Yes, the reincarnation of Gurukunj is finally complete.
It has been reborn. As Nakshatra. Old makes way for new.
The owners of gurukunj (yes, I call them owners and not tenants) are happy to have got new apartments with an extra room thrown in. A brand new structure that has tried to adhere to most of the new and contemporary norms of architecture. Everything is new. New layout, new patio, new compound, new entrance, new address, everything. Even the residents are going to be new. In addition to the previous owners, this new structure will have an equal number of new guys making it their abode. New, everything is new.
And everyone is so happy. And for obvious reasons. What have they lost? A few precious memories? In any case, it would be grossly unjust to hold that against them. Everybody wants to move on and it is the right thing too.
I understand their euphoria and I am happy for all of them. Yet, something holds me from rejoicing with them. Actually, it’s just that I cannot let go. I cannot let go of my memories. I want to hold on to the memories of the home that my Papa lived in, the walls of the house that bore testimony to my most precious moments spent with him, the floor he walked on. Everything has been replaced and nothing will ever be the same. No matter how hard I try to be practical, I just cannot let go of the memories of the place where I grew up. Where I played, fought, won, lost as a little girl, where I made my very first friends, celebrated every year of growing up, where I learnt some of the most important lessons of my life, where my overall personality was shaped, where I morphed from an awkward teenager into a gracious lady. From this place, I was married off and set forth to set up my own home but Gurukunj, mere Papa ka ghar, was above everything, as is true for any girl. After marriage, whenever I came to Gurukunj, I came home. It was always so welcoming when the uncles and aunties stopped to enquire about my wellbeing.
In the past few years, Gurukunj saw a lot of pain. When, one after the other, we lost our dear ones. Phansekar kaka, Joshi baba, Kakodkar uncle, Pendse kaki, Desai kaki, Lad kaka, and my Papa. At some point, it seemed like the heavens had conspired against us and literally snatched away all these people so suddenly that every time, a painful news came to me, I just couldn’t believe nor accept it. Especially after the sudden and premature demises of my Papa, Kakodkar uncle and Phansekar kaka, who were all great pals and whose friendship dated back to the days when they had just started their careers at the State Bank and had to get married yet, Gurukunj became more precious as all that was left behind were the memories of these guys. The houses that they had painstaking made into warm homes, who had provided so well for their children, who were complete people; Gurukunj had all those memories associated with them.
Gurukunj might have become old, and infested with termites and all that, but it had what nothing in this whole world has. It had memories of my Papa, of room no.17 that was my cocoon, of my childhood, my teenage life and a whole plethora of such events. And now, all that is gone. Destroyed forever. Now, it will only continue to live in our minds.
I don’t mean that nobody there feels the loss, but I guess it’s not the same. I agree, one should welcome change with open arms. I do too, only if half-heartedly.
And every time that I will now go visit there; I wonder if it will ever be the same.
Will I be ever going back to mere Papa ka ghar????????
I don’t think so.