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Mar 2015

Windows to Happiness

Windows to Happiness

This is a series of blogs on how windows open up a whole new world in time, bringing you face-to-face with journeys of fellow travelers, often a series of painful episodes threaded together by hope and maybe coupled with a prayer.

The first blog in this series, A Window in the Wall, is a sketch of a young Indian woman hurriedly rushing home to her grandmother who is virtually on her deathbed. During her ride home, she unwittingly peers into homes finding vignettes that seamlessly blend with her own past; as though her very own childhood was being enacted.

A window in the wall

Sujata squinted through the rain-lashing window pane of her cab, fiercely fighting inner demons to stay awake while her sleep-laden eyes refused to stay open. Her taxi had guzzled the miles from the airport and she was halfway, rather almost home or what was once her home turf. A cosy haven where her dad would wind the Grandfather Clock practically every night, while she nestled at her granny’s knee.

Sujata peered listlessly at the labyrinth of crumbling buildings which housed way too many occupants, as though they would burst into the open and mingle with the clothes hanging out to dry; just like the riotous mix of colour in a mela. Swish, the windshield wipers had transported her to her childhood again… “I want that red dupatta, in the corner. No, I want the other one beside it – the dark pink.” Sujata could recall everything in vivid detail as though she had been a 5 year old yesterday. “Don’t climb up the stool to reach for the sweets, Suja…” Will her granny wait till her Suja reached her bedside?

Granny’s armchair was etched in Sujata’s psyche like the birthday song that played on and on. “Don’t be kanjoos, send more gajar halwa to take with me to the hostel, next time, dadi!” Wasn’t this being mouthed by the teenaged girl tucking into a delicacy while the rest of her family wolfed down cake? The adjacent flat showed three little girls pillow-fighting. “I’ll tell Mummy, you hit me so hard,” gasped one of the pig-tailed moppets. “So what if you tell your mama. I’m going rightaway to complain to my Nani,” trilled the tomboyish one as she walked away in a huff. The next scene to unfold was of a little girl twirling in a frilly dress, flaunting it this way and that, to see how much it whirled. The older woman with her gnarled hands covered the little girl’s face and cracked her knuckles at her graying temples. “Bilkul gudiya lag rahi hai. Kisi ki nazar nahi lage, meri pariyon ki rani ko.” And the two hugged each other.

The kaleidoscope presented by a peep into the homes of strangers was actually the same rich tapestry woven in Sujata’s life as though the people in the buildings were enacting fleeting moments from her past! Each space inhabited not just physical dimensions but pointed to her about her existence and the blessings she had enjoyed, maybe even taken for granted, so far.

They halted at the signal waiting for it to turn green. Sujata looked forlornly at the dwellings throbbing with life. Only this time a dismal, vacant flat hit her searching heart shattering it into a million pieces. Did it mean it was curtains for Dadi’s well-lived story? Or would she catch a flicker of life once again when the red light would stop blinking?


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