A memory like a sieve

Etch, v.

be permanently fixed in someone’s memory

Mia brushed a tear from her eyes as she left the house, looking back at it one last time.

Mia, a successful entrepreneur, returned to her hometown for her mother’s funeral. Her hometown is a small village in the far eastern side of the country. Mia left her village before she hit her teens, to escape her life, to make something of herself and promising never to come back. She was pushed to leave the place.  She worked hard, studied even harder and took up a job in a large corporate before starting her own clothing line.

After years of escaping the inevitable, she was back to where it all began. Nothing had changed in her hometown in these ten years, except for a few new shops and some brand new sign boards. From the corner of her eye she saw her old school, it still looked the same as it was when she first entered it. Memories haunted her. She knew this would happen to her. Even the slightest thought brought tears to her eyes. Time has healed her scars but they were scars nevertheless. Instinctively, she touched her forehead, a small crescent shaped scar was slightly visible. Her cry of pain still echoed in her own ears.

“No, leave me alone,” she cried as tears rolled from her eyes. He advanced towards her with his cane.  Her step-father was an irascible SOB, a sadist. His laughter when she cried echoed through the hallway. It was his hobby. She feared to get back home from school. And he hit her so hard even if she was a minute late. She had no friends or family except her mother. Her mother tried to stop him, but she was too weak to put up a fight and win. Even the cops turned a blind eye as he was one of their own.  She couldn’t leave him because she loved her mother so much.And her mother couldn’t leave for she feared him so much.  Mia hoped and prayed for a miracle.

Miracle happened, after all. At least for her, if not for her mother. He lost his legs in a car crash. Knowing her mother will be safe thereon, she left to the point of no return. Until today

10 years later, nothing changed. The big iron gates opened as she entered her house for what will be the last time. He was there, sitting near her dead body. He was neither young nor had his old brute strength. He was helpless. Her heart leaped a little with joy, seeing him that way. But she knew better than to feel happy for a  helpless old man. Without a word, she turned her head towards her mother’s lifeless body and knew that her mother will rest in peace now.

The little connection she had with her hometown is now over. She did not know whether to sigh in relief or feel sad to break away from her roots forever. She knew, a piece of her heart would always yearn for a better past. Mia brushed a tear from her eye as she left the house, looking back at it one last time.

The memories resonating in her mind’s eye, will stay forever.


The smell of old wood

I recently went to Kerala to visit our “family temple” for the first time. When I was a little girl, I used to spend my summer vacation in Palaghat, where my grandparents lived. As a child I used to really love that place.ts a small village in kerala, along the kerala-tamilnadu border. The weather was always pleasantly cool. It was typical “agraharam” and our house was located in a place wherin the end of the street its flanked by temples (a krishnan kovil and a shivan kovil) The day started very early. As early as 4:30 am. My gram used to wake up that early and start doing the household chores (which is not a lot) And by 10 all work is over. There was no TV. So we (me and my sis) had a lot of time to do so many things. My gram used to inspect our ‘holiday homework’ and teach us to draw kolams and make us help around the house. Somehow we always had something to do. We were never kept idle ever around her. In the evening my grandpa used to take me to a small cycle shop that rents small cycles and he taught me how to ride a cycle. My first ever cycle lessons (without the balancing wheels) was back there.

Evening coffee, followed by walking to the temple, talking to almost everyone on the road and coming back and sitting on the famous “thinnai” and continue talking to them. Yes, the talking was done by my gram and I just absorb the information (**wink wink) Life or lets say the day was really really slow there and people go sleep as early as 8. Since we were from the city we sleep by 9:) [quite proud I was to break the curfew]

Nostalgic. All of it. Those were good times. Happy times actually

My house had a smell. A particular smell not just my house our neighbors house and most other houses I went in our lane had a different kind of smell. I never really thought about it all these days. So I want to this temple, my family temple, and its deep interior in Kerala. Its quite a small temple surrounded by lush green forests and quite picturesque I must say.

I entered the temple and my olfactory lobes quickly did their work. I smelt the same old smell, the smell of my grams’ house. Nostalgia. Its then I realized that it was the smell of old wood in fact smell of wet old wood!

I now know I can forever trust my sense of smell 🙂 These memories will last a lifetime