Once in a while homesickness hits me and it brings a bout of nostalgia with it. And when it does I find myself yearning for those sultry summers, crowded bus rides, long waits in endless queues at the bank, post office etc., - the same things that I used to detest about India a few years back.
Being the first born and having a tom boy streak in me, I often took the role of the son my parents never had. I would replace burnt fuse coils, climb up the attic to fetch rarely used vessels for my mom (she saved them for special occasions ..or when we had company), run errands like going grocery shopping at the Teppakulam market (I was an expert bargainer), going to the bank to withdraw money - going to the postoffice to send a registered mail with acknowledgement form. And mind you this was when I was about 8 or 9 years old - not even a highschooler yet. I would usually wait for an adult to cross the road and I would stay close to them while they crossed it.
I would like to narrate an incident that happenned on one such occasion. I was asked to run an errand to buy something. I am unable to recall what it was now. But I do remember that I did not even have to cross the road and that the place/store where I had to go was only a few minutes walk away from my home. I was holding a small basket (the kind that is woven with plastic wires) and a hundred rupee note in my hand(That was a one time thing - my mom did not have change - I was usually given a maximum of Rs20.00.) After this incident I remember constantly chiding myself for not having held these two items one in each hand. I had both of them in my right hand and half way through my walk I realized that something was wrong...I checked my hand - and you guessed right. The hundred rupee note was gone! I felt a cold hand squeeze my heart...I hastily checked inside the basket, hoping that it would be there....It was not there...my heart was sinking to the depths by the second...and already, tears were welling up my eyes. I backtracked and searched for the hundred rupee note all the way back home, all the time furiously wiping the tears off my eyes...I didn't want to attract the attention of the passers by...still somehow a couple of them stopped and enquired if I was alright "enna paapa aachu?" I thanked them and said I was fine and kept searching. I looked for it thrice (walked back and forth that stretch of sidewalk or platform as we used to call it) and finally had to accept that I had lost it.
I came home crying and my parents were so alarmed.(My dad had just come home for lunch). I explained what had happened and I could see the relief on their eyes. They were terrified that something worse had happened. They consoled me that it was OK...that I didn't do anything wrong....The worst part was that- their understanding didn't make me feel better at all...I blamed myself and could not forgive myself for losing Hundred Rupees of my father's hard earned money. I was only about 8 or 9 but I knew the value of money. I knew that, that was reason for the tense atmosphere in our house during the last week of every month.
Something happened yesterday at home that triggered this post. Something that struck a cord with this incident. We had been on a moving spree these past few months[For those who know me : From Ypsi, MI to Lafayette, IN to Dyersburg, TN to Farmington, MI]. We had dumped our stuff in our cars and had not unloaded everything until yesterday. We hooked up our cable and internet services yesterday and I wanted to hook up the modem with the free wireless router that I had gotten while I bought my Dell laptop. I had been saving it all this while, because I knew that eventually when we moved into our own apartment, we would need it. And yes, you guessed right again - it was gone. Searched the car thrice, searched the entire house numerous times to no avail. And I started crying. Leo could not understand it period. He chided me for getting worked up over something as trivial as a $50.00 Router which I had anyways gotten for free. And I don't blame him. He was right.
Just makes me realize how somethings can get so ingrained in you. It was not the $50 that I was lamenting for - it was the fact that I had disappointed myself yet again. I had lost another Hundred Rupee note.