Short Story

Those Perfumed Pages

  • It’s been more than 2 years since I’ve been home. “My home”!! the memories are still afresh in the ravines of my mind when I persuaded my parents to allow me to move into a new city, a new place, excitedly trying my best to step into the shoes of thousands of other students flocking to new cities, new countries and new places every year; leaving behind their cushiony and comfortable life of their parents home behind just to taste the tactile flavour of new challenges, new struggles and build a new life at an all new place. Amidst those unfamiliar walls, I too managed to find myself a firm footing within no time.

    Seeking respite in the company of some lovely faces, finding refuge in their tasteful revelations and high pitched squeals of laughter or emotional outbursts that followed make me forget the vagaries of time and initial hesitation of being locked in a newly carved space of mine faraway from the complacent and sheltered confines of my home.

    However, every night while talking to my parents; I could clearly see my myself struggling to suppress the bouts of cravings and despair to kiss the soft yet scrunched up cheeks of my ailing mother; devoid of any traces of plump, stiffness and rosiness of youth or indulge myself in the long winded intellectual discussions with my dad ranging from politics to my career prospects followed by the ritualistic lamentation for my careless attitude laden with pangs of procrastination towards the same. But, every night I would cajole myself patiently to sleep with a sweet goodnight kiss softly planted on the frame placed nicely on the top of my side table, closely attached with my bed and a glimmering hope of home visit during holidays.

    Days quietly passed by disappearing into weeks and weeks morphing into months. Projects, assignments, slew of internships sucked away all the time and energy leaving no traces of visiting back home behind.  Though, my parents managed to visit me here a couple of times but the lingering aroma of my home couldn’t reach my desperate nostrils hitherto.

    Now, after all these 2 years, what seemed to me nothing less than eternity, I can see myself brimming with inexplicable elation as I jumped out of my car, screeched to halt as signalling that we have arrived at our destination. Though, my dad was the one who motioned the car to stop by applying quick yet firm breaks as we reached our home merrily post my convocation ceremony. I took a quick glance at my surroundings and inhaled the gush of cool breeze swaying around. As I began to approach steadily towards my home with a poised candour exuding out of my stoic countenance, i find myself absorbing the vibes that this place entails. As I raised my left foot to take a step forward, the torrents of emotions blended with nostalgia gushed seamlessly into the sealed harbour of my reminiscences, breaking my face into a squealed delight. I hurriedly turned towards the staircase as I couldn’t wait to get into my room. “Our Room”.

    As I unlocked the door, I found the same subtle aroma dispersed in the room in which I left it before embarking upon a new dream, a new adventure. I glanced around the freshly painted walls in my favourite turquoise colour and admired the artistic solace mingled with bohemian aesthetics. Now, my eyes began to search frantically for the corner that have always been endearing to me. The corner that has been the paramount source of immense joy, peals of laughter and pearls of tears, the corner that has been the treasurer of my soul and custodian of my innermost secrets and uppermost remorse.

    My wooden book shelf, my constant, my soulcurry!!

    As I looked at it, my eyes filled with the tears of joy. I opened it breathlessly with tapering fingers and impetuously pulled out my collection splattering them across the floor.

    I began to pick one by one, caressing with one hand, dusting them off with another; flipping through the pages of some old tattered books hastily and scouring the scribbled notes on the blank pages of a few other. This is the place that gifted me some priceless friends when I had none. This is the corner that gifted me the companions for life who will talk to me silently for hours without judging me because of my untrustworthy stammering tongue. This is the only place that plucked me up out of my obscurity, helped me to battle my ferocious demons and finally became the catalyst to my colossal victory over my speech disorder. ‘When I was all alone, yearning to dwell into the bliss of friendship, you all appeared as a heaven sent gift turning my whole life into a pleasant surprise that I neither expected nor asked for.’

    I whispered softly between the pages of my newly published book, the one that’s been setting new milestones, breaking unprecedented records of all the best seller books every day since its ingress into the publishing world.

    I rose on my knees and whooped loudly in a voice choked with jubilance as my parents rushed into my room whooping back, circle me into a tightest bear hug.

    Amidst our crackles of delight and bursts of joy breathing more liveliness into my space, I saw my friends swirling in mirth too with their pages fluttering gently as the gust of cool breeze stride over them spreading more warmth and drizzles of scented moonshine all over.

    - Sheetal Verma