It is an almost straight stretch of a little over 400 kms now, and sugarcane fields nearly as tall as the local citizens blur a hazy green on both sides of the highway. This, once a one-lane highway has quadrupled all along the way to Mumbai.
What was to be a quick snatch from time, to meet with uncles and aunts and cousins, has turned out to be an expedition into the heart and mind; mine and others’. Four days.
With each wedding and such alliance the rings of relatives reproduce. We are bound by a bit of blood and a bit of burdened boredom. We meet some with resigned reluctance; a few however — we meet with excitement and longing. For those that we look forward to meet, we cross the lines.
We deceive the irreversible dimension of time and cheat to get those few extra hours, almost in the philosophical belief that all that time is, is now.
And what a wonderful few hours those were! Cherished because we got them and more so for the hush-hush sneaky conversations at night in the kitchen balcony with the lights out. Afraid of our aunt scolding us for staying up late. Because grow as you much, aunts have an uncanny ability to remember you as the snotty kid from a few years ago. They have an amazing memory, them aunts. In any case, we twenty-somethings and thirty somethings tend to become 5 and 10 year olds when we visit our aunt’s place!
We even allowed the mosquitoes to have a bountiful night-out and share some of the conversation that transpired.
Of dreams and hope and love.
Of hearts being broken and mended and opening up.
Of uncles getting old, of aunts never growing up.
The wonderful brew, right upto six in the morning, in the cauldron where past, present and the future were cooked in a single stew and devoured to our heart’s content.