After a decade, I went back to my ancestral home. Since my work and city life keep me occupied, I can't travel much. As a student, every summer vacation, I visited there. It is a big house amidst eight acres of coconut and mango farms. I still remember cousins would play hide and seek in the dark corridors of the house.
This Diwali, my uncle could not come due to ill health. So my mom told, she would go there and light the diyas in the house. My father was busy, so my mother took me there. I drove through the bumpy village roads. While on the drive, I imagined the nostalgic experiences I had there. Are the farms, animals, temples and flowering trees still there in their glory? Just two days before we arrived, we got the house cleaned. The servants would go on leave for Diwali. We arrived in the evening. We went in and settled ourselves. The house had everything we needed for a couple of days' stay. I was exhausted by driving on those village roads.
My mother asked, "Will you come to the grocery shop? I have to buy some oil and other stuff. I need to go to the temple too."
"Mom, I am too tired of the journey. If you don't mind, I will sleep properly for some time."
"Okay, you do have rest. I have kept some cookies and milk on the table". My mom picked up an empty grocery bag and a small empty oil jar. She proceeded to the market. I saw my mom till she neared the gate, which was like thirty meters. Next, I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, it was slightly raining.
My grandmother was sitting peacefully on the easy chair and looking outside at the farm. Looking at me, she said, "Woke up dear, you must be tired of the extensive journey."
"These roads are terrible, grandma."
"Your mother has kept milk and biscuits on the table. Go have them."
"Yes grandma, she told me afore departing. I will relish some." I went to the dining table and was having the delicacies. My grandmother was walking in the long corridor with a walking stick in her hand.
"Grandma, you are getting younger day by day," I teased.
She mocked me back, "since you young guys are over here, my radiance has increased."
I walked with my grandmother in the corridors talking about my work, city life, etc.
Eventually, my grandmother sat on her rolling chair outside on the verandah, and I sat down on the floor, looking out at the farm. Rain has slightly cleared, but still, the environment was cosy.
"The servants have been away for two days on Diwali vacation. This house has been very dull. Today, finally, there is some noise here as you guys came. I am delighted.", grandma smiled.
"Yes, grandma, the climate outside is also very dull." Until then, we saw my mother coming inside from the gate.
"Oh look, your mom is back. The rose apples are delicious this time, have them before you leave". Before I could reply, my mother reached.
Looking at me sitting in the verandah, she asked, "how are you feeling right now? All refreshed?"
"Alright, mom, grandma was talking about the rose apples."
My mother smiled, "Oh, so you still remember it. Earlier before you came, your grandmother would select and hoard the most delicious rose apples for you."
At that moment, a shock went into my body. I suddenly remembered my grandmother had died two years ago. I was abroad and could not even attend her funeral. I looked back at the easy chair, and there was no one on it.
Was it a dream? Was I hallucinating? If it was a dream, thank God for such a wondrous, indelible dream. It was the best Diwali gift I could ever receive.
NOTE: The first version of "Malnad Mysteries" is already available in the amazon. This is the unpolished part of second seriesEdited by harihar.pai - 6 months ago
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