As the year comes to a close, and we stand at the onset of yet another new one, I’m embracing a new mindset, a new direction, for a new, better me. But some of the fondest memories that make me ME will always be from my childhood, the start of my story.
I don’t remember how it started, but it went on to become a periodic tradition if I may call it that. Till date, it stays the fondest memory of my childhood. In those days, my father worked in several different cities. He would come to visit every now and then. It must’ve been on one such time, when he was to arrive later that afternoon, that my elder sister and I thought of doing something special to welcome him.
Of course we missed him plenty! I do remember, at the time, my relationship with my father wasn’t the most expressive one. He wasn’t around all that much, and also he wasn’t much of the talker he is today to be fair. There was this unseen guard, an unsaid respect. And so, we looked for other ways to communicate our love, the smaller things that went on to become our father-daughter traditions.
This was exactly that kind of thing. We spent the entire morning making hand made welcome cards — the ones made from the double pages in a rough notebook. Not being the artist of the hand, I drew my finest picture — you know the one with the mountains and trees, the river flowing down, the sun rising (or setting, I never knew) from in between the mountain peaks. Inside I wrote in a stencil pattern — WELCOME. I filled each letter with tiny multi-colored sqaures — a pattern I had learned from my mother. She alsways used this to write the title of the charts we made for school artwork.
Once finished with out little art session, and this is the part I have a hard time remembering why, my sister and I went around to gather flowers — mostly the ones that are made up of clusters of many tiny ones. These grew abundantly in the wild in our neighbourhood. We collected a whole lot of those and brought them back home. Then, as neatly as we could, we lay them in a pattern, just outside of our front gate on the little cement portion — WELCOME it said. As though we both knew something was missing, my sister and I took a walk around our garden — a little bit of heaven in itself. The variety of plants, the greens, the vibrant pops of color, the flowers, and the big Mango tree at the back by the swing — that certainly was the King of them all. We plucked the finest rose amongst them all and placed it by our own artwork. Now it was complete — the cards, the welcome sign, sealed by the rose. All we had to do was wait for him to be home.
The smiles, the shouts of “Welcome!”, and the hugs and the kisses. Maybe that’s why this remains my fondest memory. Or maybe it’s because it draws from the most important relationships in my life — the joy of seeing my father, the support and inspiration from my mother, and the time spent with my sister — the perfect combination for an elixir of happiness, the best memories created, and years later a story is born.