Saturday, July 9, 2011

Paper Boats


When I was a little kid, we used to live in a place called Hoshiarpur, near the Pubjab-Himachal border. It was a small town which took barely twenty minutes to cross from one end to the other by car.
Like most small towns in India, it had an old area called Krishna Nagar. And among its many snaky little streets was the narrow Street No. 7, where we lived.

There are a lot of things I remember about that street; the dilapidated old school next door, with the crippled brown tree and soft pink roses; Hanuman, the pandit from the temple at the end of the street who always gave me an extra helping of my favourite prasad and waved to me from his rusty old bicycle as I waited for my school bus every morning and the huge, crazy German Shepherd who barked incessantly at everyone and for some reason had been named Pepsi.

But the one thing I remember most clearly was the excitement the rains brought with them. For whenever it rained heavily, the street would turn into a muddy river, like our own pet version of the mighty amazon. And there I would sit on the once-glazed steps of our home; under the blue door with the twin white peacocks, chipped and weary from the years they had been there. I would watch as strange creatures came out of the water, big cola coloured cockroaches that made my mother scream, worms as muddy as the water, driven out of their burrows by the onslaught and an occasional snake scare.

But nothing excited me as much as the sound of my mother's feet behind the door, for I knew they brought with them the reason I loved that muddy stream. For she had just taught me how to make paper boats and promised me if my boats were good enough they would travel far and wide and journey to strange, mythical lands I could only imagine.
And so I would sit there, my tiny fingers working tirelessly creating one little boat after another, praying all the while that they would pass God's test and not drown.

Some would be brave and strong and fight the torrent and make it round the bend of the street accompanied by my whoops of joy. But there were others, which despite my prayers failed to make it and sunk to their moving muddy graves. As I watched their tiny forms topple, my lips would quiver and my eyes well up, but my mother would hug me and urge me to let it go and would egg me on to make the next.

It was a tough lesson to learn... letting go and I had lot of trouble with it.
And today, even though I am a young woman of 24, somewhere that little girl still has her fingers crossed and her eyes closed every time she releases a boat into life's muddy waters, praying for it to get past the bend and every time one doesn't make it, it still breaks her heart...
Letting it go is still a tough lesson to learn...

5 comments:

Nikita Banerjee said...

Lovely post! :D

umangexuberance said...

@Nikita
Thanks a ton :)

anu sura said...

the analogy...:)...awesum!

Blue Kite Dreamz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue Kite Dreamz said...

"somewhere that little girl still has her fingers crossed and her eyes closed every time she releases a boat into life's muddy waters, praying for it to get past the bend and every time one doesn't make it, it still breaks her heart..."...amazing..now that the girl is a young woman , why doesnt she sail in the same boat. and cruise it past those treacherous bends...perahps carry one of those cola colured roaches with her...:)