fbpx
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Take me home, country roads!

Reading Time: 3 minutesOn a return visit, memories are stirred of an idyllic childhood in India

- Advertisement -

Tucked away between the two relatively small Indian cities of Amritsar and Batala is a peaceful little village called Pakharpura. That’s where I grew up. In a humble little home erected with bricks and mud. And a lot of sweat and hard work. Each time I go to India, I try and get to my village. I visit my home there, greet the people who were part of my growing up and are always so proud and excited to see me.

Earlier this year I visited Pakharpura after a few years away. A 30 minute drive from Amritsar and I was standing outside the street leading to my ancestral home. I got out of the car and walked along the dusty little village lane. It seemed quite narrow. And tired. Nothing like the vibrant, busy lane it was during my youth. Back then, that street was always abuzz with life. All day, every day. Each step that I took through that street brought back memories. Abundant memories of a childhood spent playing in that street. In that village.

Half way down the street, on the left, stood the crumbling frame of a weary, old house. The house where I grew up. The house where I took my first steps. Where I spent the first 13 years of my life. For a moment I paused and looked at my house from a distance. And it seemed as if the house was squinting back at me as well. As if trying to spot the kid in me that once used to play in its yard. I moved closer as if to say, “Yes, it is me. I have come back. To see you”.

In a street full of homes inhabited and decorated by the people living in them, this house of mine looked deserted and desolate. The brick walls, now half deprived of the mud that once held them together, had started to sag away. Weeds sprouted out from little cracks.

I inched closer to the tall, wooden front door. It suddenly did not appear that ‘tall’ to my grown up self. I pushed at it gently. It welcomed me in with a tired, elderly squeak, as it opened.

As I stood in the front yard, I looked around at the entire house. It was silent, and barren. An empty old house with worn down rooms and crumbling walls. But somehow, as I glanced across, I could feel life flash back at me in every inch of that house. Right in the centre of the yard used to be the kitchen. Made of sun-dried clay. It had perished now but I could still see my granny trying to start the fire in that open kitchen, to cook supper.

I went inside and explored some of the rooms. In between the cob webs and dust being kicked around by the piercing sun rays, I could hear the laughter of two little kids running in and out. Me and my little sister.

I went around the whole place. Gently touching bits and pieces. And all those bits and pieces, I felt, talked back to me.

In a little while it was time for me to leave. So I stepped out to the front door once again. This time I sat down for a moment and glanced across to the far corner of the street. Just like I used to do every evening as a kid, to watch my dad come home after a day’s work in the city.

Before I left, I looked back at my house one last time. And I gently whispered to it that I still felt connected to it. That I loved coming back to it. That it may be lean and frail now, but it still sounds, and smells, like my childhood.

 

- Advertisement -
Avatar
Sanam Sharma
A typical middle class guy who is abundantly opinionated, moderately flawed, and adequately grounded

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Podcasts

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

0
Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

parent teacher meeting

How to engage with your child’s school

0
  After nearly a year of restrictions placed on parents, schools have finally re-opened. Parents can drop little ones off to Year 1, they can...
david shoebridge nsw parliament

Queries on ‘far-right extremism’ raised with NSW Minister

0
  Questions have been asked to NSW Minister of Multiculturalism Geoff Lee about recent incidents in Sydney’s Indian community that have raised concerns about social...
Siji Krishnan, Father’s portrait 2016 (watercolour on rice paper) 134.6 x 315.0 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Indian art at Melb’s NGV Triennial 2020-21

0
  The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial is an art exhibition organised every three years which displays works of contemporary artists and designers across...
mitali modi with kamala harris

Shattering glass ceilings: Mitali Modi on working with Kamala Harris

0
  Emboldened to take action in an era of heightened political polarisation, racial unrest and an uncontainable pandemic, young Indian American Mitali Modi talks here...
The free dialysis centre in Delhi's Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Source: @mssirsa/Twitter

Free-of-charge dialysis hospital at Delhi’s Bangla Sahib Gurudwara

0
  A 101-bedded dedicated free-of-charge kidney dialysis centre is up and running at the premises of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi. The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara...