Reminiscences of a ‘grown up’
Aatif Hashmi, Division 3, Graduate school #ws16e-s2d3

In the lanes which led up to the Arch Bishop Palace in Goa, the car moved slowly under the canopy of trees and I could witness how even the surrounding though remained unchanged, the very aura of the whole place had a different feeling attached to it. As we approached the portico, the building stood in all its glory, it seemed the bygones had affected it a lot. Visiting ‘my home’ was one of the things on my to-do list when I landed in Goa for the vacations. At the very least, I didn’t quite perceive what would I really do, would I drive by; or would I just stand outside and stare? Even the thought of knocking on the door of the E-15 flat, and asking them to allow me to spend few moments inside, would be more than enough for me!

My mind was in conflict when I first got out of the car and decided to head upstairs. A sudden eagerness as well as nervousness grabbed me. I didn’t quite think it through as to how would I initiate a conversation with new people. As I started walking, two thoughts crowded my mind, was my return to this house simply out of curiosity, or did I want to reflect an unconscious desire to bring my childhood into perception of a grown-up?

The home didn’t sum up to the reminiscence. But the memory of the original childhood home was just the way it was. Drifting back to the reality, I ringed the bell.

One Ring, No Response
Second Ring, No Response
Strange; I started wondering, for I was pretty sure I had heard my driver mention that someone had been living here for quite a while now.

The door opened as I was about to ring for the third time, when a boy merely about the age of 12 peeked, “Papa Mumma are not at home, who are you”? He asked meekly.

Now here I was encountering a younger version of mine who was as curious as I was to know him and his background.
“Er, My name is Ashutosh, is there no elder with you as of now? I would like to meet them”, I replied patting his head.
“Kaun hai Beta”, (Who is it son) I could see a grandmother coming forward lowering her spectacles giving me a questionable look.

I repeated my name and explained that this was where I had spent my days of adolescence, and as I was spending the vacations in Goa, I had decided to take a walk down the memory lane by re-visiting this house. I was welcomed almost immediately and quite affectionately. The house had been refashioned, but the front rooms were almost identical to the way they had looked in my childhood. That gave me ‘warm feeling’ the very instant and I took a liking to the house where the visions of right from crawling to the stage where I started walking started coming back to my mind.

The grandmother didn’t make any attempts to stop me as she could see my eyes scan the whole house inch by inch to trace for the memoirs which I had in my mind. As I walked to the back of the house, I discovered the owners had ripped out the old kitchen. That was where my mother used to make my morning milk shake, using cherries she picked in the backyard. It was a visceral feeling of repulsion, I felt, but suppressed it reminding myself, that I didn’t have the right to do so.

As I moved towards the balcony, the boy who had been watching all this quite silently came up to me and asked if I wanted anything.
I bent down, hugged him and asked him to give me some water. His eyes stared blankly at me, trying his best to understand why had a man suddenly out of nowhere started inspecting his house and talking to his grandmother. As he ran off to the kitchen, grandmother came in and laughed. ""We all want to recapture that experience in our old age. We'll be kids again,"" she said with a laugh.
“I lived in this house for so many years, but it has changed a lot,"" I replied.
“Change is good, don’t you think plus it is an inescapable part of our lives, but still we haven’t fully remodeled it”, she replied still smiling.

She was right, the two rooms adjacent to the other balconies looked almost the same and I sensed a great deal of nausea. I could literally visualize my mother combing her hair and my father reading the files which he brought back from the office, and these were the moments when I would run and jump in my father’s lap and not let him work. The sounds of cries, laughter still rang in my ears as a tiny hand tugged at my trousers. The boy was offering water to me. It was about time, I thought.

After an hour of conversation I stood up to leave, and thanked the grandmother profusely for this experience.

I thought as the doors closed on my past, in adjusting to the world, we all lose some of our soul but journeys like such make us find some of our soul again. It's a way to re-experience all the feelings of childhood just by being in that space, a desire to reconnect to the way they felt as a child before life, school, vocations and relations; required so many negotiations.
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