Re-reading through time

This is one of those miracles of my own world.

Often I am blessed to achieve what I yearn for… maybe in a little twisted way that amounts to a surprise story, a memory to keep always. This isn’t the 1st time I’m saying so! While my ears are plugged to Jar of hearts… a recent discovery after I remember, I’m all set to type my yet another extension to one of my ever growing experience.

Reveries or epiphanies… retrospection doesn’t describe it anymore.

The times I am running through nowadays, bear typical resemblance to what had happened, when my mom had left me- leaving me completely alone. I wonder how devilish I am, to be surviving in solitudinal company for close to two decades now. Although that’s not what it is about today, there is absolutely no denial to its validation- the very fact why I’m beating the keys with white English alphabets sticking over it right now. None of what my words are going to say it for me would have held any precedence if it was any other way around.

I am reading the Autobiography of a Yogi yet again.

First time ever I caught a glimpse of the book was when I was all of 6 or maybe 7 years of age. The neighbors at the ground floor flat had given that to mom. I was issued a curfew around that one- never to touch that book ever. She had developed a paranoia that I might flee after reading the book in quest of God, unseen force or the true light- whatever one may choose to call it in his/her words. She would tell me the story chapter wise every night as a bribe in turn. A glaring warning used to be issued in stern voice before she would reproduce the exact content in more profound way so as to keep me less startled. I would keep my face expressionless not giving out any clue as to what those words were doing to me. Talking of keeping the façade up!

That one time was all.

Only once did she let me flip the pages so I browse through the printed pictures. I must have been in 2nd or 3rd standard. Never ever did she let me touch the book again. Soon the neighbors had moved out to some distant block. It was after about half a decade since that book incident that we had gone to visit them. I had sat motionless throughout. That was utterly peculiar. Given the fact how gregarious and witty I (still) am; that was stupefied of me to be keeping so quiet. I was busy staring at a photoframe with five pictures on it. The images seemed to be smiling at me while I was complaining loads mentally. A few hours later when we were ready to depart, failing to contain anymore, I had nudged my mom’s arm. How could mom not notice the pics of the “higher ones” that she had so gladly narrated about? The irritation in my voice was quite blatant. Not only were all of them amused; but also it was then mom’s turn to go stupefied.

How the five minutes of what I was given to go through had got imprinted in my mind.

Mom was strangely surprised at my strength of memory. I had “prophesied” then that no matter how much she stops me short in her recourse to “prevent” the possibility; apparently, it would happen how it ought to be. If my desire to read the book was strong and honest enough, and not only to compete with her alone; I would get to read the book someday. Almost as to honor her intentions, I never saw the book again.

Till she was alive!

Standard 12th, chart submission day. Pratibha Jain’s chart was rolled in a newspaper that was perhaps calling to me. Grabbing hold of that corner image, I had almost begged to her if she would give that newspaper to me. She had agreed upon readily. Babaji’s image was brought home, showed to mom and queried upon if that was that. Mom had sort of broken down. How a simple thing had made me resolve in a more pronounced manner. The following year had taken her way from me. Quite literally, all hell had broken loose. A very tough time period had doused me soon in a clandestine motion.

The image is still in my possession.

I kept losing things, people and a lot of intangible (silly to most people) things- namely emotions, but that image is still retained with me. The book made its first appearance (and not re-appearance really) then, as my birthday gift a couple of years later from then. I was moving around with a colleague when I had seen something at the corner book-stall in CP. Even before I could take my eyes off, it was paid for and presented to me as my birthday gift. After Jane Eyre, this is my 2nd novel I have read and still a favorite. I tend to stick to old things- sigh! The 1st time ever I had read that, it felt as though mom was reading out the pages to me. Although I was reading it in English, mom had read that in Hindi and narrated to me in Bangla, it had felt no different. As soon as I had finished reading, someone had borrowed that and never returned to me. I am still in touch with her incidentally. The second time, I bought a copy from Saket PVR complex road-side book stall. The pattern got repeated… but once again, not before flattening the dents. This time around, I had bought that as a gift for someone. For half a year that it graced at his bookshelf, he hadn’t even taken the cover off and I had asked him to let me borrow that from him to read. Well, I have started to, a couple of days back; after he has gotten geographically distanced. I am not sure at this point in time, if there is more to it.

In the stillness of night, with the street light buzz as the only sound and an occasional rattle of passing by train to break my train of thoughts; I observe that the book never remains with me. I have read and do own all the other books written by the same author but this one. Maybe, this time around… I’ll pray hard enough. Perhaps, my mom needs to chill down a bit. I won’t flee after all. Pheeww!!!

I feel slightly enthusiased; although yet to figure out a reason valid enough. My dream pattern has changed. It would be humorous if I say I feel I’m healing because I can’t substantiate (even to self) any noticeable change yet. For starters, I wanted to write about the whole episode someday- I just did, I believe today. The rest of it would come in bits and with some time breaks.

About Olivia

Corporate worker, textile designer, writer.
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