The Older House

Some things I can’t forget, like when I first damaged someone’s property. Four of my neighbors cream colored flower pots kept on the compound wall that we shared. She called for my mother and somehow, they ended up becoming best friends. Rani Aunty, my mother’s new best friend introduced me to her daughter Tummi. I can never forget her name, it still makes me giggle like I did the first time I heard it. Tummi was a pretty little girl- with the chocolate brown skin, light brown eyes and thick, jet black hair, tied into two thick plaits. We were both five years old, and despite being different in many ways we jelled well. I liked playing with trains, bows, arrows, and slingshots (like the ones I used to break the flower pots), while she liked dolls and kitchen sets. We did, however, share a strong love for Mickey Mouse and Goofy. I remember sharing my toys with her, I even remember the background stories of few of the toys. There was the naked Barbie, an alien who was the queen of the whole house. She got beheaded and the head used to be kept in the bathroom. That is one the most disturbing background stories I can recall. There was also the Teddy bear doctor, who fixed everyone with a magical wand he stole from an evil witch. He used to be a man, but the witch cursed him. He ran away with her wand but never managed to break the curse. Now all I can remember about Tummi, was how she kept telling me how she loved my room in her Tamil accent.

My room in my old house was a unique place, one that I would often use to escape from the outside world. When I ever-so-slightly twist my wrist, hand clasped around the circular brass door knob that was adjoined to my delicately wood-stained door, I opened a passage to a completely different atmosphere- one that provided a sense of comfort and stability. On the eastern wall of my room, were polaroids from family vacations and trips. And right in front of the eastern wall, was a small couch on which lay my soft toys ones of Mickey Mouse and Goofy seated in pride. To the west was my favorite piece of furniture, my bed. I used to love my bed, with its Mickey Mouse bed spread, and Goofy pillow covers. On the southern side, stood my small wardrobe which had all the dresses I owned when I was small. It also had my other stuffed toys and all my pretty little shoes. I still remember the aroma of my room, vanilla with a hint of coconut.

Sometimes, I’d feel jealous of my brother because he had a bigger room, but then it was fine because mine was a lot prettier than his. I had a small story book shelf in my room, from which my mamma used to pick out a book, every night and read stories out to me.

We lived in a building with a black gate, an apartment of sorts, in Austin-town.  It was rented, and the landlady lived in the house on the top floor. The building had five floors, with two houses on each floor. We had a garden on the terrace, tended to by our landlady.

I remember the house having a cream-ish color. We had an old sofa set that was bought when my brother, who is eleven years old, was born. Water was a rare commodity, and my mother would often have to wait by the taps, filling water when it did come. We had a small kitchen that had just enough space for our stove, a few sets of china, the few pots, and pans, and our cutlery. It was a three bedroom house, but just barely. I remember crawling into my mother’s bed when I had nightmares, but don’t know how the room looked. I don’t remember our toilet either.

The rooms, although small, are a storehouse of memories. This is the house where my grandfather passed away. It is the house where I first saw my father cry. It is the house where I first learned to do my chores, the house where I first learned to make toast and scrambled eggs. This is the house that my first pet, a goldfish named Swim lived in. this is also the house where he passed away.

This is our small storehouse of memories.

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