When memories reach out in strange ways

The garden was in full bloom, fragrant flowers of different colors. It was spring after all. The wind brought along the familiar scent of home. It was slightly chilly. From the balcony in the garden the whole of Shillong appeared picturesque, bathed in the golden sunlight. I walked to mom and dad’s bedroom windows, peeped in trying to see past the white net curtains. But the curtains were now blue in color. Strange.

I concentrated hard and there it was the room I had spent so many years in. But something was not right. It was not the same. The bed was smaller and not placed next to the windows overlooking the valley beyond. The very bed where all four of us took our naps on Sunday afternoons; talking, laughing and then finally falling asleep. The cabinet that stored our piggy banks wasn't there either. Perplexed I looked from one corner to the other. Even the dressing table, standing in front of which mom always tied our hair for school, was replaced. Nothing that belonged to us was there in that room anymore. But how was that even possible? Apparently, though it was. The television that we spent hours watching was swapped by another. Despite the fact that it was the same room, our mom and dad’s room, it somehow seemed stripped of its quintessence.

Something was terribly wrong. I walked to the windows of the living room next and there were unknown people inside. Not mom, not dad, not even my sister. A new family was sitting in a sofa set which was nothing like ours. It was brown and not bottle green. And somehow that broke my heart. They had a linoleum carpet spread out instead of our beautiful Kashmiri one. Who were these folks and what were they doing in our home? When I couldn't take it anymore I turned away. But then I saw the car in the garage, it wasn't my dad’s. Reluctantly I walked towards the windows of my and my sister’s room. Our study tables, the cane chairs, bed and shelves were all gone. Our red and white cabinet where we kept pictures of our favorite actors, ones we had crushes on, was also not there. I felt tears rushing through my eyes, burning my cheeks as they gushed out. My home, the home of my most precious memories, had been invaded to make room for someone else’s. It had changed, even looked withered and I felt its pain. And then with a strange sensation of loss, I suddenly woke up to find myself miles away in Bangalore in a new home, now my own home.

I grew up in Shillong and it has been over 2 years since I’ve been there. Too many memories to even count. I don’t know if it’s natural but I feel like a part of me is still there. It happens, doesn't it? Years on years pile on but the rapport remains, doesn't matter with a place or a person. Time and distance apart seem meaningless. Consciously or subconsciously my heart always yearns to visit Shillong, a bizarre, invisible pull. I miss the cottage that was my home for 12 years. The last time I was there was in the year 2012. I had even gone to the cottage, stood outside wishing I could just go in like I used to. The fact that someone else was now living in the home that once used to be ours was a fact too difficult to process. Of-course changes like these are natural. But natural or not, it was and still is a change I never can enjoy. So as I stood there looking at the house that once used to be my home I felt stripped of the rights to call it my own. It was like sharing a part of me I had never wanted to share in the first place. Maybe that’s why the dream, so real and so perturbing. I don’t know if I can ever emotionally let go of that house. Maybe I will never be able to. But that’s alright. Don’t you think so too?

Before you go tell me have you ever had such a dream, so real that it almost made you cry? Have your memories reached out to you in your dreams?

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