We did not shift to any other house for at least the time my father was working there. I spoke my first words, first walked and all the first’s that I can remember, I did in that house. It had a veranda where once could wash clothes if one wishes to, park their two vehicle, a cycle and had an entrance gate. There was also a backyard strangely larger than the house itself. One could walk, play, do gardening and a perfect place to relax and rest in sunny afternoons in cold winters.
We had a mango tree in our backyard and for few years I was fondly in love with it as naturally a cave like space was formed between its branches and trunk where we friends used to sit and spend most of the afternoon time. There was this small orange tree which I remember was 5 feet tall when I was four years old and stood the same when I reached the same height. I used to water it regularly in hope that someday Ii will have fruits but I guess it stopped growing from the time, cement was on the backyard ground to make a passageway.
We lived near mountains with dense forest and occasional sighting of animals like deer, fox and many were common. However the strangest thing was there was a medium sized komodo dragon living in my backyard under a water drainage for rain water. It went just beneath the cement backyard floor where we used to play. The animal was shy and we never felt any fear of its presence. It used to come out when there was no one. During my last couple of years in that house, there was hardly any sighting, I wondered if it died the same way it lived.
I lived there for my first sixteen years and even after 10 years I am fond of that place and remembers it again and again.
If there is something that has retained with me through all these years is my habit of staring at stars. I spent my childhood in a hill station in the Himalayas. We lived in govt. constructed house with each one having separate veranda and a backyard to play and walk. We had a mango tree in the backyard, which was my fortress for few years when its branches lay nearer to the ground forming a space between itself and trunk. I had put two cement blocks inside the space where we used to sit after school. I remember it faintly but what I clearly remember is starring at stars on clear nights.
Because we lived in a hill station, I could clearly see the night sky on most days without ever having to worry about smog, pollution affecting the visibility. I now wonder if it is the reason why people don’t sat outside and appreciate such clearly visible beauty.
I was so amazed at the vastness of space that I instantaneously fell in love. It always feel so cool to realize that we are just a spec on a spec, and it puts my frustration in place and I can forget about them at that very moment. Some people go to temple, some go to therapy, some go to clubs but I go out, sit and watch stars. Sometimes I forget the ground underneath my feet and it feels like touching the sky. It is great perspective to understand that how little we are in the whole universe and sometime all we need is the realization that we are just a spec in this vastness of space.
I live in a city now and whenever I get time, I sit outside and gaze at stars and it gives me same contentment as if I am again a child. Although the sky is not very clear on most days and the stars looks far. From time and again, I go back to hills to renew myself both mentally and physically. As someone puts it well:
“Once you have lived with mountains for any length of time, you belong to them, and must return again and again”.
Image: (C) Calvin and Hobbes