Sixty one

I remember it had rained, when my mother had had my hair combed sideways. It was my birthday and we were in a hotel room. A roof house down the building, at the side of which was a mango tree with green leaves. I had stood at the open window and watched the raindrops pour down tickling the leaves and wetting through corners of the buildings. The neighbouring walls bore patches of green algae here and there. I wished my little hands could reach them unripe mangoes.
Ganesh lodge was a reasonably priced construction with many small rooms, painted yellow and red. The hotel manager, in time to come, had become a good friend of my father who would call him up for a double bedroom before heading from Cochin where he worked, to Mangalore where his family lived. The manager was a white haired man, short figured with a smile on face whenever he saw us from where he sat, as we entered into his dark lobby that made way to rows of rooms and a beautiful garden from where, climbing flowers in pink had furled up on the balconies of first two to three floors.
The double bedroom would have white bed sheets and a jug of warm water at the bedside table. A Tv with too many channels. Back in home, Doordharshan and couple of sports channels were all that the overgrown dish outside, nestled on top of the little mound had to offer. Uncle Ravi would bring DVD players to home and the hallroom would be filled with neighbours and relatives. Some in the grey chairs, while the rest of them on the floor.
It was Chauthi and my father had lifted me high on the boxy balcony of our hotel room, as we watched the procession through the town. I played the ringtone I liked the most on my dad’s phone as the evening got darker and the city began glaring up with lights. The chords reminded me of the evenings back home, in the corn fields where the neighbours sat for hours just staring at the sun going down.
Next morning, my father would leave. Away from home, on a train, watching the Nethravathi river pass by through the railings of the bridge.
And my mother would think of him, back in the home of oxide floors until we saw him again.

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