The object of my affection is my home in Delhi, where I grew up. I have been in the same house till I came to New Jersey 7 years back. That house has heard me crying as a baby, seen me taking my first steps, dancing as a teenager, slogging through nights for exams, arguments with my mom, partying with friends, jumping with ecstasy on various achievements and understanding life and becoming more sober as situations demanded. Its walls are the only ones who have seen my true emotions and seen me growing up into what I am today.
We have a beautiful house with a lawn and a kitchen garden. My dad, an engineer himself, was it's architect and my mom decorated it. It is very much their dream house and was built a year before I was born. As a kid, when my dad used to tell me that he built (gave its architecture) the house, I thought he literally built it - as in put in the brick and mortar. I used to assume he built at night since he had to work during the day. It was later I understood what he meant. We have not changed the house much except for rearranging it in the interior. So, on the exterior, it looks the same as it was built three decades back. My brother who was a toddler when it was being constructed used to come in his tri cycle with my parents to see how it was building up and learnt to write the alphabets in its walls.
For our primary (elementary) education, we went to a school close by. Till my brother was in the same school, we went either by cycle or walk. Later I used to take the school bus. Those days, sometimes my mom had to go to the University for her exam invigilation duty in the afternoon. She used to make some nice tempting snacks that we could have after lunch - jelly, custard, papdi chaat. Me and my brother will make these snacks as our lunch and hardly finish up our main course. I remember in various occasions, my brother's friends would accompany us home from school and would share these nice treats. I would pray silently if they could stop coming in the afternoon so that we can devour all these goodies ourselves.
For few years initially, my grandparents lived with us. I remember the day my grandfather passed away. I was 7 years old and could not understand what was happening. My parents were very sober and quiet that day. I mustered up some courage and told my mom that I had a test next day and I had not studied for it. Instead of being angry, she replied calmly that I would not be going to school next day. Even though the situation demanded otherwise and I was pretty confused, I still remember the pang of joy I felt about bunking the school. I remember the fun we had during summers when my cousins visited us. It was literally a gala time. I think it would require a different post to write down all the stupid and fun games we played.
After few months, my brother went to a different high school while I continued in the same one. In the afternoons, it was either my mom or I who returned first. One day when I returned home, I could not get in. When my mom came a little later, we assumed that my brother must have fallen asleep watching a cricket match and bunked the school. All these seemed very unusual and only later we realized that the house was burgled. I still remember those days vividly when the police came up with a dog to do the investigation. I was a little scared but learnt another aspect of life. We rearranged the house and made a different room as the drawing room for security reasons. My dad insisted that I should be brave and come home after school. He had made the home more secure and added an extra door in front of the main door. It was made in a way that there was a small place between the two doors. He said if I felt scared, I can be in that place and enter the home when my mom comes. They also kept few books, comics, biscuits and water for me. Every day I would pray that my mom should reach home first. The days my prayers were answered I would dance with joy.
Years passed and Delhi witnessed riots and human hatred. We rearranged our house as situation demanded to make it more secure and safe. I grew up fine, brave and understanding that life is actually not a fairy tale. Me and my brother played miniature versions of various games of cricket, tennis, table tennis, soccer and 5 stones(a girlish game that I taught my brother) inside the house with modified rules. The house witnessed each of my birthday celebration when my mom would bake a yummy chocolate cake and my friends, without fail, would greet me.
We had to rearrange our house one more time because both I and my brother demanded a room of ourselves. We had two choices - a room, well ventilated and well lit with sunlight and the other which was not that well ventilated but had an attraction - telephone. The first one is a very good room, warm in winters and cool in summers. The second one is exactly opposite. Being a teenager, I ended up choosing the second one. My brother, more than happy, would tease me that I lived either in Sahara or Siberia while he enjoyed the cool Mediterranean.
With all this rearrangement of the house, one of my parent's friend jokingly remarked that when they come to our home, they ring the door bell and stand as they would not know which door is going to open to welcome them in.
I remember myself slogging for my 10th, 12th boards and college exams. That was when I actually became interested in Vaastu shastra. I could see that if my study table was placed east, I got better marks than when it was placed north. Though I knew in my heart it was purely attributed to the way I studied. This room saw me sharing life with my good friends. I remember innumerable occasions when instead of finishing off our projects, we would end up chatting till sunrise.
The home experienced more celebrations of my brother's graduation, his job, his wedding ceremonies, homecoming of his bride and of course, me graduating, getting a job and getting married. I miss my home the same way as I miss my parents - the only difference is that my parents can come and visit me.
Thank you Thinking Aloud for tagging me on "The Object of my Affection". I really enjoyed doing it.
I pass on the tag to Archana, Madhu, Sumana, HHG and who ever is interested in taking it up.