I am in Madras right now enjoying the warmth of Amma (mine, ok!) and the nostalgia that this city triggers. It’s been a whirlwind last month. I try not to think about the emptiness of our house in Hyderabad right now, that was our home until about a few days ago.
The oven in which I baked my first burnt chocolate cake.
The hoards of trophies and shields and cups earned by the husband from his chess competitions.
The carousal that was given by N aunty even before Ammu and Kuttan were born.
The two bicycles which Ammu and Kuttan learnt to cycle without the side-wheels.
The bamboo swing which acts as the monkey bar for the kids and as a stressbuster for the husband.
The big bag of trainer skates from which Ammu must’ve fallen down at least a hundred times before she got her balance.
Our soft pets all lined up as if in a school assembly.
Lakshmi. Saraswathi. Perumal. School set. Chettiyar and Chetti. Park saamaan. Our golu dolls. All of them. But, more than that the joy of sitting together and setting up the golu padi and the golu itself.
Our fish tank. Our first gold fishes Chintu and Buntu.
The book shelf. My books. Some dog-eared. Some half read. Some untouched. Then, the kids’ books. Some torn. Some scribbled. Some dirty. All with fond memories.
All this and more have now found newer places of abode. I am generally not a hoarder when it comes to physical things. I try hard not to attach myself emotionally with things. But then, when it comes to parting with stuff that helped make memories, a small ache engulfs my heart. I try to tell myself that it is not the physical things alone that help make memories; but it isn’t so easy.
But more than these physical things that I leave behind, the sheer love of the friends I made over the last two years in Hyderabad has made it difficult for me bid adieu to this city. The gossip filled long morning walks. The arguments about Modi and Kejriwal. The fudge that made it to my place once in a while. Play dates. Birthday parties. Swimming lessons. It still hasn’t dawned on me how much I am going to miss friends with whom I don’t have to pretend to be nice. With whom my weirdness is not seen as weird. With whom I can just be me. Sigh.
We are the perennial nomads. Over the last seven years, we’ve changed countries twice and moved homes four times. In the next few days, another big continent change is looming large over our heads. The last time, about four and a half years ago, I came back from this same country (The US of A!) thinking I’d never go back. Alas, life always has other plans for us. And now, we are going to get back to square one, although the gut feel tells me we’ll come back again to Hyderabad. (Oh. Another part of the gut tells me that we’d not come back, though. Chuck it. It’s called probability, not gut!)
Kuttan is already excited about seeing snow, although I keep telling him that the place we are going to is not going to have any snow. (Yes, I love it that there’s no snow!) Ammu keeps asking, ‘Can I dress up as Elsa for the Halloween, Amma?’
I am the skeptical one who is worried about things not going as per plan. I try to rub the skepticism scent on them. ‘You might see snow there, but do you know that there won’t be a health faucet in the toilets? Instead, you might have to use tissue papers!’ I should’ve known these kids cannot be intimidated that easily. ‘That’s ok Amma. You can just lift us into the bath tub and we can clean up using the water there. But then, we are going to see snow. Snow. SNOW!’ The skeptical Amma has to give it to her over enthusiastic cutlets.
Unlike the last time, this time I’ve vowed to myself to be more positive and enjoy the change than crib about it. Probably, because I am getting used to the husband’s nomadic instincts. Probably, because the kids’ enthusiasm is contagious. But most probably because I am growing up. We want to catch up on all the travel we missed last time. We want to make more friends than we did last time. We want to savor the local cuisine without the diaper bags and crying babies.
I really hope I can keep up this ‘new and improved’ positive attitude for as long as I can. Because, along with the scary prospect of changes is also the happy prospect of fun. Wish me luck in this endeavor, please!