Sometimes it’s fun to relive old memories. But for the lady of the house (LOH), it’s a regular pastime. As a child of five, on being scolded by her mother, she decided to leave home. Picking up her little bag, she walked out of the front gate and not knowing where to go, sat on the culvert in front of their house at 8 Kushak Road in New Delhi. Then one fine day, some 45 years later, she went and sat on the same culvert. Our son, on seeing her sitting there, walked up to her and said that back then she did not know where to go, but now she had her own home at 1 Kushak Road, so that is where she should head for. Together, they laughed their way back home.
Therefore, it was no surprise that she asked all her sisters to join her at Chandigarh and together they would relive their childhood memories. First on this journey back into the past was a six-day trip to Dehradun. So I was instructed to arrange for an SUV, because our car was small for six of them, including the driver. For their local run of Chandigarh, they wanted two cars because they had two sets of nostalgic memories to trace.
Soon the gang arrived at our place. Since the ground floor of our house has only three bedrooms, I decided to shift to the safety of the bedroom on the second floor, leaving the gang the space and time to catch up on the good old days and talk through the nights. I opted to be served all meals in the second floor bedroom, even though they would generally arrive cold. I returned to the ground floor only when they left for the trip to Dehradun.
At Dehradun, they visited the Forest Research Institute (FRI), where they frequently walked as girls; the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) that they often visited being their father’s old school; his office at Survey of India complex where he was once the boss; all the ‘chat’ shops, book stores, restaurants and houses of friends who had left long back. All those streets and lanes and of course the Indian Military Academy, where they had seen the cadets pass out. Mussoorie too had to be visited, the Savoy and all those haunts, at that once lovely hill station.
After those peaceful six days, I was subjected to a recount of their exploits; all of them talking at the same time, beating news anchor Arnab Goswami’s TV debate hands down. Next, it was their turn to undertake a two-day visit to their haunts in Chandigarh. From Tagore Theatre, to the Rose and Rock Gardens, Sukhna lake and endless list of restaurants, they made the most of the trip down memory lane. How could they miss an outing to Pinjore?
After their dash into the past, to say that they were exhausted would be an understatement. While the lady of the house has a penchant for the past, I prefer to live in the present and look forward to the future. We certainly make an odd couple.
Lt Gen Harwant Singh (retd), the writer is a former deputy chief of the army staff.