Memories of childhood seldom fade away. The early years of my childhood were spent at a baby-sitter .It was a period when the demand of baby-sitting services had clearly started exceeding the supply , due to more and more women becoming career-oriented. My mom was no exception! And truly speaking I am proud she is not…
After school, I used to drag myself to this jaded house where amma used to be busy forcing food down some poor kids throats as it was usually lunch time . She used to think I am a well-behaved kid and for this reason the noble gesture was not showered onto me anytime. I still remember rushing to the balcony of the house (which had a black paling so that no one of little devils jump out of frustration) and take my tiffin there which mom used to pack for me before leaving for office.
I have always been petite and used to fit perfectly on the wall of the balcony and hang my legs down on the side facing the busy road. I loved looking at people the entire afternoon, the cars and the stray dogs, the ice-cream vendors, the rickshaws standing on the sides of the road, rag-pickers, men and women always rushing to reach some other part of the globe. ….For me, the road was a world in itself. Childhood is a time when something as immaterial as a road can be the most exciting part of one’s life.
My naani was however a lady with a strong view that children must always be brought up by their mothers and no one else…(traditional inflexible mind). I am glad that my mom never budged and in the end..My stubborn naani shifted from bangalore to our town and adopted me from the baby-sitter. The apartment she took was right across the same road, just parallel to my ex-baby-sitter.
I wouldn’t complain, the days I spent with my naani were awesome. My obsession changed from looking at the road the entire afternoon to the new Colour TV she bought for me . Gradually, the busy road lost all its significance from my life .Naani is a small, fat cute lady with a typical Punjabi accent and is entertaining to the core. I spent 10 years – 12 hours every day of my life with her. I call her “badima” and aptly so.
However after those 10 years , my priorities started changing. Late-night parties and friends suddenly replaced badima. I started spending time after college-hours at the beach with my gang and seldom used to meet her. As I finished graduation, I got a job in Kolkata and being in the exceedingly busy hotel industry, badima’s calls on my cell phone went unanswered most times.
It’s been 3 years I have stayed away from her and the last time I went home …naani was no longer the same. She has grown old and has nothing much to pass her time. I asked her casually so what you do the entire day , she replied ..” I just sit by the balcony and look at the road most times ….its the only thing that keeps me busy”….
The road is still the same…just the spectators have changed and their priorities….i thought.