That Undiscovered Faces...
That Undiscovered Faces...6 mins 189 6 mins 189
So, it was around 1990, the time when disasters were hitting southern India, insurgencies were harming the northern part, food poisoning was killing 1000 people in the east, and, regarding west, our very friendly neighbor was always there. But still, there were some areas that were unaffected by these events and were absorbed in their own happiness. One of them was our small village Akhrota in the city of Pathankot, Punjab. Basically, here I lived at that time, and definitely, it's a summary of a very beautiful chapter of my ignored life. Let's start with the name of my village, Akhrota, it's somewhat related to Akhrot, i.e., nuts. And that relation is nothing but only pronunciation. What usually happened was that anyone who goes to a nearby village for playing, classes, or anything, it was followed by the name Akhrot. No matter where the hell you are in your districts, it just followed and also not for the good. It's not that funny but this was one of the biggest contributing factors in small fights with the groups of other villages and we were always angry with this. Now, everyone has certain weak points and some strengths. Regarding the latter, I have not discovered anything yet. But I know my one weak point I am working on. This point has its own history in my life. Let's talk about that point, it was simple but had the power to change the sense of a fight. It was speaking a specific abusive word during a conversation whenever I felt that my part is losing. I am not going to mention it because you will not understand as it was a Punjabi word that had no meaning. But the problem was that as there was an Akhrot in Akhrota, there was Maa, i.e., Mother in that word. I clearly remember that day, a warm winter morning with a shining sun. I was getting ready for my work, not that we do in the office but in the fields as farm labor. Though I am the most settled among my relatives and that also in the most expensive city in India, which is Mumbai. I work in a security agency that pays me more than what I am worth and that allows me to meet almost all the demands of my wife and children. That journey is also a beautiful chapter but for now, let's focus on this chapter. I felt hungry and asked my mother for food. She gave me some chapatis with the delicious dish of pumpkin. These days, teenagers just hate eating green vegetables especially Tinda, Loki, Karela, and Pumpkin too. But in my days, it was just a party dish. I was eating happily till my siblings arrived, planned to attack my food.
Firstly, my elder sister took a bite, then my brother and at last, my younger sister. And that bite was not a normal one but the one like a small bag in hands of the thief when he has to loot the whole bank. I got angry and I told my mother about this. She just ignored by saying that it is just a bite. My mother is not like one in the urban cities talking pleasingly with their children, fulfilling their all small demands, and just getting sad after their children did a mistake. She was like all the women in rural areas, who ordered the second time when their children ignored their request at first, who ignored small demands by giving a deal of special food which a child could not resist. And if that not worked well, then God has given these Goddesses, a pair of big and tough hands, whom we always loved, no matter how much they beat us. The biggest mystery that anyone could not understand till now is the mood of women. After getting ignored, I was feeling sad. This grew into anger when my most loved enemies came for teasing me. The anger grew into a harsh but non-violent conversation. They were three, and I was single, but yet I decided to face them with my chest open. The rude sound of a le le le was increasing my anger. And then at a certain point, I used that special word. The debate ended, but the problem was still there. This word gave my siblings the power to approach the head of my family, my mother. She came to me, started beating me with all the nearby things, one after another including sleepers, stick, and some more. After this, the problem was solved but gave rise to a new bad thought in my mind. The thought of leaving home. I was only 16 at that time and had no plans for a future career. I broke my piggy bank which was a small container of wood crafted by me. I had enough money of going somewhat far from here. I decided to go to Amritsar as there was a hope of food from the famous Golden Temple. With that small amount in my pocket, I started walking proudly out of my village without thinking of my family. On my way, I met my best friend, Soma. Like this name, all the names of my decade were strange. I requested for a jacket and some money from him which he gave me and when he asked about the matter, I told him the whole story, he compelled me to go back home, but I denied it. So, after walking for around 6 kilometers, I took a train to Amritsar. After reaching there, I directly went to the only person I knew and told him the whole story. He gave me some food. Then, I asked him for work. He was a cobbler himself and told me that he will ask his master. On that evening, his master came and told me that there is one work only. I said yes without asking anything more. He explained that I have to stand outside a shop and shout the offers to attract more people to that shop. I worked for three to four days. But, one day I realized that I am not happy internally. I was missing that jokes of my siblings, jibes of my mother, and my father. So, with a very brave heart, I took the decision of going back home. I collected my small earning, took the train, walked 6 kilometers, and was finally standing in front of my house. On my way back, I was thinking of the reaction my parents will give. I directly went to the kitchen where my mother was standing. I called her and she turned back. For some time we were staring at each other without any genuine expression. The first sentence she spoke was really an unexpected one. She told me to sit on the veranda and she is cooking some food for me. After eating, she asked me to go to my dad, who would be worried about him. Again, I walked 6 kilometers to the city and stood behind a tree near my father's shop. He used to sell canvas. So, again with this heart, which has experienced lots of ups and downs by this time, I started walking to my father thinking of replies, contusions I will get, and much more stuff. As he saw me, his eyes started flooding with tears, he gave me the most loving hug. He asked for leave from his master and he was given. We came back to the village. This time, not walking but on his bicycle, which I pedaled. The only thing I gained was some fear of me among my siblings and regarding loss, you should calculate that. We had the most special dinner that night which had buttered chapattis, buttermilk, dal, and of course that tasty pumpkin too.