She stepped out of the hotel and looked up at the sky. A clear cloudless day. The sun was streaming down unflinchingly on the tourists. Big floppy hats, oversized sunglasses and tubes of sunscreen were all she could see on most of the tourists around. This was actually the best time of the year to visit Thailand, when the days were sultry and the nights were cool. It sometimes rained in the evenings but overall there was a pleasant breeze that was present all throughout. Today however, was a different story. She took measured steps towards the gully-like road towards the beach. A few more yards and she would lose the hotel Wi-Fi connection. She sent off a message to her folks, then looked around, ignoring the hawkers peddling their wares. And it was then that this caught her eye.
It instantly transported her to those days when she was a young brat, begging for rides in her great-aunt’s vintage fiat. The military green colour. The hardened seats. The window that you had to struggle with all your might to roll down. But all said and done, the car had that old-worldly charm. Her childhood was filled with many a ride in that car. Summer vacations back then were fun. Her entire brood of cousins would land up at her grandmother’s place and afternoons would be spent at her great-aunts’ place, lying down on the cool floors that were sprinkled with some water, listening to the stories that her aunt told about the golden days when they were kids and how simple life used to be back then. Pestering her aunt, while the latter went on her medical rounds, taking on some house visits, struggling all the while to keep quiet and not create a racket, as bored as she got, for she knew the rewards lay at the end of the ride. Sometimes, it was those orange candies or lemon candies, sometimes it was vanilla ice cream, and if she was really really good, she would be treated with one of those cassata bars. Simple life. Of no expectations and no worries. There was always someone to get her back and people to fall back on. The only biggest worry then was whether the skinned knee would hurt when she had a bath or if she would get the lion’s share of her grand mom’s famous fried potatoes. Simpler times. Simpler lives.
She felt the phone in her hand vibrate. Jolted out of the blue, she saw her dad’s message asking her to be safe and not to roam around after dark. She put the phone in her bag, and walked off to the beach. The sunset was just a few minutes away. It was one of the other things that soothed her mind. The nostalgia coupled with the homesickness brought on by the message heightened the urge to head back home.
She promised to herself. Soon. Soon.
Funny how random things could trigger off hidden memories and calm the mind.
Sometimes it was a stray word, sometimes the tune of a long-forgotten song, and sometimes a vintage car :)