A Road Trip to my Ancestral House

The doorbell rang. Expecting it to be a salesman, I moved my eyes away from the laptop screen reluctantly and in slow strides moved to the door. The visitor appeared to be too impatient and rang the bell so frequently that it got onto my nerves. I opened the door hastily and gave an angry look expecting to make the salesman run for his life. But I was wrong. It was my friend who arrived with a load of sweets and an equally good news. Our ancestral house which was in litigation for several decades is now rightfully ours. It was many decades since I visited the place.

Wasting no more time, I got into my car to see the house of my childhood memories, just one more time. The road leading to the village is one of the worst you can find anywhere.  The thought of travelling for seven hours on the potholed road frightened me but I was determined enough. The watchman opened the gate and my journey started. A half an hour drive through the smoky air and sound of horns from impatient men took me to the outskirts of the city. Moving through the congested roads required so much attention that I completely forgot about the purpose of my journey and our ancestral house. Now, it’s time to recall those memories as a child, while enjoying the beauty of nature and the songs of the birds.

It would be more apt to call it a royal palace rather than a house. My ancestors held some important and respectable positions in the king’s palace and the house, or rather the palace was inherited from them. We were the most respected people in the village.

One day, even before the sun rays striked the Earth, my grandfather and I went for a walk. I asked the question that remained a mystery to me for years. ‘Why do the people here respect us so much? Is it because of the money we have? My grandfather said, ‘Money may be one of the reasons but not the sole reason. When we look around the world, we find millions of wealthy people not respected at all. We have an obligation to stand for our village and the people here. Every bit of good work that was done by our family since centuries makes us stand where we are. Do a wrong thing and we lose all the respect we have, the wealth we possess doesn’t help in retaining or gaining back the oust respect.’

The sun started setting. Gradually, it began to change colour from yellow to orange and then disappear into eternity. Cool breeze coming in from the windows of the car tried to induce sleep but I stayed alert lest someone get knocked down in the dark. The road was no longer scary. It too had changed with the passage of time. My eyes stayed focussed on the road ahead. I could see a group of people coming towards the road behind my car. As I approached then, the image became clearer and it turned out to be a funeral procession.
That reminded me of the death of my grandfather.

That day, I felt the light of my life leaving me for ever. Since childhood, a greater part of my life was spent with him. He taught me everything, and passed on a great deal of knowledge about life. But then, I remembered what he said - ‘The end marks the arrival of a new beginning. Rather than repenting for the lost end, one should welcome the start with a smile’ and I let it go.

I increased the speed of my car as I wanted to reach my destination before the onset of night. Finding a place to sleep in the village wouldn’t be a problem. The whole village is my family. Lush green fields surrounded either side of the road and in the midst of them I found a water pump that made me feel thirsty. Drinking water from the pump that waters the field is enjoyable, especially when the water spills all over your clothes. I halted my car, quenched my apparent thirst and got wet too.

I was about to open the door go my car when a bullock cart hit my car from behind. It was too dark to see anything clearly. The person stopped, apologised and continued his journey to find a new car to hit. I tried to start the car but it wouldn’t. I am someone who knows nothing beyond driving a car. I stopped that person on the bullock cart and asked if I can find a mechanic nearby. He answered in the negative. Luckily, he said that there is a dhaba nearby where I can stay for the night and continue my journey the next morning. The bullock cart would be my vehicle.

I locked the car and I was about to get into the cart when he cautioned me about skilled robbers stealing things as huge as a caw. He tied a rope to the car. The bullock’s strength wasn’t sufficient to move my car.
I stood beside the cart and the car thinking of a solution. The cart at that time appeared much better than a car - it is driven by a bullock which can be relied upon, unlike the car which is driven by lifeless things. After a ten minutes wait, a friend of that man arrived with his bullock cart and the strength of the two animals was sufficient. Few more minutes passed and I landed at the dhaba. The food was great but the room wasn’t. All that it had were mosquitoes. I moved to my car, switched on the AC (which luckily worked) and had a good sleep. The next morning, the car was repaired and I reached the house.

It still had the same grandeur. Every step of mine put forward in the house reminded me something memorable from the past. Decades old memories were experienced again. I wanted to live in that house for the last few days of my life but it was practically infeasible. I got into my car to return to where I am supposed to stay recalling the past.

This is an entry for 'The Perfect Road Trip' contest on IndiBlogger sponsored by AmbiPur. Check out AmbiPurIndia's facebook page here.

2 comments:

Solitary Reaper

Simple and heart warming! Loved reading this one! :)

A minor correction - I halted my car* in the 7th paragraph.

Pankti Mehta

Nicely written Ranjith :)

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