He stood underneath the shade of the massive banyan tree, the cool breeze ruffling his hair. A plethora of emotions assailed him all all at once. He was suddenly taken back 24 years to the time he was just a boy and little things seemed so important….
It was a lazy summer afternoon. Sleep was neither desired nor welcome .he tiptoed past his parents and climbed into the rickety, dusty old attic. It housed many treasures. Among other things there was an ancient termite infested wooden cupboard. It was always locked. That never deterred him. He had long ago found a key that fit the lock and could pry it open.
Today he rummaged through the bottom shelf of this treasure trove. He had found many objects here…objects he considered supremely valuable. A foldable metal box with 3 compartments, a huge yellow top, a wig of matted hair, hundreds of kinds of marbles and so on.
Whenever he found something new in the cupboard he took his ‘friend’ the watchman kaka of his building. Together they sat and constructed fantastic stories of the origins and worth of these objects. Imagination knew no bounds, the physical world dissolved and a world of dreams was threaded, nurtured.
When did it all end? He wonders…
Watchman kaka died of lung disease the following year. The year when his family decided to move out in search of a better place, a better life. everything was forgotten.
New friends, new hopes, new aspirations.
The times spent in the attic seemed so frivolous ,so silly…
But today he had returned. He opened his hands to see that he had been holding the rusty key in his hand all this time, feeling the metal against his thumb. He knew why he had come back. In all his life he had been running towards something, looking, wanting , a desperate race that he tried to compete in and win. He had only realised now that he could never win this because he was never at peace; that probably he didn’t want to either. The times of the cupboard were times of innocence; yet awareness existed and the bonds of relationships were so strong that they had pulled him back to this place so many years later. Relationships with people, with objects, with places.
A decision was made. He wanted to live in the place where he knew he had been happy once. A knot was dissolved in his chest; the leech that was sucking the life force out of him was thrown away.
He realised that he owed it to himself and the world to do this and after 24 years he was at peace. Again.