If home is where the heart is,I have left pieces of my heart,in all the places that I have lived at.My memories of this world,start in Lakheri,a small town in Rajasthan.My dad grew up there and joined the cement factory,as a chemist.Its the one place he considers home..and I spent the first 9 years of my life,there.
When I went to India,in October,2009..dad was really excited about taking Aadi to see his hometown and I agreed.I am in love with the place.This trip really was about reconnecting with the roots.
So on 3rd Dec,we left for Lakheri(LKE) by the night train.We got to the Bandra terminus at 10PM and guess what the train is running more than 3 hours late.Killing 3 hours at home or even in the train or at the airport is alright..but at a crowded railway platform with a toddler in tow..nightmare!
Fortunately,she didn’t think that way..she thought,it was just the place to run away and hide from mom and masi..giving them mini-panic attacks,every 5 minutes.My sister suggested,we go and get some munchies for her,to keep her occupied.But,my dad had disappeared..and we were stuck,gaurding the luggage.Oh and not to mention,bear all the lewd stares..It was sickening.
Dad just has to disappear everytime,we are on the railway station and everytime the train stops at a station,he has to get down and look around.No wonder,he doesn’t like travelling by local trains.Anyway,after 3-4 calls,from sis,and threats of abandoning the luggage,he came back,with water and VadaPav.We then,went and got some munchies for Aadi.Somehow the 3 hours passed and the train arrived.We got in,found our seats.Only 2 seats were confirmed and 1 was on wait-list.Dad spoke to the TC and we got the third berth after around 6 AM.This was Aadi’s first train journey..and my dad booked the tickets atleast one and half month in advance..and all the trains were packed..we managed to get this reservation in 2nd AC.
Ohh..in front of us,was a couple,who couldn’t keep their hands off each other and insisted on doing it on the lower berth.I am not a big fan of PDA,but I feel,to each its own..but it just got very embarassing..there was my dad,another old couple,my sis and aadi..and 1 more guy!And the funny thing is,they had a top berth..why not use that for your hanky-panky?Anyway,thank God they got off at 9 AM…I woke up to drink some water at 7 AM and they were ‘at it’ loudly! I almost gagged!
The rest of the journey was quiet uneventful..Only my sister,had to sleep on the floor,till 6 AM.That and Aadi insisted on using the toilet!This girl,refused to use the clean toilet at my ILs and wanted to use the dirty Central Railway toilets!My heart was running faster than the train,everytime I took her to the toilet,because the door of the compartment was always open!
We reached LKE at 3.30 pm and someone had come to pick us from the station.My dad and his family is very loved and respected in LKE.When we were younger,we used to call ourselves,’Princess’ of LKE.So,this ‘uncle R'(everybody is uncle,na) walked past my sister..ignored me,struggling with my bag and a clumpsy Aadi,insisting on pulling a bag,twice her size and went up to my dad,did the bent Namaste to him,and took the bag from him and walked off.Dad went with him,getting updates about everything under the sun..Sis rolled her eyes,and mouthed “Raja ji”..(My dad is like the uncrowned prince there!) .
While in the train,I felt an Asthma attack coming on,but,didn’t pay too much attention.We had to climb up the huge staircase on the platform and I had to stop twice..I climbed up and had to sit down on the bridge before going forward.We got home..and I couldn’t even go from one room to another without huffing and puffing.Uncle R was summoned again and he and aunty M took me to the hospital.Aunty M lives in and takes care of my dad’s ancestral home.Our family and hers have known each other for more than 3 generations and she is a very important part of our family now.
To be Continued