When I came home this March with the TCS system, I never thought I will be staying here for this long. Almost 6 months have passed and the weekends on which I couldn’t wait to go home to Amma’s choru and sambhar seems like a distant thing in the past. This is truly a period of realization, a period of getting to know the people you call family with whom you haven’t been spending much time. With more and more time you spent, the essence of these people changes and maybe one day we could finally say that we know them.
There are things you notice with time. Things like how my grandfather and grandmother have grown so old the time I was away from home, how telling Appa that he looks handsome still makes him smile and how his smile could still make my mother blush even after years of their marriage, how quarrels and fights all get resolved by the end of the day just by some cutesy acts or few words and how in family, we all take each other for granted and still get away with it. I learnt no matter how old we grow, there are habits that you couldn’t get rid of, things you couldn’t live with and beliefs no kind of logic could breakthrough. At times, I find myself missing my old school days when happiness was my grandfather waiting for my school bus in the evening with a huge smile plastered over his face, the smell of grandma’s hot pazhampori on reaching home after a tiring school day, the joy of opening packed lunches, faking illness on a rainy lazy Monday and many more small simple things. I dig up memories and ponder on how all of us have changed over the years physically and mentally, trying to reason with the changing busy world.
I wonder about things lost and found. I regret not enjoying the simplest of things by being carried away in the flow. And finally, I realise, the world could change so much in days that your biggest wish could become going out, sharing a warm meal with people you love, enjoying each bite sharing the stories of the day.
But I am grateful for this part of my life too, for this slice where I wake up to my mother’s nagging, enjoy home-cooked food to my fill, be the cute adorable kid to my grandparents, fight and make up with my sister for everything as silly as a misplaced night-dress, explain the logic in everything, irritating my parents and laze around on weekends without having to worry about going back to Kochi where there is no them. There are things new as well. Like how a few days of staying home has turned my father into a farmer when he has never planted a sapling in his entire life, how he gets so excited to see a rat caught in the rat trap he set the previous evening, how my mother who could barely send a mail has become a pro in attending zoom meetings and discussions. I was even lucky enough to witness my father along with my grandmother seriously engrossed in a Malayalam serial. We, cousins organise watch parties to cheer each other on a bad day. We call up friends from long ago and check up on them in this time of insecurity and loneliness. We, unlike any other time, is finally there for each other. The distance has brought us all closer than we could ever imagine. It has taught us, love, in a way we could never fathom.
Maybe all of us needed a way back home, a journey to trace back our roots and a home to rest our thoughts. Maybe this is the time to think it all through and the world needed it too. So here I am laying my thoughts to rest and enjoying each day as it passes by, trying to find beauty. Here I am waiting for a better tomorrow than today.