After the sumptuous Easter lunch (or the lack of it due to the consistent gloom on Appachan's face), my sisters formulated a plan of going to the small town where we grew up. Meet some old friends, I meant literally really old people in whose home we had our first pit stop returning from Catechism class every Sunday when I was really small. They had grown old, like my Appachan. The presence of all three of us (me and my sisters) a rare occurrence in the otherwise dull life of my parents, made sure even they wanted to come along and this time it was me driving in my car. Appa was not happy about it, then he didn't wanna be spoil sport.
The confined space inside a car seems to trigger of the hardest of discussions between me and Appa. We have this urge to get under the skin of each other and normally our rides together would mean a lot of gun shots and then a big silence. Now ever since getting me the new Polo and with me driving, I have developed a sense of detachment every time Appa rides with me and I get all immersed in the road. The funny part is, we go to the market to buy fish, happily on a scooter, with me driving and he happily seated behind, with not a trace of wrath. But inside a car, it is an all together different ball game. He never tells me how to drive or gives me instructions, leaves me very much alone, but yet we manage to fight about some thing or the other. Amma calls it a fight, while we pretend it is only a debate.
This time I had made it a point not to get under his nerve and so it resulted in my foot pressing hard on the pedal. We covered good distance and the new road from Edapally to Trichur seems awesome, the speedometer read a little over a 100km/hour and Appa tried ignore it. After the initial hour in which I had got to Trichur, Appa and Amma were happy sleeping and my sisters urged me to step on the gas more.
Went to the old house where we grew up and there were other people living there. Thank fully one of the neighbors was from old times and we ended up having tea from their place un-ashamed or without the slightest bit of embarrassment. They were neighbors back then, just that. But yeah feels all the more closer seeing all of them after such a long time.
The old ground where me and my friends from the locale played cricket and football, based on the season had some guys still playing. It was getting dark and they were almost leaving, I knew not a single one amongst them. They looked at me and I just kept staring at the ground, wishing for a moment things were just that old self again.
A quick visit at the old people about whom I spoke earlier and then we went to Sri-Krishnapuram, another small town nearby where another family from childhood resided. Wow boy, in the dark, I lost the turn and had to run a few extra miles to their place.
The daughter of that home, a chechi elder to all of us, was our leader while young. I remember, after she completed her pre-degree, she was to go to stay in hostel for college and it was me and my sisters who helped her paint that old army trunk that uncle had got from his days serving the Army. The iron box was to act as her locker in hostel and she was quick to show the box to us, still painted the same.
All the love in the world to be expressed in couple of hours and we set back to Cochin at 11 from their home in Sree-Krishnapuram. Everyone felt asleep soon and I tore down the village roads at an amazing speed, I never did before. I got it almost to 140 km/ hour and then Appa looked at the speedometer and just exclaimed, so I got it hanging a bit over a 100 throughout. The time I honked at our gates in Cochin, the time on the dash board read 01:52AM. Appa asked me, home already, I nodded and then he said, "i thought we might get a lot more faster. I never saw the needle come down below the 100". And then a sarcastic laugh. He was tired to pick up another fight and so was I.
I will be leaving in few hours to Hyderabad and then back to office and monotony. I just smiled and said, "appa, I got you safe and much faster than your driver ever does. Please lets not fight over this now." And he smiled and said, "you been driving very good. But then being a dad, can't just ignore it when you make a mockery of the speed limits. I know you are safe and I didn't even notice a hump the whole way, but stil.. you will know it only when you become a dad....." aahh the killer punch !!