Staying away from home kinda makes you homesick. The tendency to sulk and brood over the comforts of your home, craving for home cooked food, love, caring and attention accentuated every time I returned Delhi after a break and promised myself to cut down on my home coming trips so that I could do away with this lingering feeling of missing home so much. So strong was this feeling that once me and a couple of friends literally screamed in sheer delight when we spotted a Maruti 800 bearing Assam registration near India Gate!
The episode which made me scribble this in the first place is rather interesting.
It’s about a person called Tamuli. Tamuli is my Aita’s tenant; he still is a tenant as on date. He frequented Delhi quite often and Aita would send me cakes, biscuits, pickles, pithas and sometimes even vegetable tenga through him. During those days I had a pager and he would send me the weirdest of message to come and collect my things from him. He usually stayed in one particular hotel in Ashoka Road. I burst out laughing out loud and so did my class mate Pooja when my pager beeped and I read this “Please meet me at room no.102 after 6.00 p.m. – Tamuli”!
It was so amusing that the message was relayed to everyone in the class and we all had a good laugh. As I got ready to visit Tamuli, by the grace of God I chanced upon to meet Silver! I tagged Silver along with me, I told him that I had some urgent work and that if he’d accompany me I’d treat him to momos in Dilli Haat later in the evening. Silver readily agreed and we hopped in a DTC bus to meet Tamuli.
Tamuli was in the lobby and was walking up and down the aisle impatiently. As he saw me with Silver tagged along his smile slightly paled!
He said, “I thought you’d come alone”.
“Well, we had some work together and so thought of dropping here and meeting you, why?” I asked
He didn’t say anything and suggested that we either go to his room or sit in the restaurant. He asked “Are you people hungry?”
Before I could say anything Silver said “Oh! Yes! We are famished”.
So we went to the restaurant – Coconut Grove which incidentally was famous for its South Indian cuisine during those days. I don’t know whether it still holds true after these long years. We ordered chicken dosas and filter coffee. The dosas, I must tell you were one of the best I’ve ever tasted and it was big enough for three people actually!
Tamuli’s wallet was slimmer by a thousand rupees for three dosas and three filter coffees. Having filled our appetite as we walked out of the restaurant I asked Tamuli if Aita had sent anything.
He sheepishly looked at me and said “No”. He further added that he “wanted to meet me”; that I should take him “shopping” and also earnestly urged me not to tell a soul (read Aita & his WIFE) that he had met me in this visit of his. The reason was simple, my semester exams were approaching. Aita knew it and hence she didn’t send anything this time.
We decided to meet the next day since I didn’t have classes. I said I’d arrive by noon and would show him around.
The next day as promised I reached the hotel right on dot. I called him from the reception and within ten minutes or so he came. This time he was rather pleased to find that Silver was not tagging along with me. I took him to the British Council Library first where I had to return a few books and he was left speechless to see the library. Our very own District library was the only one he thought was a magnum opus!
Then I took him shopping. We first walked through Janpath, since he couldn’t make up his mind what to pick and what not to we headed to Sarojini market where he picked up a few odd stuff. And he kept suggesting me that I should buy something for myself too. I kept declining this offer. From Sarojini we went to Ansal Plaza and finally to Dilli Haat where he bought a few bed covers. He handed me one inspite of me repeated Nos. he said he wouldn’t have my No as an answer and we parted our ways, though I am hundred and one percent sure he would have loved to kept me latched on to him longer.
When I narrated this to my friends they were amused and at the same time they said I was an “Idiot” not to have shopped at his expense!
The story doesn’t ends here.
I kept recalling how he pleaded me not to tell anyone back home that he met me in his this visit. I didn’t understand what was wrong in telling Aita about it.
My exams were over and I decided to visit home before our summer projects started, very gleefully forgetting about the “homesick” part!
It was good to be home again. I t was good to be treated like a princess and all I did the whole day was eat, sleep and meet friends or go for long drives.
It was quite “routine” for Tamuli and his wife to have a cuppa tea with Aita at 7.30 p.m. I never understood this arrangement and I was never keen to be part of their conversations in any ways.
It was just this routine thing going on when I reached home after meeting some friends. Aita asked to me sit down with them and try the “kata nimkis” Tamuli’s wife had made. I tasted them and I must appreciate that she did a fairly nice job.
Suddenly the Devil in me came to the forefront. I asked Tamuli’s wife offhandedly “Bou, has the colour of the bed covers faded?”
She asked me “Which bed covers?”
“The ones Tamuli da bought the last time he was in Delhi, in fact he gave me one and when I washed the colours came out.” I also advised her to wash the bed spreads separately just in case!
To this date I’ll never forget how constipated and cramped Tamuli’s face looked, the erroneous hunch on his wife’s look and my poor Aita all bewildered!
And as for my own self I never thought I could get this bitchy!
Bou – in Assamese brother’s wife is referred as bou
Da: short form for dada – brother.