The Homecoming

The Ride Back Home

Image Courtesy – Sanjeev Kumar on

The eyes couldn’t keep the excitement within, shouting out loud, informing everyone of their eagerness to see what they missed for 10 years.  The head leapt out of the windows repeatedly, while the lungs showed a keen desire to take in as much air as possible, reminiscing about the feel they were so used to, early on in their life.

The roads had turned asphalt carefully painted in the middle and on the sides, letting every vehicle know their boundaries as they try out speeding each other.

The trees seemed a little scared, tentatively staying away from the road, while the ones that used to bend over and try to touch the endless path slowly have disappeared completely now.

The romance probably turned scary, as the tiny road became bigger, eating up the space of the vegetation, pushing them further down to their limited space, while meandering through the jungle with belligerent ferocity.

The large rocks and boulders appear small and terrified, the leaves are left gloomy with dirt, the early morning sun, though still caressed the muddy trees with its soft rays showing no bias in its love and care.

His eyes were carefully noticing the changes, the changes he used to only hear about during his stay in the metro city till now.

The change, however, swooped upon his ancestral home as well, and he realized, when his eyes stared at the unknown buildings trying to decipher from where did they appear, large enough to house at least 100 trucks and mushrooming up in every small market, on the way to his lost home.

There were places where his eyes would refuse to budge during the younger days; one such place being the sweet shop, where he would stare endlessly at the mouth-watering jalebis. 

There was also the curiosity with which they used to gaze at the everlasting focus of the tailor working with his sewing machine; the never-ending smoke of the bidi emanating from the nostrils of the store owner stocking up almost every kind of the colourful candy; large bags of animal feed sat outside the store lazily in the afternoon sun, as he waited for a partner to play cards to kill time.

 The jalebis have lost their eminence now, replaced by other sweets; the important ones now sat in the more expensive, temperature-controlled storage; samosas took place of jalebis on the counter, while the frontage now showcases tasty cola advertisements over the humble chai.

‘Let’s stop for some refreshment,’ the driver announced.

He looked around; the market extended right up to even inside the gorge, where he was scared to fall as a kid.  The large columns supporting the concrete structure stood proudly as if making fun of nature, reflecting the kind of development that has taken place and inviting the customers for a quick snack.

‘This is a nice place to go to,’ the driver suggested.

His reluctant steps followed; a familiar aroma suddenly hit his nostrils as he abruptly turned around.

A man on the roadside was selling tea, the entire set-up placed against the natural rocky wall.  He was still offering them in the small ancient cups, the ones from which only the elders used to drink when he accompanied them on a visit to the market.

The old face of the tea-seller broke into a smile, as his feet began moving towards him, his eyes gazed at the bearded old face, the lips were holding a half-lit bidi as he asked him for tea.

There was a nod of the head, a silent acknowledgement to the request, as he quickly picked up the kettle to pour and quickly handover the hot beverage. 

The first sip and his lips locked themselves instantly, the heavy sugar wildly announcing its imposing presence in the humble chai. The taste quickly reminded him of how it was when his father would offer him the first sip, before finishing the rest of it, as he would stare at his face, the aftertaste of the sweet beverage would gradually turn sour, but he still relished it.

He held the cup proudly in his hands and gestured at the driver to let him know he will join him shortly, who was still prodding him to eat something.

He, however, enjoyed the tea, aware he was drinking from a cup reserved for the grown-ups. He, after all, finally is no more a child now!!

19 thoughts on “The Homecoming

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