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Joined: 26 November 2011
The name was enough to stir an indescribable excitement within him as all those yesteryear memories engulfed his mind. The cool wind of the hill station, brought about a sudden sereneness in him as it whipped his face, while the huge green Deodar trees danced to it, swaying like Hula dancers welcoming his homecoming.
Fifteen years seemed like eternity for him. Yes, that was exactly the last time he had been here, in his hometown.
Fifteen long years ago.
Only he knew how much he had missed this place.
He stuck out his head outside the window of the moving car like a dog trying to escape to the outside world and enjoyed the chill grazing his face. And he let his tongue roll out, hanging for few seconds to taste the air of Mussoorie.
Was he crazy? Definitely yes. Any sane person out there would have instantly asked him what he was doing, sticking out his tongue like that.
But another crazier person than him had once taught him how to taste the air, made him believe that the air of Mussoorie had its own taste just like how mangoes tasted like mangoes and cherries tasted like, cherries.
Hence, Mussoorie tasted like Mussoorie. Not Dehradun or Haridwar. But only Mussoorie.
He knew he had been definitely crazy to believe her. But now, he really understood the meaning of her words. Mussoorie had a taste of its own and it synonymised with refreshing, homely and welcoming, unlike the air of London where he had been for the last fifteen years.
As the Audi Q7 climbed the quiet Camel's Back road, he sighed looking at the valley below him. How many times had he come down cycling this way, riding her behind him while her screams had echoed all the way down the valley!
Now those days were nothing but memories. Memories, he wished to keep with him for the rest of his life. Memories, which were the best days of his life.
"Chotey Saab, we are here." His thoughts were interrupted with the voice of his chauffeur and he looked ahead at the huge black gates standing as the only barrier between him and his home.
"Welcome back, Arnav Singh Raizada." He announced to himself as the wide gates opened to reveal a huge 19th Century pre-independence Colonial styled mansion perching beautifully amidst Mother Nature's blessings around her.
"How was the journey? Hope you didn't feel tired, Chotey." He heard his mother's concerned voice as she served him home made breakfast especially prepared for him.
"No Ma. It was alright. I guess not bad as I had assumed it would be." Arnav replied as he munched on delicious Puris prepared by his mother. How much he had missed the Desi food! Eating bacon and scrambled eggs in London had nearly killed his appetite for food. But one bite of his mother's food and he was as hungry as a teenager.
"Where is everyone else?" he asked, noticing that the house was eerily quiet for a Big Fat Indian wedding on the way.
"Your Dad and Anjali had to go to the town to arrange the caterers for the wedding. That's why they couldn't come to pick you up." Naina Singh Raizada replied, taking a seat beside him. "Your Mama has taken your Nani and Dadi to Doctor for their regular check-up while Manorma Bhabhi and Akash have gone to the beauty parlour." She added, chuckling at the last bit.
"Hasn't Mami changed even a bit after all these years?" Arnav asked, as images of the yesteryear's Mami plopped in front of his eyes.
Manorma Mami was one of a kind. She had self crowned herself as Ms. Mussoorie, putting even the dead souls of the British's wives to shame. Age was just a number to her. Arnav could wager a bet that Manorma Mami had spent more than 2/3rd of her life in a beauty parlour and the rest was well, spent sleeping.
But the woman wasn't bad. Behind all those pancakes of makeup was a sweet person who went out of the way to help a person in dire need. However, if anyone dared to mess with her, she would make their lives miserable than hell.
"If fifty years couldn't change her, I doubt the rest fifty will." Naina winked at her son and whispered as both of them burst out into fits of laughter.
"So who else will be coming here?" Arnav asked, as he looked all around the house. Now that the wedding preparations would finally start, the silent ambience which he cherished the most about this house would instantly disappear.
"For now, no one else. But two weeks before the wedding, your Chachas and cousins will be coming here. But'" Naina stopped, understanding Arnav's predicament. She knew her son preferred silence rather than the hustle bustle of a wedding and that he was only here because his baby sister, Anjali was the one who was getting married. Otherwise, she had been scared that Arnav would have never stepped back in this house.
"I have arranged for your old room upstairs." She continued and saw his eyes instantly brighten up. How much she had missed seeing that ten year old Arnav in her son!
"Thanks Ma." He said, hugging her. Only two people knew what went on in his head and she was one of them.
Arnav Singh Raizada felt like a stranger in his own house. He hadn't realised what fifteen years could change. Even though the house appeared the same from the outside, yet it had been renovated on the inside.
Must be for the wedding preparations, he concluded.
Afterall, Late Lieutenant General Raphael Singh Raizada's granddaughter was getting married and it was going to be a historic moment for the entire town of Mussoorie.
He pushed open the oak doors to his bedroom and found the room spick and span to welcome him. The four poster bed was covered with beige covers, all subtle and classy just like he wanted. To his right was a wall covered completely with photographs of his childhood and a few from his later years from London and he instantly realised that they were the ones which he had posted to his Dadi from his University days. It looked like she had framed all those and preserved them with utmost care.
A warm smile lit up his face as he remembered the old woman or as the world called her "Mrs. Claire Singh Raizada." While his late grandfather, Lieutenant General Raizada had been an Anglo Indian, his grandmother had been a pure British blood. Just a few years before the independence, Ms. Claire Martis had fallen in love with the then Captain Raizada and married him to permanently settle down in Mussorie even long after the British had finally moved out of the country.
Thus, their three sons, that is his father and his two Chachas had been three quarters British. But then his father had married a pure Indian blood, making him half of the three quarters British. What was he then? Three eighths British?
But living in London had made him feel entirely British for the last fifteen years. Now he wanted to be free from it. Be a Mussoorie Bhains, as she called it.
He slumped down lazily on the soft bed, stretching out his arms and legs after a tired day and it was then that his eyes fell to the wall on the left, making him sit back up instantly. There was a narrow bookshelf in one corner and wondering whose books they were, he walked towards it.
But as he neared, his eyes suddenly lit up with surprise, rather shock, identifying the books in those old shelves.
They were undoubtedly his. Those hundreds of books he used to read before he had left to London, when he was a kid. How had they survived all these years? And here he had thought that there were no more remnants of his previous life surviving in these old walls.
And then, his feet automatically took him to the huge sliding door on the third wall and stepping out into the balcony, his eyes involuntarily searched for something, something he had completely forgotten about or rather wished to forget. Something, he didn't want to be reminded of.
But it was too late and his eyes caught the faint outline of the small cottage lying amidst the slopes of the valley. It was obscured by the huge pine trees but it was unmistakeably present.
And he closed his eyes as her voice echoed from the depths of the valley.
A loud squeaky childish voice calling out his name from the bottom of those depths.
I know it's short, but give it some time to develop and you will gets loads of Arhi from me. Pakka promise!
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Joined: 07 April 2012
Molten You're back !!
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Joined: 17 August 2012
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Joined: 12 May 2012
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Joined: 13 May 2011
OMG! OMG! OMG!
I can't believe that you are back!!
Yayy!! Finally!! Missed your stories so much!
Wow!! A new concept! I guess Khushi and Arnav were childhood friends?!?
Looking forward to the story...
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Joined: 27 February 2012
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Joined: 11 February 2012
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Arhi os:HILARIOUS CONVO BETWEEN ARHI.
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