The journey on plane – spent sometime chatting with an aspiring Airhostess, and then watched Tom n Jerry on my lappu with her and couple of my new friends, nearly my age – maybe 6 and 8. Once the plane landed, a whiff of musky, sultry air announced arrival of Kolkata; like the air from a long closed room.
Then for two days, reached out to new islands, validated older ties. Amazing feeling of overnight adda, and after breakfast chat with two lone souls at home. Spoke to grand-dad; at 94 he took me on a long lost trip to Manas Sarobar, Kedarnath and Badrinath on foot. When he was having the Chinese fish I ordered, he enquired how much did it cost; and I replied that they said the Indubhushan’s grandson need not pay. The laughter was almost childlike, and he was happy that now everyone is aware of Indubhushon. He was happy that finally what his swimming, diving, wrestling, hunting medals couldn’t achieve; what the photographer at New Theaters and Times of India can not achieve is finally achieved; people now know him.
Met people, new and old; felt walls and layers. Couldn’t lower my walls to most. At one place tried holding to it dearly, and then it crumbled. Cried at most unexpected place. Walked alone on the roads of Golf Green and Gariahat. Rediscovered a lot of long lost scents. Discovered new scents, that people said are false. But I guess for me every scent has a special meaning, and I treasure them. Joginder bhai, our phuchkawala was not there – “Desh gayela hey”, without him it doesn’t taste the same. Kept searching for each tree, each fence and each window – all said stories to me.
Consoled some worried souls. Some who do not deserve to carry worry on their shoulders after so many years. Its time they take time easy. Ammi needed the shoulder to cry. Babai needed the friend to discuss and solve. They both needed their son to be happy. Layers and walls again; at times they were cracking; felt the built up of moisture and fled; came back to re-establish their pillars.
The walks charged my batteries, the nights spent chatting unburdened the soul a bit. Lost some, but surprisingly started believing that may be, after ages, it seems I have someone whom I can share with. Someone with whom I can share as equal, to give and ask for a shoulder. But then there was a scare, thought like a curtain falling on the show. Came back and found my fear to be unfound; a friend can always be counted on – isn’t it?