Agartala diary

This Dussehra/ Durga Puja break found me, with my mother and two friends in the city of Agartala to visit my dad's friend's parents. The visit left quite an impression on me, inducing me to type furiously on this fine wintery Sunday morning.

This trip had been long due. They had made my mother promise to visit them atleast once. And while we youngsters were not keen on a place like Agartala for a break, finally the stars aligned for it all to happen, and how glad am I that it did.

The sight of them at the airport, tears in their eyes as they waved goodbye left a choke in my throat, tears threatening to well up. Their loneliness and readiness to accept us all as their own leaves me with a rather strong sense of frustration. It just seems so wrong, that in the pursuit of all there is in the world, their kin has left them in an isolated house near the airport to fend for themselves. At some point my mother remarked to them how amazing it was that their kids were so accomplished and had achieved so much in life, and the old lady said- what's the point, they are not here.

They invited us both for lunch the last day in Agartala- the two watching over us as we ate, scolding us for not finishing all the food that they had laid before us; the old man ambling up and down the stairs carrying photographs he wanted to show us and mishti doi he wanted to feed us; their 11 years old toothless dog called Ronaldo soaking up the affection he received from us with a sense of childlike glee, and to top it all, the old man embracing me before we left, and saying- don't forget me, I am your 'dadu'- it all left a lasting impression on me.

And I wish, I so wish, that children would never forget the parents and relatives that raised them- those hands that fed and fussed over them over the years wither with time- wrinkles form, and souls age. Agreed, there is the spirit in all to reach for the stars, and to revel in the glitter that the world has to offer- but all that time, there is also a need, a dire need, to hold on to that hands that raised us.


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