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April 15, 2024

Lost Home

By Pranab Ghosh

I built my castle with crushed dreams, dream by dream. You were there in my dream. So was she. She. She and him. Yes, he was also there. He, my dead father. I cremated him 12 years ago. But the other day standing in the balcony of my lost home I saw nine persons carrying his body on a cot!

They stopped in front of my lost home. Stood there for some time and then lowered the cot from their shoulders and placed it on the road in front of my home.

I looked back through the window behind me to find out what my mother was doing sitting on her cot, which she inherited from my grandmother. Was there a tear in her eyes? Did she know what I was witnessing? I saw memories take shape; I saw dreams take shape and dive into her, sinking in her veins; her heart pumping blood in her body, her brain, her abdomen that gave her so much trouble; her nerves that often she failed to control, her entire ecosystem. But she did not move. Did not respond. She had become a stoic.

I turned my eyes away from the window and looked at the road where my father's body rested. They were still there. Incense sticks burned. Then they picked up the cot and dissapeared down the road that led to the crematorium.

Will they cremate him once again? I distinctly remember, I cremated him 12 years ago!

I did...
I did...
I did...

I came back to my room. Lay on the bed and turned my head left to catch a glimpse of the blue-gray sky, a slice of it, that was visible through the door, leading to the balcony.

A bird flew across the slice of the sky, a swallow, then two parrots and then a crow. I turned my head away and wanted to catch my sleep. I do not know when I fell asleep.

Asleep, I dreamt of neon light, an operation theater where I was being operated on, a football ground, where I played when I was young and a bus stop from where I used to ride the private bus of route no 30A with my mother, as she fetched me everyday as my kindergarten school got over. That was years ago.

I dreamt of a happy boy, living in the unhappy, politically tumultuous Bengal of the 70's. There were industrial strikes, attempted revolution and accompanying atrocities committed by the administration. But still there was laughter, there was my granny with her tales, mother cooking the special Sunday lunch, father returning home from shifting duties. I was at home.

I was at home...
I was at home...

Then there was unease.
Breathless I woke up.
Did they cremate my father by now?
I cremated him 12 years ago!

I did...
I did...
I did...

But I could not cremate my hunger, my tears, my dreams, my aspirations and they return day in, day out in this pandemic-ravaged world to hound me out of my home, my comfort zone, into an uncertain future ruled by shrinking economy and job losses.

I bow.
I switch on my phone.
I log onto YouTube, put plugs into my ears
And begin to hum 'Imagine' with Lennon
And dream of a world without boundaries,
Without religion and its accompanying riots,
Without hunger and murmur to myself, "I am not the only dreamer." There are others like me, I am sure!

So I live...
So I live...
So I live...

As I search the social media for other dreamers!

The search continues...

Join me!

I implore.

Article © Pranab Ghosh. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-10-30
Image(s) are public domain.
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