|Some more changes have been made. There's a ramp now to help the senior citizens climb the steps|
|This is how the garden looks now|
|The garden wasn't so neat and didn't have a manicured look when my mother was alive and kicking|
My home. How it has changed!
Now that I pause to think, I can see, recall how it looked - initially a cement structure. I remember there's a pic of my mother sitting on the steps leading to the house. In the background is a ladder resting against the parapet of the terrace.
Then, I remember the house being painted. Red colour? I am not quite sure. There's another picture of Aju, Abhi (my friends and rakhi-brothers) and I standing on the veranda looking at...I don't know what. The landscape was very "dry". No trees and no greenery. I remember there was a dusty path leading from our house straight down to several small clusters (ghosalwadi). There was this sudden dip in the path/track (little beyond my house) which was quite fun when I cycled down. The cycle landed with a bump. Climbing was a bit difficult. It was even more difficult during the rains, when a small pool of rainwater, muddy, was created just below the dip. It was so slushy, that the gumboot clad feet, struggled to walk a few feet to the next patch where the ground was a bit firm.
We had a gate just where the ground was firm. I am jumping. The gate was constructed when we erected a wired compound. Until then all the villagers, cows, bullocks, pigs too used the dirt track to reach the main road.
When the gate was erected, my sister and I, for a short period, used to enter and exit after shouting "password". This was clearly the impact of Secret Seven (Enid Blyton). The bolts of the gate, sang, out of tune, so the house didn't really need a watchman. No one could dream of entering the compound quietly. Unless, it was open, which my parents ensured that it never was.
Now the main gate, has moved from the side of the house to diagonally opposite. Lost in cluster of buildings. There's another one at the end of the compound - which is now a wall compound - to demarcate the house and the garden from the housing complex.
There was a garage before the house. But that's gone now. My father parks his vehicle under a tin roof canopy, which slopes down from the terrace.
The steps leading to the house didn't have enough room for the slimmest person to walk. It was cluttered with flower pots and creepers. You had to move them away from the red (stone) steps to sit and watch the rain fall.
Yes, I remember once dancing like a mad on a rainy afternoon. Then, not many houses or buildings were raised and the tree cover over and around the house was so enormous that the few bungalows nearby could never actually peep in our garden. It was pure fun. I have never experienced torrential rains like that any more, partly because I am never home now during the rains and partly because I believe it doesn't pour cats and dogs anymore.
It was a treat to watch the Hajimalang mountain covered in mist and the Bahula-Bahuli dongar. I don't know the name of the Bahula-bahuli dongar - I call it so because one peak is fat and podgy.The other is slim and straight. I can't watch them anymore because of a new apartment complex coming up near the old highway. It blocks the view.
Walking up and down under the star-lit sky (now the tin roof has spoiled the pleasure) was wonderful. Like it was just you and you alone, on the earth. You and the sky above!
After reading all this, don't think that my house has become a stranger. It's the other way round. I have become a stranger to the house. I am sure, when I go back, I will discover my old, forgotten nooks and cranies. The gulmohour tree with its orange red blossoms will smile again for me. The mogra will spread its fragrance. And, I will be happy eating tulsi leaves. Yes, that's a bad habit. I feel very clean after chomping on two or three tulsi sprigs.