The House That Built You

It seemed like the clock was suddenly moving in reverse motion. Amidst the yellow fall leaves in the backyard, he stood and looked at what seemed like a different age, a different time, and a different him. As he inched forward, his feet seemed to awaken a thousand fallen leaves from their slumber. The gate had creaked open this time though, and the grass stood a tad taller than it used to. The sunlight sieving through the trees looked faded, just like everything else about the place. The house that stood in front of him, that he'd once called home, now stood amidst overgrown bushes, like an old painting slowly draining off its colour, just like his cheeks that flushed bright red, and his hair that once shone dark black.

He looked at the dark wooden door with the number plate - 13,  still intact, as if some strange power had preserved the sheen through all these years. The number spelt doom for most people, the unlucky 13. And yet, for him, it was an inseperable part of his life, in almost everything he did. He turned the doorknob slowly, knowing and yet not knowing, what beholds him. With the stale air that rushed out through the small crack in the door, rushed in memories of his childhood, memories of the times when life was as simple as the cricket game every evening.

If you could drink the water while the river is still bluewhile the winds still fresh and the soul still new
you'd give anything to see your reflection
in the myriad memories of the house that built you.

He was only 5 when he'd come here for the first time, too young to care where he was, how his life will be, and what he's gonna make out if it all when he grows old. The hand that was writing the book of his life was still warming up with a cup of coffee, and was in no mood to twist the story in unsuspecting turns. Life was good - the only thing that mattered was how to finish off the boss in the new video game he'd started playing. Cricket was always compulsory - whether played or watched on TV, and studies were a no-brainer. Dressing up was a trivial task and talking to a girl was never about getting her to have coffee with you. The world was white, the world was black.

The carpet has little footprints from the little white shoe,
The room upstairs where you did your homework smells of mildew.
Buried under the cobwebs and the dust of ages,
all you want to take back are memories from the house that built you.

He made his way across the hall and noticed the old clock that chimed every hour, still looked fresh and ready to sing. He found the old drawing books he used to paint mickey and donald duck in different poses, and got a glimpse of his first signature in them. He'd once thought he'd become an artist when he grew older. How naive was he to think that way, how confused too. The old wooden table with his name etched on it reminded him of the long sickness he went through, and how this table had doubled up into a dining touble as well as activity center when he was too weak to get up from the bed. He felt a strange connection to everything around him, as if everything was still trying to call out to him, in some inaudible frequency range, reminding him of the olden days. The diary where he wrote his first stupid poems and strange things looked as if it were scribbled only a while ago, and yet he knew that it had been abandoned a long long time back. He had grown out of these diaries. He had a blog now, something that made him feel part of society, and something that increased the number of results google showed on his name. Identities that were once made with school id cards with stamp size pics had ceased to be acceptable as genuine proofs, ever since characters had started to be built on the internet.

Problems were more but the worries were few
For a change there was no payment ever due
Listen closely and you might still hear the sound
of an innocent, hearty laugh in the bricks of the house the built you.

He found his cricket bats and wickets still neatly stacked together, and suddenly found himself in the middle of the makeshift playground, running after the bowl, trying in vain to save yet another boundary. "Why can't you run faster?", was the usual rhetoric, with which even God seemed to agree with a sideways smirk. Another day, the sky in shades of pink and orange, and yet another bowl delivered full length to the bulky batsman. The red bowl was hit hard, a bit flighty, and he was at mid-on. This time, he told himself, this time he'll prove it to them what a great fielder he is. This time, they will respect him. This time, he will catch the red bowl coming on at 100 kph and make them proud. The bowl came straight to his face and he put his left hand in front of it just in time. It hit him too hard, a loud thud followed and he found himself back - staring at the old bat, looking at his hand that thankfully didn't have to bear a life long burden of his daredevilry.

Buried in the old playground, your innocence lies
Where the wind still whispers to the old swings, sweet lullabies
To have wings and gamble to win, was but an innocent lesson that upon you grew,
as you moved away from the house that built you

He had come here after all these years not for an annual inspection though. He had a higher purpose. After all these years of wandering, trying to realize his childhood dreams, he knew he had outgrown his childhood itself, too early, too fast. He thought the touch of all these memories will heal the void in his heart, will let him dream again just like he used to, and make him see his future in technicolour hues. He was someone else outside, but here in the house that built him, he was what he was, and was always meant to be. He looked at his old casio and wondered where the melody has suddenly disappeared in everybody's lives. Did fate, or God, upload it on youtube, while trying to give it a try? He saw his old piggy bank, and it was still heavy with all the coins he'd collected over time. Only now the futility  of the whole exercise struck him. Wouldn't it be so much better if we were to save our souls, our happiness, in bits and pieces, so that we could only find the treasure later when we needed it? As he looked around, he saw memories, glimpses of his past, scattered all over the place. Its going to be a long, fulfilling day, he thought. And as the summer sun cast familiar shadows around the house, he felt himself slipping back into time.

He had built his own house today, yet he never felt more at home than he felt in the house that built him.

Trying hard to hold on to the yesteryears, as time writes a premature eulogy
don't let the grip loosen on your life's symphony
Dancing with the hubris of your desires for too long if you do
just think of the simple times in the house that built you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails