19D, Golf Club Road, SBI Quarters... The place holds all my childhood memories, and beloved people with whom I’ve lost all contact. Dad’s job compelled us to leave the place while I was in 6th grade. Mobile and email were still off-limits to me, so going away physically meant cutting off all means of communication. I never heard from any of those old pals again. We didn’t get any chance to revisit the place for the next couple of years due to Mom’s serious health issues. By the time she recovered, I had settled myself in the new environment, made a new set of friends and didn’t bother much about 19D.
But as fate would have it, I got admitted in a Physics tuition at Ballygunj recently, meaning that every Friday I would have to pass 19D on my way. This apparently was a nice opportunity to visit the old place again. But week after week went by, I never found myself ready to ask driver uncle to stop the car in front of that rusty gate.
I’m well aware that most SBI employees have transferable jobs. What if, once inside that place, I find all the old familiar faces missing? What if my favorite guava tree isn’t there anymore? What if the guards stop me at the gate as a stranger (they obviously will)?
I love passing by the Quarters, but I will never break journey there. It will spoil my game. I would keep the place and all the people (and of course the guava tree) intact in my memory as one single entity, rather than venture into the place and find an unknown world.
Nostalgia is a strange feeling, almost like a drug. You may hate it, but you can never have enough of it. It gives a kind of painful satisfaction.
People, who have read “The Night Train at Deoli” by Ruskin Bond, would call me a copycat for using some of his words in the above note. Quite justified, but I just couldn’t find a better way of expressing this on my own.
Right turn from the main road…, a narrow alley…, a series of gates…, last one with a SBI symbol…, a glimpse of the inner-world…dark pitched path…flooded with the evening sunrays…unknown children playing…, left turn…, main road again.
Though no record has been kept, the Physics tuition have been blessed with 100% attendance from me till date. ^_^