Growing up

‘Bishop’s Lodge aa gaya madam’ the conductor bared out his lungs and the bus screeched to a halt.

A tall lady in a blue cotton saree stepped out.She turned around,adjusted her hair,her saree and then spread her arms to collect her munchkin as the conductor handed him over .

Goodbyes ensued and the over-enthusiastic kid even blew kisses to the whole bus sending scores of passengers into peals of laughter, bringing an embarrassed smile to his momma’s face.

Young Aalekh had a spring in his step.
Winter vacations usually had this effect on him. No school,the winter chill,the sunshine and a chance to fly kites all day long..Who wouldn’t be excited.
And to top it all he had the chance to do all this at his Grandfather’s place.

He ran into the street even as the lady struggled with the lugguage. Ten metres or so and he stopped.
That was the longest he had ever gone without momma.
He waited.Mom caught up and he walked alongside like a perfectly obedient kid.

The first establishment on the street was a bottle-green wooden shack which stood out because of two distinct memories.The shack had always served as an indication that he was entering the correct street and secondly because of a peculiar smell that always originated from it,one which his mom and his maasis hated and asked him to stay away from.

The walk to their destination was hardly half a km but the number of people who knew her mom or vice versa took Aalekh by surprise.
Some greeted her  by her first name,some focussed their attention on him and ‘googly-wooglied’ his cheeks with exclamations like “Arrey!kitna bada ho gaya” and still some others were greeted by his mother.

The first house on the bend was done in biscuit brown,a house he very well recognised and why not…It housed Munmun,the young gal he was teased about by his younger Mamu the last time he had been there for a Christmas party.
“But I only danced with her” he remembered mumbling amidst laughter all around.

How he had secretly wished for Munmun to step out.

Next up was a house which had ducks,hens and what not.
He,but of course,loved them to the extent that he had once been caught by his irate mom playfully strangling the throat of a hen.Poor thing,she had come ridiculously close to becoming dinner for two.

The smell of Christmas cupcakes wafting in the air told him it was Kerketta Aunty’s Bakery next.He loved that part of the street the most.Ambling across,he pestered his mom to buy him one only to be promised with one later in the evening.

Next up was Boney’s house.
He had giggled when he had heard his name first,for the only Boney he knew till then was Boney Kapoor.
Boney usually scared the daylights out of him as he did to many other strangers who came around his house.
He was the most ferocious bulldog Little Aalekh had seen.

The big gate of his Grandfather’s house in sight,he ran to reach there but couldn’t open the latch which was too high for him.
But to his shrieks of delight,someone lifted him and he was able to open it finally.
It was Chote Mamu,his favourite person there.Afterall,he was the only one who took him for joyrides on his Bicycle and got him comics and all other magazines he loved to read.

Soon,Grandpa would return,as would Bade Mamu and his two maasis from college and they would all be having a ball of a time.He imagined all this and more as he entered rows of perfectly cut decorative plants adorning the sidewalks,all bearing testimony to his Grandpa’s gardening interests.

“Bishop’s Lodge…Bishops’s Lodge” the bus stopped and a guy stepped out.No lady alongside,no goodbyes,no flying kisses.

The Bottle-green shack was still there.The peculiar smell was one of beef,as he had discovered later when he had first tasted it during College,much to his Mother’s disgust.He never mentioned it to her again.

He had kept track of Munmun through Facebook and he knew she had left for foreign shores to pursue Arts.And she had a steady boyfriend.Nevertheless,a smile ensued.

The ducks paddled away as if in recognition of their tormentor.

The cupcakes smelt familiar but his lack of interest in them made him feel guilty.He had all the money to buy himself dozens of those but none could match that one cupcake he used to win himself after repeated rounds of pestering.

And nobody who passed by,recognised him.

Well,but for Boney.A pale shadow of his former self,he found him as much a stranger as he did years ago.

His Grandpa having passed away long ago,the plants on the sidewalk lay unattended.
As he unlocked the latch on the main gate,his phone rang.
It was momma.
“Beta!!You still sure you want to do this??” her tone had a hint of concern.
“Yes mom!!..I will have to do this” a firm reply later,he walked into his Grandpa’s house as the Lawyer moderating the division of his Grandpa’s assets amongst his two Mamus.

How Aalekh wished he had never grown up.

Comments

  1. I like the plot and the presentation too, u always inspire an amateur writer like me. :) good man !

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  2. I always feared that my favourite storyteller Mr.Bond would die sm day.....bt then...whn i read ur articles n stories ....i feel the legacy would go on.....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Aditya...

    Thank you flyingMonk...May u keep flying and landing on my blog :-P

    ReplyDelete

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