As a kid, I was an arrogant little brat, throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat. Losing my mother at a young age had made me somewhat of a pampered child, always demanding my way. One fateful day, when I was around 5 or 6 years old, I decided to take my tantrums to a whole new level by threatening to leave the house if my demands were not met.
I confidently declared, “Main ghar chod kar chala jaunga” (I will leave the house). Little did I know that my father, tired of my constant threats, would respond with a nonchalant “Go.”
His single word struck me like a thunderbolt. Suddenly, I found myself in a predicament. I had no idea what to do next. I had issued the threat, and now I had been commanded to leave. I looked desperately at my elder sisters, Roma (Didibhai) and Krishna (Didi), hoping they would stop me. But to my dismay, they simply ignored my pleading eyes. Even my elder brother Papoo (whom I fondly called Mejda) just smiled as if to say, “Now face the consequences.”
Feeling ignored and angry, I stormed out of our house at Christorphen Hotel, slamming the door behind me. As I walked towards the main road, I constantly looked back, expecting my family to call out and plead for me to stay. I hoped someone would say, “Billoo, do not go!” But alas, nothing happened. We lived on the fourth floor of Christorphen Hotel, and as I descended towards Lakkar Bazar, nobody tried to stop me.
Along the way, I ran into our milkman, who asked me why I was walking alone. In my arrogance, I replied, “I am leaving home, – ghar chhodd kar jaa raha hun!”
I said it loudly, hoping he would understand the gravity of my words and grab my arm, dragging me back home. Yet, he stood there, staring at me without saying a word. I stood there too, staring back at him, waiting for him to act. But nothing happened. The milkman scratched his head, shrugged, and went on his way. It was then that confusion started to set in.
I reached Lakkar Bazar, where there was a cinema hall called Regal. It also had a roller-skating rink on the top floor and housed a Meena Market. Feeling lost and unsure of my next move, I sat on the stairs of Regal cinema. From there, I could still see the road leading from our house. I sat there, contemplating my impulsive decision and berating myself for leaving home.
Time passed, and after what felt like 20-25 minutes, I spotted my sister walking down that very road. My heart leaped with joy, and I wanted nothing more than to run towards her and embrace her. However, my pride got in the way. Instead, I stealthily entered Meena Market, positioning myself so I could keep an eye on the main road and observe my sister’s actions.
Within moments, I saw my elder sister enter Meena Market, wearing a smile on her face. She gently took hold of my hand and said, “Let’s go home.”
I didn’t resist.
Silently, we started our journey back home. As we arrived, I saw Papoo, my elder brother, getting ready for school. He greeted me with a mischievous smile, as if to say, “Aa gaye bachchuu” (The kid is back). I ignored his teasing smile. After all, I was finally back home, surrounded by my family, where I truly belonged.
Photo Intro: I with my father Dr B K Banerjee, two sisters – Roma (Didibhai), Krishna (Didi) and brother elder to me Mejda (Biswaranjan Banerjee). I am standing in front of Roma.