Slowly but surely, they wound up the road, dust swirling around the cars. There was a mist of anticipation and nostalgia surrounding the cars. Eyes darted around the green meadows, looking for any sign of their destination.
The clouds had chosen the day to practice formation flying in the sky and the sun was busy cooling off somewhere. The perfect day for a family outing, and four cars they took and pushed out! Driving down the highway on that perfectly lazy day, there was hardly anyone who could resist breaking into song. Away from the hustle-bustle of the Big City for a day, the weather could not have been better!
And now, as they drove down the road that didn’t seem to end, their enthusiasm grew every passing second! The fields around them swayed to the tune of the wind and the beauty of the scene was nothing short of dazzling! The serenity, the repose, the calmness in the air was enough to tranquilize everyone into a peaceful state. This was the life in the Indian village, the life hundreds of millions of Indians lead today. Enough to spark more than a few volts of envy! This, fifty years ago, was life as they knew it for Grandma and her children! Today would be a drive down memory lane for all the members of the family who lived this life, at the very grassroot level of the Indian lifestyle. Eighteen members of the family were out to look for the old house which the older members had once lived in, and the gusto could not have been stronger!
In its days of glory, the house had been a railway station, with Grandpa being station master. The house and the surrounding countryside was life as they knew it! And what a life it was! Waking up to the first ray of sunshine to the sounds of the 6 AM locomotive’s breath. Studying under the banyan trees, playing hop-scotch at the edge of the fields as the cows grazed. Helping their mother out in the daily chores as she sang to them, and later brawling to be the lucky one to sit on her lap while she read out the story for the night! The long-forgotten Indian countryside was rewinding and playing itself in the minds of all the siblings who’d lived there. The adults were surprised at how things had not changed at all! Far away from encroachment, the trees were still there and so were the boundless fields! The birds still chirped the same melodies, the field still whispered the same wisdom. The kids, however, were simply blown away. That a life in the village could be so beautiful and so worth living in, was something they’d never even imagined. The metropolis was the whole and soul of their existence. To think that their parents lived in a place like this, with all its peacefulness, was beyond belief!
The house was entirely unoccupied ever since Grandma and her family had moved out! The place was in ruins, but what beauty those ruins shot out! The house looked like an old wise man, smiling knowingly at those who knew him in his youth! The shine and polish had long gone and exchanged for a look of maturity, of age. The maintenance of the house was poor, but nothing could replace the grandeur, the magnificence!
It was like the memories stored inside the house had flooded out in that one fleeting instant and Grandma couldn’t hold the tears back any longer. Emotions welled inside everyone and Grandma’s children went inside in a reunion with the house they knew so well! Every wall, every staircase, every window, even the little cowshed to the side, worn out with age smiled at the family in unmistakable recognition. Time took them back, and the familiar sound of a train passing by the station was the only one which reverberated in their ears.
As for the kids, they were just thrilled to be in their parents’ house. The older ones who understood memories couldn’t help but smile at how rejoiced their parents were. Some kids had missed more interesting prospects of a Sunday evening to make it to the trip, but the house made everything worth it. This was a Sunday they weren’t likely to forget for a long, long time.