis to them. Later in the hour, my mum serves breakfast to my brothers, who are presently in a rush to hit the textile market. As they leave, a little battle starts between my mum and dad, and I totally love their loud conversations. My dad will now complete his chores and promise to run away to the textile market, as soon as possible. He’ll tighten the bed sheets (believe me, nobody does a better job than him), and leave each bed crisp and even-looking. Then, he’ll make some business calls as if he’s pissed with them, before going off to work.
And me? What am I up to? I just smile looking at my hardworking dad and my loving mum, while they argue, every morning. It feels so good to be home, to be with them, in the midst of all that chaos. When are you visiting home? How does it feel like?
Oh, yes. Happy Dussehra, dear readers! Hope you achieve victory in all your tasks.