This is a quick thing that I’m typing on my phone. I’m looking at a billboard showing a teddy bear in green, similar to the one I used to have, eons ago it seems. The billboard’s about a bank. This post isn’t. The teddy bear triggers memories of my Mom who worked hard to win it as a prize, so she could bring it home to me and my brother. And I had prompltly named it ‘Muttu’. The bear is ‘Home’ for me, because that’s where it always has been – at home, a home I’d left behind when I got married, a home I’d yet again left behind just two days back, when I visited my folks.
There’s something about your childhood home. There’s something about the very air itself that uplifts your spirit and rejuvenates you like no elixir in the world. Something in the food that your mom serves, the jokes you laugh at with your Dad, no matter how often repeated, the fights you recall with your siblings, the room that you spent years in, or if you’ve led a nomadic childhood, in the things that made your room. Something in the look and feel of the old utensils that you ate in, the curtains that you toyed with, the worn out rug under your feet, that makes you feel like you never grew up, you never left, you were right here… At home.
I went through the same nostalgia when I was home a few days back. Although the house was new, but the things that make it a home are still the same. So was the bear. I could feel memories coming off in waves when I looked at even an insignificant thing like a worn out doily. I was in a time warp, back at an age when the worries of life were limited to the Headmistress scolding you for a missing school badge. Oh those badges! I still have them. Another keepsake that leads me to ‘home’, like the bear.
You feel such mixed emotions when you come back home. There’s happiness, of course, but there’s also this sadness of having passed that age. When I recall the old memories I made with my folks and the ‘things’ that made my childhood, I feel a sense of loss. Then there’s the inescapable fact that this cocoon, like your childhood, will melt away in no time and you’ll be back in your here and now where life does not let you be. Like mine did. And now I have another memory added to this chain of memories that I’ll look back to whenever I recall home…or a green teddy bear.
I look again at the bear on the billboard and smile at it as it whizzes past me while we drive away.
Copyright – Pradita Kapahi, 2016