A lazy Sunday afternoon after a sumptuous meal seemed disgusting when I had been instructed to shift all my old college notes from my room to the attic. Every step I took with a pile of books in hand, I burped. The puri- chole had started its action in my stomach.
“Get done with this work fast and take rest Anisha,” my mom screamed from her room.
“Yes, I intend to mom,” I muttered with a sigh.
It was high time that I cleared my overflowing college notes and my books from the drawing room before the guests arrived.
With a mask around my nose I barged into the most neglected area in my house- the attic; in the terrace.
I was entering this room after 6 years. This place started making me feel spooky. It looked clean and arranged but the shelves and trunks were covered with a thin layer of dust. No one had time to spend here ever since the time I left.
I had enough energy to open the trunk and dump all the books inside. In the event of dumping my books at one go I managed to completely fill it and was unable to close the lid. I had to rummage through the trunk completely, take out everything that was dumped, pile them back and stack them neatly.
A small notebook was left behind which certainly didn’t seem anywhere close to my notes. The cover looked tattered with silverfish crawling on it.
Curiosity crept in as I dusted the book.
The first page had something written with an ink pen that had obviously been smudged. I flipped that page only to find the most awesome couple I have ever known- ‘My parents’.
My mom was dressed in a beautiful red chiffon saree draped beautifully around her perfect figure, hair neatly tied into a bun, a gerbera protruding from one side of her hair right behind the corner of her ear and eyes neatly lined with dark kohl. Beside her, stood my handsome dad wearing a baggy pant, neatly combed hair with side partition (which he still continues to maintain) and wearing a white high collared shirt he certainly could have made any girl fall flat for him. It seemed like a picture taken at a studio. I faintly remembered the time when mom had shown me this book. It was their scrapbook with a collection of few of their fond memories that no one could capture.
The second picture wasn’t very clear but had that black and white touch with mom standing with dad and their school friends outside their school premises beside their bicycle. They looked grown up and I wondered how mom would have managed his teenage tantrums. It seemed like a sweet picture with mom’s calm smile and dad’s mischievous grin. It reminded me of the story that mom once narrated as a bed time story.
She could have easily converted herself into the queen and my dad into the king along with their bicycle as the horse and tell me their life’s fairy tales. The mischief that they did, the enjoyment they drew out of riding their bicycles, doubles/ triples and stealing mangoes from the trees on hot summer afternoons was something which I would never experience.
Below each picture there was a date written with the same ink pen that I couldn’t decipher.
The third picture was a group photograph with almost 30 students and one teacher in the center wearing big round glasses. It certainly seemed familiar to me. She was my school principal who was then my parents’ class teacher.
I stood still, stared closely at the picture. There stood, mom and dad in the first row exactly side by side, almost of the same height. They looked cute together then and in my eyes they still look the same. My mom never failed to have her hair plaited to a neat length and dad flaunted his dressing style always. They were the best of the lot in school.
Through hardships and strong perseverance they had come to that stage. I wonder how mom managed to convince dad into marriage after being just close friends for years together.
The fourth one was the best of the lot. Mom and dad sat on the back of a cycle rickshaw while going to school. It was one of those memorable pictures that my granny had always preserved of her son and her neighbour’s daughter (my mom).
Mom repeatedly told me of the tough times she faced in convincing dad to proceed with the relationship. They hardly exchanged conversations apart from homework and play when they were together. It took my dad 20 years to realize that he did have feelings towards my mom not just as a childhood friend but also as a companion.
The last page of the book was the most touching part which I felt, did make a difference.
It read:‘ I like you.’
(The‘s’ and the ‘h’ seemed smudged because of moisture.)
My dad had preserved some selected pictures of their childhood days and had gifted them in the form of a scrapbook to my mom. These snaps had been stolen from my granny’s album and had been gifted as a token of love from my dad.
My thoughts seemed rejuvenated. My heart skipped and jumped with alacrity. I pushed that book safely back into the trunk and closed the lid.
I had re-lived few memories of my parents’ life.
The phone rang with a shrill only to make me come back to reality.
Seeing the caller id picture of Adi and me together I felt we complemented each other just like mom and dad.