Saturday, October 27, 2012

From the Diary Of an Army Brat- The one about home (2)

Winston Churchill once said "We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us."
I din't get to shape my home till very recently and that too not as much as I would have liked, but my home did shape me. Growing up I believed home was where I lived at that time. I dint know how long I would get to live there in that house or even in that town but that was home to me then. Not the half hearted 'Oh we're just renting this place out for a bit- house' . It was home, as much as the place I'd come from with the still alive promise of coming back to as much as the new place we'd go to, (after a few days of skepticism, of course).
Here, I talk about all my homes. The first five were here.

House #6 Allahabad (UP) We stayed in a colony right across a tiny railway station. There was this really pretty room in this house that had a concrete jaali for a wall facing the backyard. Jenny ate in that room and this one time a garden lizard entered the room and Jenny ran behind it in circles till mamma rescued the lizard! I liked going with Anthony bhaiya to the railway station just to watch people. We made up stories. No, actually he made up stories about everybody that caught our attention. There was this man we saw always. On a wheelchair. He dint have a leg and his fake leg would hang behind this wheelchair. Anthony bhaiya would creep me out saying it was real. Bhaiya would also give that man 10 rupees every now and then (when he spotted us and came our way). Anthony bhaiya would take me to the Church near my school (which was my first non Army School school) every now and then. We celebrated our first Rakhi in this house. Bhaiya helped me pick out Rakhis from the tiny market next to the railway station that cropped up all of a sudden before the festival. We bought one for me, one for Anthony bhaiya and one for Hursh. We were a happy trio that day!

House #7 Amarbari (Assam) Our stay in Amarbari was a short one. About 3 months. This was a small, but very open house. My first 'basha' We dint have a lawn in the front like we did previously. We had a lovely sprawling backyard though. The front room was narrow and long. I realized later that it was a veranda with mesh. The room inside, was huge. So this became our drawing and dining room separated by a wooden partition. The kitchen was tiny and almost completely open at the back this would lead to the glorious backyard I just mentioned. Here is where I consciously started to listen to music. I would sit in the veranda and play music while doing my homework after school (which I hated btw) I went to the Assam rifles school here and I was in the first grade only to shift to APS Tezpur a month later and a month after that, my class teacher threw me out (OK , not literally. I was sent to the second grade). I loved my first standard in APS Tezpur! I knew people and enjoyed the rides to school and back in our 3 tonne school bus. My class teacher told my mum that I finished my class work and home work and went around talking to the kids while they were still on their class work! What a liar! She gave me extra work on 3-4 different occasions easily! Then she'd ask me to mind the class and that, to be honest was her fault!

House #8 Harchura (Phulbari, Assam) Harchura is a tea estate near this village called Phulbari. I remember this house so well! Everything about this house was absolutely beautiful! Our home here was on a slightly elevated portion that I called my hill. The road divided our house and the other Officer's accommodations (which my mother would have preferred) since those were barracks and hence joined. So you could actually enter each other's homes without getting out depending on.. erm mutual consent/ understanding. But our's was this pretty house with large windows and glass paneled doors. You'd enter from the side and be greeted by a row of trees! In the middle of the front yard was a rubber tree that I taught myself to climb and sat on every time we 'sat out'. I taught my friend Deepu to do that too. We had crisscross cane fencing here. Some people owned elephants here and we'd stop everything to see the family of elephants move. Tail in trunk.
Inside, we had a tiny drawing room, a huge kitchen (that we also dined in) with a large window. A really big bathroom and one tiny bedroom shared by mamma, Hursh, me and Jenny. Papa was in Tawang and this one time when he came home, he got Rambo with him. This guy (an Apso) looked like a monkey.
We had a huge kitchen garden to the other side of the house after which the rocks got prominent. Anthony bhaiya and Ramesh bhaiya would make Hursh do push ups here. They said they were making a man out of him. lol. Harchura deserves a post of it's own to be honest! Oh wait! The backyard. What backyard? The Tea estate was on one side and the jungle started on the other!
School wise, nothing had changed. The same 3 tonne school bus, Ravi bhaiya drove us to school in it. Oh and the putting me in second grade part, I hated it! I had trouble with the statement sums in math. First grade was so easy. I liked my classmates there. The only thing that made me comfortable was knowing that my class teacher was our neighbour's daughter in Bhuj. That dint last too long because she left to be an air-hostess in a few months.

It's difficult letting Harchura go but I should (for now) go to..

House #9 Guwahati (Assam) We lived at a place called Mountain Shadow since the entire colony was shaded by hills behind it. The first house here was on the ground floor. These were different from the blocks at other places because these were blue. That's right. Air Force attachment. This was a very typical MES house Our garden in the front was beautiful. The entire boundary had marigold flowers and there were bushes of jasmine in front of the house after which the lawn started  There were lots of kids here to play with so that way, this place was a lot of fun.

House #10 Guwahati (Assam) This was on the first floor. So that meant we had a terrace after long. The long corridor would open into my room and I would skate in it. I swear I never once walked at home during vacations! Hursh got his own room and a hammock was tied. After our neighbours (who lived diagonally opposite to us) were posted out, all the kids from our block would play in their garden. They had a sand pit dug up in their garden and we had a ball playing in it. I remember one  December evening, One uncle who lived in the lane behind ours, drove around in his Maruti 800 calling out to the kids as he drove past each block. I ran down to find a lot of my friends there already. Kids were stuffed in the front seat and the back and some in the dikki. (boot) and we went to the institute to enact the Jesus nativity scene. I got to be one of the angels and I took my part very seriously. Got wings stitched to this long white dress. Hursh got to be a shepherd.

A few more and I should be able to fit them in the next post!


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