Home, was a different kind of feeling that day.
The sand was wet from the rain that beat down relentlessly since morning and smelled of exotic scents that couldn’t be named. The sky had decided to change its robes for welcoming dusk and had decided upon a crimson hue from its wardrobe, adorning the puffy grey clouds with the soft orange that threatened to peep out from behind. Dusk was finally settling in.
It was time for the evening pooja. The chiraad had been lit, illuminating her face in the dark, the only patch of light that was to be seen as the evening sky began to darken again. The street lights hadn’t twinkled itself awake yet and she wondered when they would so she could pay a visit to the tiny tulsi plant at the gate entrance to her house. The chants from the temple across the road drifted up to her ears and she could even see how the crowd would now be craning their necks and pushing each other to have the longest and best glimpse of Lord Shiva in his full glory after the deeparaadhana like He would bless those who stood before Him for the longest time. She giggled to herself at that thought and set her chiraad down at the steps. She could now hear the main bells that signified that the ceremony was over for the evening and now the devotees could patiently (or rather not) wait for the payasam to be distributed by the priest. She wished she could be there again today and regretted not planning earlier at the thought of the delicious payasam.
Inside, her mom was humming a happy tune, terribly impressed at the pazhamporis she was preparing after what seemed like an eternity. She called out to her to grab a quick bite before she presented it to the males at the table, as she knew it would disappear before she even set it down. Such were the fights that went about for homemade snacks.
Home was a different feeling today. It felt of a childhood that she’d long tucked away in a corner of her head, she never bothered opening.
It smelt of oil lit vilakku, old note books, and snacks prepped only for the tired kids who came back after that important game of cricket with the ones from the street across.
It reminded her of the games on tree tops, of raw mangoes smeared with salt and chilly powder, of scraped knees and dirty elbows, breaking windows, quick baths and talcum powder, daily visits to the temple in the evening and of people who had long gone beyond her circumference of friends.
Home, made her reminiscent of those days and miss that innocence which slowly faded and was replaced by something she couldn’t exactly point out.
Home, she felt, finally reminded her of why she had always needed to come back, time and again.
Home felt of who she once was and whom she will never get to be again, leaving her wondering why she ever grew up.
Looking up at the sky which had now turned a deep shade of blue, she picturised her God and murmured a prayer that she knew could never be fulfilled, “Take me back.”