Writing stupid articles means a little self-sufficiency during the beginning of each month. And sometimes, that random book for bhai or that pretty little cell-phone-pouch for didimoni.
The old house, however, is practically coming apart at the seams. The two old people cling to each other, and cling to the house, and cling to the past which is so dead, that it crumbles if you touch. And steadfastly, they refuse to move. So they get to see bhai and maa and me a few times a week. And the days we don't go, they get to see the past which comes for a quick visit and a cup of tea, but stays forever as an unwelcome guest.
So, this week, I get them icecream. One snowy haired face grins in toothless glee, while another pair of short sighted eyes gleam at the butterscotch. And so they smile, and they eat. And I sit there, as they gulp it down. Ask if they want second helpings. And didimoni, at last, manages to convey that she hadn't had icecream in over a year. The children provide the fish and the rice. And the medicines and the daily routine phonecalls. And the sarees and the vests. And the fridges and the airconditioners. And the caretakers and the drivers. But no one remembers the Banchharamer lyangcha or the piping hot Amriti which came in their dreams. There is no one to read aloud Sharatchandra to dadumoni any more. People don't care. Or remember. And I am being completely hypocritical here because for a few days, neither did I.
I give her the second scoop of icecream and watch her gulp it down as if it would disappear. And as I see her scrape in the last spoonful in a shadowy room with 3 people and 300 ghosts from the past, the bloody lump-in-throat wouldn't go away.
Screw the snazzy lights. I am going back home.