The first post of Recap series had featured my most precious picture from January this year. Moving on to the memories created in the next two months, I realized that both these pictures had a feeling of a homecoming for me.
The month of February saw us visiting my father’s ancestral home in a small village called Balia in Bengal. My father had spent ten years of his childhood in this village before moving out to a town for higher studies. He finished his graduation from a college in the same town and then shifted to Calcutta for his post-graduation. After becoming the University topper, he chose to return back to the same small town and join as a Lecturer at his alma mater. I have never seen a man so content to give up lucrative offers and opportunities to stay close to his family in a place which gave him a sense of belonging. Even today at the age of 70, he ensures to visit his ancestral home at least once a month to meet his eldest sis-in-law and my cousin brothers. This February, we decided to take our toddler to Balia to let him have a feel of the emotions that define his maternal grandfather. It was a delight to see him enjoy and explore the place which still retains some memories of the bygone era.
As a child, Holi was the festival that I would eagerly wait for every year. The colours had to be dissolved in water, the buckets filled with coloured water had to be taken outside and then began the crazy session of applying colour on each other using pichkari(spray or water gun). We had to be literally dragged back home somewhere in the late afternoon after countless requests fell flat on the deaf ears. By then we had so many layers of colours that our faces would have gone beyond recognition. The bigger challenge was for the parents to scrub those colours off the skin. Normally it took a couple of days or more to get back to our natural skin colour. But that enthusiasm filled childhood made us run out with abir/gulal(coloured powder) in the evening again. Yet we had been carefully taught not to apply colour on anyone who refused to be a part of the festival. The concept of consent had been cautiously inculcated within us.
Last ten days have been crazy for me. Moving back to Kolkata with an unwell toddler was not only physically exhausting but it drained me out of all the energy and enthusiasm. While he’s still riding on a sinusoidal wave of recovery and sickness again, I feel amazed at my late mother’s ability to maintain calmness and sanity while dealing with similar situations during my childhood. But amidst such turbulence in personal life, I couldn’t help but notice the incidents that have created a havoc in the world for the past few days.