Mulund. Devi Dayal road. My father’s home.
We visited an aunt last Saturday. After a long time, we met her and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We got to know that the lane in which my father lived his childhood has changed, the buildings are replaced by residential towers, the road is bigger and slum dwellers at the end of the lane are now up scaled to a building.
Only thing that stayed the same was Hanuman Temple.
My mother’s curiosity gave the necessary nudge and we walked father’s lane, down memory lane.
I have heard my father’s childhood stories numerous times. Nonetheless they are always hogged down by my ears, my face may actually light up on hearing those stories.
He pointed out small garage type house that his family of 10 or more used to live in, I feel proud to see how far he has come, how humble his origins are, somewhat closer to understand why he aspires greatness from me. That house is now the office of Rotary Club.
Father’s friend used to live in the building opposite, now there’s a new ornate tower standing there, the friend moved away now.
My mind begun coining a line, something inspired from a WWE match I saw. Before I digress and ramble upon my fandom of The Undertaker, I’ll quote the lines:
But the memory remains
Buildings torn down. Shopkeepers changed. Gardens built anew. Pictures faded. Friends moved away. But the memory remains.
As our trip down the memory lane finished, the stories were just getting started. Father told me again about how he and his friends would hang out at the gate the Lalchand Laxmibai hostel, his school Dayanand vedic highschool. His tea ‘adda’ or spot with his friends and later my mom joined him after marriage at paach rasta. (five way junction) He remembers the cost, 4 paise for a cutting tea back then.
He showed us his favorite restaurant in its early days, Kirti Mahal. That restaurant is extremely popular now, with a huge queue waiting for their turn. His pals would visit the restaurant and with hand skills steal spoons and forks for their hostel. My dad looked for a pan wala but that shop was missing.
Alas, no visit to past memories would be complete without loss. He found out that one of his school classmates passed away a year ago.
I had great hopes for finishing this evening with the best dinner possible: Pav Bhaji from the stall that he used to eat from. Yes that stall is still there after 40 years, the food delicious.
After waiting for 30 minutes for the food, I quickly hogged it down, burped on the road without any shame. My dad satisfied by eating there, greeting the busy cook.
The evening was a mix of melancholy and ebullience.
It made me think about why I always loved Mulund more than my home Dombivali(both are city names).
The former has a family connection, it feels homely. It feels part of my heritage, my roots arise there. The exact same feeling arises when I visit my maternal grandparents.
There’s a bond there which runs across a generation. It is like homecoming.