Tuesday, 28 June 2016

And it comes to leaving again!...

The time runs out fastest precisely when we want it to slow down and let us be where we are. And its six long months that am talking about. I had come to Pratapgarh when little P was barely ten days old, it was the last week of January (last spell of cold) and A was yet to come to terms with the challenges associated with this new official assignment. In the middle of December, precisely a month before P was born, when A had been posted out of Lucknow and given less than 12 hours to take over in Pratapgarh in difficult circumstances, we had bitterly resented the sudden shift of events. Not only it meant me being left alone with N when it was beginning to get difficult for me, I had also looked forward to spend my maternity leave in the comfort of my own house, living in a city. But while not everything turns out as we want it to be, with the benefit of hindsight, the beautiful memories of the past six months will continue to be cherished for an entire lifetime.

Once I moved here, it was difficult to come to terms with the new reality of living in a countryside house when one had spent three comfortable years living in an ultra-modern, self-designed, super-convenient apartment space. My initial days were spent trying to restore some normalcy to our daily routines (and having a less than one month old baby certainly doesn't help!). While I relentlessly tried to revive the flow of wind and light around this beautiful colonial house, I also found myself increasingly drawn to the boundless treasures it seemed to contain.

A large part of my time (before the summer sun became too harsh to bear) was spent sitting in the 'courtyard with magical light' as I call it and watch the play of light and seasons on the Siris tree that grew beside it. Even before I had brought newborn P over, A had restored a number of doors and windows around the house. My greatest joy on my first morning in the house was waking up to a garden view (after a very long time). Often afterwards, in the early hours of the morning, I would find a golden ray of sunlight filtering in through the gap in the curtains  in my room as if kissing the cot-mobile while P slept like a little prince underneath.

I could not be more thankful to God for making it one of the happiest times of mine and A's life as we watched little N chasing butterflies, filling the rooms with her multiple pursuits and we entertained family and friends alongside. It was here that I could finally live my dream of building a studio where I could paint/craft for hours without any distraction and stream endless music while being at it. While we introduced Masha to our multiple birdie guests (and he taught their names to wide-eyed N), or the multiple impromptu snack parties we hosted and clicked pics for the keepsakes, both me and A were beginning to fall in love with the place that has given so much to us. 

While I sit here writing this and there's less than 24 hours remaining before I take up my old duties in Lucknow, move back to work and start school for N, I completely realize none of it would have been possible without the fabulous people who took care of us- the women who took care of my kids during the day so that I could make up for my sleep deficit, the housekeepers who kept everything in order and the officers who hosted us, worked hard with A and stood by us. Upon return from a recent visit to a fabulous plantation resort in Chikmaglur, we realized there was no point traveling 2000 kms for the same. At least not when one himself lives on a huge estate, in a century old heritage bungalow while still being able to enjoy delicious home-cooked meals. If waking up to the call of the birds and sleeping by the sound of cicadas sums it up, then it is precisely that.

Yet there is more to my 'leaving' this time. And its not just the house, the people and the place. Its also the security and well being of living together as a family that I leave behind (till no certain future date!). Living as a single parent to tiny ones in a city, while continuing to attend official responsibilities is going to be a huge challenge. And there's also the guilt of depriving A and kids of the joy of each other's presence. Multiple sources of advice (and may be even a part of me) suggest I extend leave and continue to live on a little longer. But what solution would it be. In a profession that we have chosen, this will always be the case. While I do not write this by way of justification, but another six months or a year wouldn't make much of a difference. The kids will continue to need both me and A the same for a very long time to come and also better learn soon what it takes to be the children of a 'working mom' (you could say an ambitious and obstinate one at that).

And just before I go and take one final look at the things (before I start packing them up), I look up at the twenty feet high ceiling and think of the innumerable people like me and A who would have lived in this house, children like P and N who grew up in its environs and the countless stories exchanged under this roof. And yet the house doesn't complain about the good and the bad,it doesn't moan about the change of the times and continues to be. How I wish things worked for us the same way!

Time, You Old Gypsy Man
Will you not stay, 
Put up your caravan 
Just for one day? 
All things I'll give you 
Will you be my guest, 
Bells for your jennet 
Of silver the best, 
Goldsmiths shall beat you 
A great golden ring, 
Peacocks shall bow to you, 
Little boys sing. 
Oh, and sweet girls will 
Festoon you with may, 
Time, you old gypsy, 
Why hasten away? 
Last week in Babylon, 
Last night in Rome, 
Morning, and in the crush 
Under Paul's dome; 
Under Pauls' dial 
You tighten your rein - 
Only a moment, 
And off once again; 
Off to some city 
Now blind in the womb, 
Off to another 
Ere that's in the tomb. 
Time, you old gypsy man, 
Will you not stay, 
Put up your caravan 
Just for one day? 

~Ralph Hodgson


  1. Superb writing. The human touch shines through brilliantly. :)
    Feel happy for you, and if I may add, proud of you.

    1. Thank You Uncle.. May be you and Aunty can relate to our vagabond life better.. You remain a role model as always.

  2. Profound! May God bless you and the family. May you have the satisfaction of being a working mom with innumerable moments of being together. There may be many more heritage houses filled with love and people

    1. Thank you for your wishes and blessings Chandraji.. We hope you too visit us sometime

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