Three long years


It’s been three years since we travelled to meet our family. Three years where family emotions and bonds ran on the fuel of video calls and texts, spilling laughter and many tears along the way.

We are finally here, at home, reunited with parents and siblings, nieces and nephews.

We visit all the rooms in our home, reacquainting ourselves with the simple yet delightful pleasures of the smells, the shapes and the textures of its various nooks and corners.

There is a big void in my father-in-law’s room. It feels strange that he is no longer a part of our lives, regaling his grandchildren with humourous anecdotes and keeping them entertained with many stories. A small smile plays on his lips as he observes us now from the confines of a photo frame.

The aroma of shallot sambhar flirts with our nostrils, as super soft idlis get steamed in the kitchen. My husband steps out of the house and comes back in a few minutes with piping hot, golden and crisp medu vadas that have been fried to perfection. The vadas rest on a square piece of banana leaf and are accompanied by a generous helping of coconut chutney.

These vadas have been an integral part of our breakfast ritual over the years on all our trips back home, lovingly carried out by my father-in-law. As we tuck-in, we feel his presence and hear his voice asking us to eat more.

So much has changed over the last three years, yet some things don’t seem to have changed – giving us hope for the future while still connecting us to the wonderful memories of the past.

The Reunion


The school building had stood there for slightly more than a century. Thousands of children had passed through its portals; to meet life and its various challenges.

The school itself had changed with the times, having been strengthened with new blocks, coats of paint and refurbishment.

The school smiled as it thought of the little children in Grade 1, in their new uniforms, afraid to leave the security of their mothers’ hands. The echoes of small and happy action songs echoing off its walls.

The school sighed at the furrowed brows of the Seniors as they solved difficult papers. The school laughed at the din in the canteen during recess.

The school remembered with fondness the first crushes of teenage, and the tricks children played.

The school heard the thunderous applause and hoarse yelling, when important matches were played.

The school saw young teachers, fresh and bubbly, who had loved the school and grown old with it.

The school remembered the graduating batches as they embarked on a new journey, away from its safe harbour.

Today, the school was awaiting the arrival of its old students, who had graduated 25 years ago.

At 10 am, the school watched them arrive. Little girls in pigtails, now transformed into confident young ladies of poise and grace, mischievous boys now wearing formal blazers, and looking debonair. Children who had grown up together, shared their lunches, giggled and fought with each other…..now looking at each other with love and joy and reliving the delightful rush of memories.

The school watched as they visited every classroom, remembering and recalling – voices from the past, their successes and failures, the small joys and misunderstandings. Every class brought fresh memories. As they walked down the wooden staircase, they sang their school song with gusto and moist eyes.

They sat in the classroom and caught up with each others’ lives.

They realized that ‘life had happened’ to each one of them, in many different ways. They shared slices of their lives, both good and bad. They saw grey hair, bifocal lenses, and searched for their childhood pals, in each others’ faces. They laughed a lot, with so much abandon.

One day of each of their childhoods, relived again. Pure bliss!

The school welcomed back her children with happiness and enjoyed the day with them, before they went their separate ways.