new place, new friends, new home
“we have decided to call you autumn…” said one of praveen’s friends who’d come to receive us at the airport last evening. i smiled to myself at the strange declaration, more amused than surprised; it instantly reminded me though, of my friend sanjeev who sometimes fondly called me ‘leaf’.
as we waited for the taxi, i noticed how memories of close friends and relations haunt you ever so intensely, the farther you physically move away from them. it could take the form of a person, a voice, a chuckle, a nod, a wave, or simply, a memory.
i looked out of the window. one of the first things i observed were the bright street lamps. i looked ahead and found that the cars on the other side (of the motorway) had bright headlights too. do lights look brighter in cold weather, i wondered…
before i could turn to ask anyone, the taxi slowed to a halt. ten minutes from the airport, we’d arrived at our destination.
it looked just like the typical ‘my house’ i’d scribbled in my kindergarten notebook with crayons; like most other kids of my age then would…brown-red-brick house, white-framed windows, red sloping roof, and white-painted wood fence circling a green lawn outside the main door. it smelled of winter; i looked around and it seemed as if i’d accidentally landed in one of charles dickens‘s illustrated winter-setting stories for children.
the trees were barren and cold, it was dark and nobody stopped for any one. this is it, i said to myself, a little excited, a little curious, and braving the biting cold…this is going to be my new home. i thought of my new friends rashmi, zubin and girish, waiting inside to meet their best friend‘s new ‘wife’; i thought of my mother who would remind me to step inside the house “with the right foot first”. praveen echoed my thoughts as he quickly unloaded all the luggage from the taxi into the house and paid the driver.
“come, they’re waiting…right foot first!”