Home is where the heart is…

A couple of days ago, we moved our fish, Gouglu, from an aquarium in the living room to one in our bedroom. Before we know what happened next, you must know who Gouglu is. A boisterous, ‘happy’ fish.

Indeed, I had never really seen a fish that seemed so happy, before I knew Gouglu.I named him Gouglu because he so loved food : ‘ Gou’ from Gourmand and ‘glu’ from Glutton. He jumped at his food, caught roaches when they fell into his tank and I think he even knew his name. I am not a fish person, as I cannot hug or touch them to my satisfaction, but Gouglu was special. Sometimes in the quiet of the afternoon, I felt he could listen to me speak to him.Not only that, he even seemed to understand.

Maybe I am superimposing my lonely thoughts on him.

Maybe I am reading too much into certain typical behavioural traits exhibited by a Green Terror Cichlid.

Maybe I have just eaten too much sugar.

When I cannot sleep, when insomnia decides to pay me a ‘formal’ visit (we do not know each other so well) , I close my eyes and think back of a certain home.

With two bedrooms and a large balcony.

Where a young couple dreamed their first ever dreams.

Where children walked in at will, laughing and playing.

Where music and uplifting conversation formed a part of everyday life.

The house was small and often messy, yet, I have slept my deepest nights through in that house.

I have tasted the best ice cream there, sitting on the stairs with a much loved friend.

Love was the quilt, in which we were wrapped : snug and warm.

Slowly….. I fall asleep…. one with my thoughts.

And Gouglu?

He died from the move.

I know how you felt, Gouglu. I really do.

(This was written some time ago on my Medium page. I found it today and thought I’d publish it here, too. )


I remember…

I remember when I fell off my tricycle and broke my arm.

I remember when I gave a school crush a dead cockroach for a gift.

I remember when my drawing teacher slapped me hard for colouring a flower wrong.

I remember Mowgli, Potli Baba and Pingu.

I remember Kya banoge Munna on DD  and morning-school breakfasts of curd rice and mango thokku.

I remember the kachoriwaala outside college.

I remember Nithya and our long talks on the porch behind chem lab. 

I remember my first kiss, on the steps leading to a lily pond, with the geese cackling.

I remember summer nights of mango ‘kuchi’ ice.

I remember the day it rained ice and I ate most of it, even as lightning and thunder threatened to scare me.

I remember my brother’s opinion on horoscopes.

I remember how my kindergarten teacher made me spell my name ” Vaidevi”. 

I remember all the stories of my sister’s crushes and all her pains of growing up.

I remember the first wine I tasted.

I remember sprinting across the Besant Nagar beach, oblivious to the onlookers.

I remember wanting to look like Nandita Das.

I remember Armageddon, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Maine Pyar Kiya.

I remember the ‘idly’ tank at Kilpauk Reserve Bank Colony. 

I remember a certain roti-gajar halwa lunch at the zoo.

I remember my baby, Uma. And many other babies of mine, some not human. 

I remember my tree back home and how she always made me feel better. 

And how if she had been, this post would not have.

And how I do not understand her anymore.

How we now speak different languages.

[ Idea of ” I remember” inspired by a book : ” Je me souviens” by Georges Perec. ]