I was newly married and living abroad. One morning, I got a frantic call from my dad’s part-time maid. She said “Didi, there have been heavy rains and our neighbourhood flooded. Your dad has got a high fever. He is unable to get up from the bed and the whole house is filled with drain-water.”
It goes without saying that I was unable to sleep the whole night. My husband understood my anxiety and booked tickets. Next evening, I reached India.
The municipality had installed a pump and drained out the water but that was obviously not enough. When I entered the house 1 foot of mud, plastic and garbage greeted me. The whole house was in a mess would be an understatement.
My dad was lying on the bed semi-conscious. I did not understand how to start cleaning up. The whole house was stinking and everything was moist if not wet. I wasted no time. I kept my luggage and called the family doctor to come over. I took the broom and mop and started cleaning.
Water had entered even the cupboards; therefore everything inside it was wet. My dad was a bibliophile and our house used to be full of books. My regular readers would also remember how my dad inherited books from Mr.J.N.Bhattacharya. All those books lay wet on the bookshelf.
The worst was when I opened my mom’s cupboard- Ever since she died, Dad used to be possessive about that cupboard. He never allowed anyone to touch that. He used to not even allow me to wear the sarees of Mom. Once my mom’s sister had asked him to donate her belongings to the poor as it was of no use and only occupying space in the house. My dad got so angry that he stopped talking to her- However, that day, all of mom’s sarees were jumbled and wet inside the cupboard. They were old and had stayed locked inside the cupboard for long and therefore when I started pulling them out most of them started tearing into shreds of threads. My mom’s wedding benarasi saree was also now nothing more than a heap of threads. It was heartbreaking for me to see those lovely sarees in shreds.
Next, I tried to salvage the book almirah, however, the situation was no better there. All books were wet and pages were falling off. I brought them out and spread on the balcony.
The real shock was waiting inside my dad’s almirah. He had kept my wedding album in the bottom drawer and when I opened I saw my album was sinking like Titanic in it. I couldn’t control my tears. I had not even shown it to most of my friends and family and here it was sinking. All the photos were wet and within a week most of them wilted.
The next day, while still reeling in shock of losing so many memorable things I opened my study table. When I opened it, suddenly an envelope fell from it. I picked it up and found few photos from our honeymoon inside. They were thankfully dry. We had gone to Shimla for our honeymoon and clicked some ‘stupid’ photos in local costumes.
Both of us had felt extremely embarrassed of those. Husband had asked me to not show it to anybody and throw it away but I had hidden it in a nook of my study table. Even through despair, those stupid photos brought a smile to my face. Those are the only memories of our newly married days that remain.
Prompt: A dark and heavy storm suddenly takes over your neighborhood, dropping 6 feet of water so quickly that the storm drains can’t handle it. The water flooded your street and your basement, ruining many of your things. As you rummage through your stuff, you are filled with memories. Think about your…