Mud plastered brick wall had turned grey with the smothering smoke of the stove. The fenestrations being the only exhausts to ventilate the interiors, the shutters of the casement prompted the concentration of coke. The lintel had burned fragments and the smoke left a gradient on the front façade. A three sided enclosure with a few courses of brick and laid with the pot over it, while the twigs and broken branches were burnt underneath, was how any meal got prepared in the community. They survived on timber based stoves as the prospect of LPG or Biogas was yet to arrive as an amenity.
Shri Rajvanshi entered into the house with a bag strapped to her shoulder. She flung around the strap, grabbed the bag with her fists and placed it on the cot. A heap of washed clothes laid beside while she straightened her back to start packing Manav’s bag. She was too busy in the daily chores of her life that now she realised that she is too naïve to understand the changing fashion trends.
She spoke to the emptiness, “The city folk are fashion maniacs, I hope Manav is not trudged beneath their trends. May the lord bless my son!”
She sighed the looked around into the hollow air, the emptiness that will soon erode her senses in her son’s absence. She shook the thoughts and started packing.
She picked up every cloth and analysed it as an expert. Creasing and then folding every pair of trousers, a kurta, some plain and some checked shirts. Even the socks and handkerchiefs were selectively chosen from the local departmental store. A new set of shaving tools became a part as well.
The bag pack was almost ready when she heard approaching footsteps and her heartbeat rose a little as she knew it was her son. She never felt facing her son too daunting, her melting heart throbbed like a trembling fish out of water and her eyes reddened spontaneously. She held a strong and firm stature but she was beyond fragile on the inside.
Manav’s squealed while walking inside the house, “The reservations are confirmed and I am leaving tomorrow!”
His excitement and cheerful entrance over shadowed the rising agony in his mother’s eyes and she slightly wiped off the tears off her eye lids and hugged his son in ecstasy. She was happy and sad at the same time.
Consolidation of her thoughts and her strength was the only priority but in the hesitation of the moment she blurted, “You will remember your mother right. Won’t you?”
Manav hugged her tightly and nodded in an affirmative with a hum. Mrs. Rajvanshi gently pushed him to the side and started explaining him about the ethics of the city life. The excitement with which her mother explained the items of his bag, she seemed like an escalated teenager who was getting ready for her first college day. The gleam in her eyes showed her enthusiasm and happiness with the thought that her son was now going to be a city boy soon.
Sophisticated, Elegant, Polished and Ascending.
The sun diminished on the family while the earth turned to rise a brighter sun.
It was the day when Manav had to leave behind loads of memories and entice whole lot of new moments and will eventually start knitting a new family of acquaintances and attachments.
It was just a two minute halt on the regional station and the family members did not have a lot to bid farewell to Manav. Quick hugs and embraces were the only parting moments they shared while the train and the time stood still in their lives.
The whistle of the train blew and it blew like an alarm to a calamity and everything seemed swiftly moving already. The wheels shrieked loudly and Manav hung in the window of the train and waved cheerfully to his family.
The platform started moving backwards and so the walls of the station which slowly turned merged into the green fields of the village. The trees paced backwards and so the memories of his lifetime in his village.
Manav witnessed the time rolling backwards while his soul galloped into the running time.
The pace kept rising and what all was close to him started fading out, relatively as well as psychologically.