Hugged by palm trees and a pond on one side, my ancestral home used to be my refuge for summer holidays. An hour’s drive from Howrah Station, my ancestral home “Santa Villa” as named after my grandmother evokes the warmth of generations. Though over years now we have moved out and built our own Home-sweet-home, this place is tied to our the chord of our heart.
Until recently, we had big pond adjacent to our home. My grandfather was a passionate man with avid interest in gardening and fishing. Lot of my summer holidays have been spent in accompanying my uncle and cousin brother in fishing – it requires lot of patience and of course, sitting still. Both of the virtues were lost on me so I was engaged in “borsi gatha” or tying the bait and collecting the caught fishes into vessel. A sumptuous meal followed those sessions. Now the pond is almost covered with hyacinth due to lack of care. Yet I love how the reflections speak of its glorious past.
I remember vividly when all ladies of the house and from neighborhood, used to come out in evening – combing each other’s hair and catching up on gossip, sharing recipes. We,the kids, got chance to be fondled by others and listening to mythological stories.
The roof to the kitchen to my ancestral home. These clay tiles have nostalgic effect – all those days, waiting for the meals to be prepared, the aroma rising from the small window on the back, the thudding sound on those clay tiles from the coconuts falling off the trees behind. The tiles bear the scars as same as the women who toiled underneath it.
Possibly all kids of our house graduated in walking years by climbing these stairs to second storey. For me, additional degree for sliding down the railings! The meticulous alpona by my Aunty to welcome Maa Lakshmi to our home – a ritual followed in every Bengali household to pray for prosperity
No matter how far we are, we all try to visit it once in a year. With fast evolving world, we are chained to the “can’t get time to visit” excuse. Living miles apart, I cherish the memories spent in our house, counting the joyous time with cousins and being spoilt by my uncles and aunties.