I left my peaceful village. kondivita more than 40 years ago. It has drastically changed and made way for an industrial estate. But the memories of my house , my friends and the trees with their fragrance keep calling me and crying out to me to come and see what man has done to it in his hunger and lust for money, but calling it the demands of the changing times . . . . . . . . . Ali Peter John
I met two brothers, subhash and shekhar who I had seen when they were little boys
Some of my best friends had left for some other places. , including a place called heaven which no one has seen but likes or is made to like by men and women who claim to be close to god. All the old bungalows have made way for monstrous buildings after some children of my friends have sold the land and homes of their ancestors for a few crore rupees more only to live in cement and concrete match boxes which are given to them like crumbs and they call it moving with the times
My mother’s hut rebuilt by my brother has made way for a place which may look good but looks ugly to me, so ugly that I dont feel like even going near it. I believe that my mother’s hut has now been turned into a temple where hate is the religion
Thankfully, I met two brothers, Subhash and Shekhar who I had seen when they were little boys playing in the rain and being naughty sons of a painter called MS Ghorpade who used to amaze me as he sat before his easel with his paints and painted pictures of stars like Dilip Kumar and other stars and who I came to know was also a part of the publicity of mughal e azam, I as a little boy saw renowned filmmakers like Kamal Amrohi sending their car to pick him up from his room in Baburao Chawl. Subhash and shekhar received me with all their affection, told me stories about how my village had changed and only a few families and friends were left. And they made my visit memorable when the brothers presented me with an old painting done by thier father in the 50’s. I promised them that I would try and arrange an exhibition of their father’s printings which still looked so fresh and almost new
The brothers led me to the house of david who used to call me gurubhai because I used to give him tuitions when he was in the first and second standard and his father used to pay me five rupees a month. It was a great feeling to meet david’s wife who has been fighting a one woman battle to make her two daughters and a son stand on thier own feet and do whatever they are doing with dignity and earning the respect of all around her
And what david’s wife gave me that evening was the most precious gift I have recieved. She inspired me to talk to esther, a beautiful sister who I had lost more than fifteen years ago all because of something I had said after two days of consistent drinking. And within the next few minutes I was talking to esther who I had met as indubala and who grew up to be a young woman who every young man was or wanted to be in love with but esther was a spirited woman who had lofty ambitions and kept moving from one challenge and goal to another, till she was the founder of one of the best schools in indore. Called ” the genius ” she is a gorgeous grandmother today and I feel delightfully proud to tell myself that I was in some small way a part of her rise and rise and I hope she doesn’t stop rising. . . . . .
My heart broke into a thousand pieces and I couldn’t even bend
I wanted to see some other places of my youth, but time like always was playing its game with me and I had to rush out of my own village, but I didn’t fail to notice the trees which were standing stubbornly even as everything else kept changing and they reminded me of the place where molly and her family once lived. Her home has been levelled to the ground, her father’s property has been sold for one more monstrosity to come up in the near future, but molly lives with me and in me and will be my inspiration and my prayer to lead me on as long as I live
My heart broke into a thousand pieces and I couldn’t even bend because I had a broken foot and all I could do was promise kondivita my village that I would come back soon.
I have written poems and articles about my village. It plays a prominent character in my autobiography, life bits and pieces and tom alter, my friend visited my village to do a play based on my life, thank you,
Tom. My autobiography was to be made into a film with irrfan khan playing me and tabu playing my mother. But that was not to be. But I wish to live long enough to pay my ultimate tribute to my dear village, kondivita.