There is something so welcoming about coming back to your home after a long tiring day at the office or a vacation. Going out seems fun and exciting, but coming back home is something that we long for. The comfort of those four walls is irreplaceable. However, coming back to that very house caused ache in my heart now. Every turn that we took on the roads of Delhi, inching closer to the house, my breath got choked within.
My hands seemed painfully heavy even though I had immersed the ashes of my late mother into the Holy Ganges at the Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi. It was perhaps the absence that stung more. There, the last turn and we were there at the entrance of the house.
I was asked to wait outside the gate for yet another ritual. As I stood, I looked at the black iron door that had begun to rust from the sides. The rustic redness of her lips appeared into my vision and the familiarity threatened to choke me again. She’d pestered me to make a name plate for the house and I’d procrastinated so much that eventually the matter was simply forgotten. The blank space on the door mocked me now.
The rituals were done with and finally, we entered.
I was greeted by the wall in our drawing room, yellow and bright smeared by a huge collage of my parent’s recent trip to Holland. The 49yr old lady seemed blossoming. Who would believe that she wasn’t alive? I’d never see her smile and giggle like a child, or touch her baby cheeks.
Tears stung my eyes.
I went to her room and closed the door behind me. My family understood the message clearly and did not interfere. And there it was, “her space”. I saw it and only then believed it. Until then, I always thought that a house becomes home willingly. That you could befriend a house and any space could be your space.
But then, there are some spaces that are exclusive. That smell of you, reflect your tastes, introduce you to the world and make others realise of your absence when you’re not there.
I keep going back to her space. Looking at that space makes me happy and sad both. Happy because it reminded me of her, her hugs, her smile, the way she’d half-lie, half-sit… the manner in which she’d call out my name from there.. Sad because all of it would never be real again but only become fragments of memories we’d made.
However, I am grateful. Grateful for this space, this house which she turned into a home. For her husband, her kids. To keep her alive among us, to live laugh and cry together. With her and without her.
I wish to thank Housing for the prompt .