LIFE! Here I come.
A channel of thought emerges as the cab progresses from Varanasi (Benaras) Cantt station to Durgakund, one of its areas. It was 8:00 of winter morning of February. The weather was chock-full of smog, cold, filtered sun rays and a typical aroma, familiar yet distinct.
City appears trapped in between custody of ancient forms of art and trailing modern era. In past 25 years of my segregation from this city, what I heard from strange faces “It’s changing.” I was certainly penetrating out for such sign in dilemma where heart utters “Do I really want?” and brain says “Why not?”
“Madamji, after how many years you are here?”
“25 years, why are you asking?”
“You look amazed actually as if first time though you speak fine Bhojpuri.”
In lack of options I give a glance to driver as we pass through Sigra moving towards Rathyatra.
“Yeah, these malls and traffic crossroads weren’t there, new I suppose.”
“No madamji, they are 3 years older. Our benaras is getting modern, you see”, conceit in his voice was noticeable.
As the cab moves from Bhelupur air has same aroma of delicious morning breakfast of this city’s delicacy – Kachori, Sabzi and Jalebi. The smell recollects childhood memories of their lip smacking taste.
“Mom, what is this place? This smells like you cook at home”, my 8 year old daughter, Shristi jumped in conversation breathing in the aroma.
“Yes Shristi, I learnt from your grandma. She knows all delicacies of Benaras”
Within minutes I was standing with my daughter on the gate of “Manu Kutir” in “Kabir Nagar Colony” which was my home once. Blur reminiscences of pasts surfaced haunting the softest hidden fraction of heart.
“Papa” the little girl hugged the man entering from same gate.
“How are you my princess?”
“Always happy as you say, what you have bought for me?”
“Surprise!!!” the man replied blinking tightly
“I know, my Barbie pink dress”
“Oho! You always guess it correct, how?”
“Because I love pink”
The cluster of remembrance dispersed with the shadow of aged woman appearing from door.
“If you can’t recognize me then why you have called me here”, my voice was discourteous but deserving in my opinion. The expressions on my face echoed thoughts of my voice and inner emotions.
“Good Lord, Kiran!”
My nod was the answer of her exclamation. After formal introduction to everybody around me, my findings reveal two youthful lads Swayam of 24 years and Pratham of 22 years of that woman and rebellious to my belief, they seems delighted of my visit, why? The answer is behind veil as of now.
While for me the woman happens to be my stepmother and with that every relation materializes with prefix of “step” except the man on deathbed. Unfortunately, he was my father and this visit of mine was a request by that man who was dying. Nevertheless, hatred is a strong emotion but call of blood was primary.
(Second part soon….)
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