Hope this last letter of mine finds you hale and hearty.
By the time you will receive this letter, I will have gone far away. Back in the lap of the elements that created me.
I still remember when I saw you the last time. I was standing silently in a corner of that big terrace of yours.
You came running up the stairs (I know you were running. The music of your anklets said so. Your short, quick breath also told it.)
You ran your daily errands and left silently. Did not spare a glance for me.
This morning, you did not come for your daily walk. And by noon, it was time for me to go.
I am glad you were not there at that time. For, I still remember the curious look on that 7 year old face of yours when your grandmother, along with other lady from your neighbourhood, was setting me up in that corner.
The mud plasters on my walls … your first experience of shaping a structure out of clay, mud and water.
Few years later, you grasped that this is the fundamental of pottery and kuchcha architecture.
And aeons later, you understood the strength and determination exhibited by this simple combination.
I also remember how you all used to relish those wintery delights of daal makhani, cocumber salad and tandoori rotis, complete with my earthy aromas.
The wonderful times when the male members of the house would set up the fire in my hearth; you kids would come rushing with dough container, water, clarified butter, caserols; followed by the ladies who would then set about their task of making chappatis. Then you would all get a chance to apply clarified butter and stack the chappatis in the casseroles.
With the big joint family, your mother had ample support to handle this exerting and dangerous task. Your grandmother and your aunt were always willing to lend their hands (or rather I should say arms).
But of late your mother had to handle everything on her own. And wow, did she just handle it. She even made the task a fun for me.
She would experiment with stuffed tandoori paranthas. So, I never knew what challenge would be presented … aloo , onion, paneer … until it was put up against my walls. And then it was upto me to turn it to a delicious treat for all of you.
In the process her arms got many a scaldings and burns, and I am sorry for each one of them.
I know you thought of me as something of permanence. So, you never saw me ageing.
I was there when you fell down and hurt yourself and I was there when your nephew fell down and hurt himself.
I was there when you were sad and crying and I was there when you were happy and smiling.
I was there when you played badminton with your sister. And I was there when your sister got married.
But, trust me. 20 years is a long time of association with fire, sun, rain and storms. It had taken its toll. I was not the same old healthy myself.
The rains this year put the final nail in the coffin. I was all done. So done. Finally, it was time to say good bye.
I knew no more renovations could save me from the inevitable. Not with electric tandoors (I know you still haven’t gotten the hang of it), dish tv installations on the rooftop, the monkeys prowling day and night, and fuel availability at all time low.
I have no regrets. I have had a great life. But the grass always appear greener on the other side. Does it not?
One more season, month, week or day. Anything … nothing.
So I guess, I should let you know, that tomorrow when you will go up for the walk, this friend of yours will not be standing in the corner. It would have left forever.
But don’t be disheartened. I heard your mother telling your granny that they can always get my sibling and put it up again. (Yes, the ones like me are available readymade now-a-days. Ah! How times change.)
So be good to it. Who knows, it might just be me ... re-incarnated and rejuvenated.
Take care. Bbye. And pay my regards to everybody back there.
P.S. I will miss you.