Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It was a nice house.
Softspoken, and clingy in some ways, but nice, if you know what I mean.
It was ancient too. The cracks showed. And so did the soft moss which grew at an alarming rate.
Previously, the front part consisted of one huge room which had wooden sofas and an old divan and arched windows, with green , wooden windowpanes. And an old, noisy refrigerator which was perennially grumpy. It had a television set too, which dutifully aired Mahabharata and Chitrahar every Sunday and Wednesday respectively. (But then of course, times, they changed and so did the TV. And now, every night, it beams coloured pictures and spins stories about the extra-marital affairs of ridiculously rich women.) The huge room had an adjoining chhotoghor which held old, rusty complan tins full of marbles, and one half of a broken carom board. And of course the mandatory, very old alna, with soft and reassuring housecoats and sarees and cotton shirts smelling of rin detergent bars. The verandah infront of the old house had a pillar painted blue. And then 3 steps. Down and straight if you wanted to get to the rannaghor, which was huge. With oil stained yellow walls, cement sinks and rows of jars full of ghorey pesha gorom moshla, 2 gas ovens, and an all-pervading smell of tej pata.
Down the 3 steps and left, and you came to the garden. Shiuli and joba. And mango and guava, batabi lebu, neem and coconut trees.
Down 3 steps and right, and there was the uthon. And the rooms surrounding it. Old rooms with kulungis and high four-posters and cool red cement floors which were heavenly and addictive on hot summer afternoons. The uthon though, was nicest during the winter. The sunlight which managed to strain in through the thick, double layers of mango and neem leaves was pleasantly hot and exactly the colour of melted butter. And you could get yourself a madur and a pillow, a Ruskin Bond and a small, paper packet of achaar and create your own little piece of heaven. The iron, spiral staircase at one end of the uthon was forbidden land till you attained a certain age. After that you could cling on to the railings and get to the chhat, which was silent and frightening and almost white with pigeon droppings or green with kancha aam, depending on the season.
The old rooms downstairs, had corridors too. Old corridors - my favouritest part of the whispering house. High ceilings, grills and chiks, and iron and wooden book cases. It was heavenly if you didn’t fear the occasional spider and the even more rare rat or two. Newspaper wrapped, crumbly, yellowed treasures were routinely discovered. 'Mohabharoter Golpo', and a hard bound, cloth covered Bengali translation of a Russian story called ‘Chuk ar Gek’, ‘Five have a Mystery to solve’ and ‘Leela Majumderer Sreshtho Golpo’, ‘Vivekanander Vedanta Chinta’, ‘Byakoron Koumudi’ and the complete annotated ‘Merchant of Venice’ (year of publication:1938) were all unearthed here once upon a time.


I will be moving away soon. To a flat, with snazzy lighting, snazzier furniture, French windows and a room of my own. The flat doesn’t whisper. Nor does it sigh when it’s sad. It is healthy, with no rats, no spiders and no random plump cat taking a nap on the panchil.

It is a nice flat. I like it.


It was a nicer house. I loved it.

12 comments:

madhurima said...

When I shifted I was in class 1. Internet and computers were not as rampant, blogging was unknown.... its a pity, I did not chronicle my virgin emotions...


But on a second thought I did not quite understand what was going on for a good 1 month untill i started to miss bori bhaja, aam er achar, the milky smell of my thakuma, whom I used to cuddle in the night and sleep, the sweet aroma or narkol er naru, stealing takti from big tin containers, watching the ramayana and the mahavarat while leaning on thakuma, the bhog made up of rice, boiled potato and ghee, fighting over thakurmar jhuli, breakfast at moi ma's, lunch at chotoma's and dinner at thakuma's....

I still miss those....

and I know how you feel...

*a big warm hug*

Anonymous said...

shifting took place when i was in class 8.in the last few days of our stay in that old house i remember myself going to the 'chhat' more often than usual.........and to the 'chilekothar ghor'which was the store room for the house and a 'shorgorajjo'for me........it was the place where i used to keep everything which i was not allowed to keep.....the place for my 'fnach-fnach'after every scolding......where i used to hide all those stolen chocolates and 'aachars' ......the place where i used to do my own bits of 'goendagiri'with those broken stuffs and 'addikaler'magazines which were duumped there.......and the place for'shopner-jal-bona' and drooling over my latest crush........
in my new house everything was so new that i failed connecting with them........i missed those cracked ceilings,the'laal mejhe',the 'chun khoshe pora' walls,the ashothho gaach growing from here and there,the old furnitures........and the 'chilekothar ghor'...........now though i have come to terms with the newness of this house...........i still miss my 'chilekotha'.........like kodlu di said.........at that time i didn't have the oppurtunity to put all this online......but i still have my old diary full of ratings between the two houses....and it goes without saying.........my chilekotha always won over the new flat........
i can very well perceive your feelings bimbo.......
it is like the childhood being taken away from us........at least for me it is still so.......

Aquilus said...

Thats a beautiful house.

I know of so many people who moved from beautiful houses to nice flats.
I wish all of them wrote as feelingly about their houses as you do about this old house.

And hey! you changed the template!

Priyanjali said...

I know that place, I have been there, memories of childhood are well preserved in those 'nona-dhora' walls. It is the whispering house and it will forever echo with the laughter of five children trying to call spirits from the past on a cold February afternoon. Thats the charm of the old rustic places....you know your past is safe and secure....the walls are dependable, the 'chik' lets enough of air and light through but is will never let those unheard tears diffuse out.....it was your refuge and a place that I much cherished myself.......it is a nicer home and I bet, we all loved it.

saptarshi said...

:)

The Alluder of Alliterations said...

but you see.. there will always be one plump cat randomly napping...
anyways
i liked your house
putting up my stinky feet and prodding you laptop in the samner ghor..
geeky brother watching telly
and heavenly aam panna
and the sweetest bomba ever
somethings never change...
like the sweetness of my bomba

scorpionragz said...

hah! soon we will get to exchange moving stories (pun intended)!!
i guess i don't hafta say "I know exactly what u mean" for u to know i DO know exactly what u mean!!! it will be exactly one year since i moved to my new apartment on 22nd of this month. Remember me ranting about my new "hotel ghor"? it still feels like a hotel ghor and on these brilliant spring and summer afternoons, i still dream of my lovely chaat.

Double-Dolphin said...

Having moved some 7 times in my life so far, I know what you're talking about. But atleast I'm back to my smelly house now. Although I still miss my totally brilliant little flat in Dunlop Estate. My own little room, with a little verandah, overlooking miles and miles of rolling meadows, weird "dewal-almari"s, with my stuff stashed away, and my scrawls all over the doors. I still have the doors(believe it or not, I brought them back with me).......and the memories I guess will never fade.....neither will the yearning......

Opaline said...

This is very sad. Just read Doyeeta's moving story. We're having our childhood's taken away, chhotobelar kota jayega, manush ar jinish chole gele mone hoy chhotobelatai chole gelo. Chole toh geloi. I've always lived in the same house and probably always will have this house to come home too but there is a house a dream about often. Didar bari, I dream about it regularly and they're not happy dreams.

Guitar George said...

i remember the good ol' days.boromashi, sohanda, meshomashai, ma , baba, the entire lot.......us playing around, running like maniacs, remember my index finger getting jammed on the gate outside....

damned memories....

kaichu said...

bimbo, tui kobi.

oi barite akbar jaoa jabe re? seriously jiggesh korchhi... lobh hochhe.

yippeeHippie said...

damn you!! wish you didn't do all this nostalgia-nigrono... :(