I enter my lane. The boys standing near the turn wave to me. I nod in acceptance. I move further. The grocer smiles to me. I smile in return. I reach the gate. The watchman salutes me. I salute back to him. He opens the game with a loud screech. For a motorcycle. Like the elite guards opened the gate for the royal entry.
From the moment I had entered the lane, I had felt like a king returning back from a crusade. If I had a sword, I could’ve waved it at them. I had an empty hand instead.
I parked Piyush’s bike next to ours. Like a triumphant warrior I walked across the parking lot, towards the entrance of my building. I entered the corridor. Then the lift.
I was home. Finally home. The resort. The cove. A place which I would enter to regain myself. The me which I had always been. Till I had left for the weird city.
The lift door opened. I stepped out. I rung the doorbell.
The door opened with an exclamation.
“You?!....how come so suddenly!!!” Mom opened the door.
“I just felt like…” I said.
“Felt like??...you should’ve informed us at least….” She continued.
“Yeah…how come you came back so abruptly….no phone….no message….nothing…just like that” Dad joined in.
“What have you got for me?” sister shouted from the bedroom.
“How did you come?...” Granny shrieked looking at the helmet in my hand. “By a motorcycle??” she grew hysteric. “How could you travel the distance over a motorcycle?....Oh my god!!...this boy is crazy!!”
This revelation from her sent everybody in an excited state. Dad had an objection on me riding so far on a motorbike. Mom couldn’t comprehend how I got a motorbike. Sister was overwhelmed by my feat. Everybody has a reason to overreact over my arrival. There were questions bombarding over me from all directions. And I stood at the centre of them replying to each of them. Like Abhimanyu standing at the centre of the Chakravyuha.
There was a cacophony. There was surprise, anger, resentment and opposition all thrown across in my direction. Voices filled my house.
The cacophony descended into their interpersonal rivalries and it pitches rose to include their yelling upon each other. Finally they dispersed in different directions, mumbling offences and abuses.
I went to the small can stool and sat on it. I untied my shoes. I try calling up Piyush from my mobile. I realise it’s low on balance. I call him up from my residential landline number. I tell him that I reached safely. He congratulates me on it. I assure him his bike is safe. He threatens to kill me if I speak such shit. After a brief conversation, I disconnect the phone.
I undress myself, and wrapping a towel around me, I walk to the bathroom for a shower.
Their voices still ring in my ears. Staying away from the family makes their voices alien to you. I tried to wash my ears to get them cleaned off there. But they stay stuck to the walls of the cavity. Resonating in its emptiness.
I stand below the shower motionless.
The home which I had yearned for endlessly during the times of extreme loneliness, is here.
I welcome myself to the warm place I dreamt of.
I welcome myself back home.