While relocating to a new flat across the city seemed exciting for her son, it was more of a headache for Raveena. A 35 year old, balancing her role as the sole parent to a rambunctious 9 year old along with heading the editorial team for political coverage at a leading magazine; she had more than enough on her plate.
“Rishi, this is the last time I’m reminding you to look through the big carton for any toys you still want,” she warned her son, who sat glued to his tablet. “Once I discard them, then don’t come crying to me.”
Raveena started mentally compiling a list of things to complete before the movers arrived, as she walked through her backyard towards the old shed. It had been ages since she’d come here, even to store things. The small room appeared cluttered and extremely dusty, with cardboard and plastic boxes aplenty. Masked and gloved, she started hauling them down the shelves and riffling through a few of them.
Among old junk, Raveena saw an old, yellowed photo album, with the transparent cellophane pockets for placing the photographs developed through camera rolls. As she picked it up, a strong wave of nostalgia overcame her. It was so rare to find such albums in this digital age.
To Savita di,
May we forever remain the three-legged stool.
Sanjana and Shivam
She traced her aunt’s writing, before flipping through the pictures of her mother and her two siblings. They all looked so young and happy, as though the years of struggle, illness and heartbreak hadn’t touched them. Smiling, she took out her favourite photo.
The winter of 1995, her mother had been too exhausted from finishing chemotherapy sessions to even entertain thoughts of their annual hiking trips. But her maternal aunt and uncle had surprised her with a beach trip. Raveena had experienced a lot of her firsts that trip- first bus ride, first experience of beach at winter, even her first taste of kulfi. She still had fond memories of that winter vacation spent with them, before money and ego had soured relations among the siblings.
Looking at the sepia seeped pictures depicting their and later her colourful childhood, she realised how they had all let petty tiffs snowball into crumbling their bond of blood. Just like she had with her own family, thinking that she was strong and capable enough to manage everything all on her own.
Would Rishi even have such pictures with his uncle to look back upon and reminisce?