It’s a restaurant we go to, sometimes. Nice enough place, good, solid Punjabi food (hmm how would I know what that means?) without any stale masala. The tomato soup comes tadka-ed with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cool, if you go in for that kind of thing. Décor is all rural Punjab (or I imagine), big stall of those ornate slip-on slippers; colourful pin-wheels; glass bangles; garlic bunches and so on.
But here to talk about ancestral village in Karnataka, not Punjab. Colour me bad, have never been to such a place. In fact, never been to any village. Urban as they come, that’s me. It would be all fine if my idea of the good life was to flit around in planes, and do my shopping in Dubai or London, but sad to say that is not me. Shopping is a strenuous exercise involving traveling twenty minutes to a mall with a list. Planes are a matter of convenience and an outcome of the fact that I have never, till date, found confirmed tickets for any train to anywhere I want to go. Where do all the train tickets go?
That brings us to my father. Damn fond of the old ancestral village he was. Always talking of it, singing of it, and painting rosy pictures of it. Dad was really all talk ‘cause guess what? He never made the slightest effort to take us there. Oh yes, I asked, several times. We were some two hours away back then. His excuse – what a dreamer – was that now everything is changed and there is nothing of what he sings about in the place, so no point going there now. Hello! At least when it exists as a place on the map, should I not see it, perhaps you can point out what was different and so song-worthy, and I can extrapolate in my mind. Well, he did not hear me say such things. Perhaps I never told him – was a bit in awe of him and all, not scared, loved him to pieces but found it tough to bare the ol’ heart. So bottom line, dad moved on to the better place, and I am still left with a question mark as regards the village.
Forgot to mention earlier that in addition to singing of it, dad also named us after the place. So now I carry the last name, which is also the name of the village which I have never visited. Bit of a burden for sure. Recently (god bless the internet!) someone shot me an email saying, “hey are you from there? I am.” I was kind of all over that situation, and happy to make a connection and all. Discovered that this guy’s folks still live there, and of course a couple of emails later that we are related to each other. So now I have promised myself that I will visit next time I am in the area (as in the two hour commuting by road distance – thanks to all the airlines and fat buses running around the place, being in the same country counts as being in the area now).
Few questions – will I sing of the place too, after the maiden visit? Or will I give up all the generations of dreams and finally change my name to the married one – something I have put off for years now? Remains to be seen.