As I step into my mother-in-law's home in Delhi, to my right is a curtain, a simple printed piece of cotton cloth that flutters gently in the cool breeze.
This curtain is the entrance to a home, the family retainer's home where his family resides but to me this curtain has always spelt "magic”. I have never been able to pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because I have never crossed beyond it. Maybe I have spun endless daydreams over it and what lies within. Maybe my idle thoughts have conjured up an image of an Aladdin’s cave. Where I, as a child would be allowed to explore its nooks and crannies and find something magical and mysterious in there...
Aaah but it’s just a curtain...why this magical feel, this constant allure..?
My children would barge through the curtain without hesitation or restraint. And in my vivid imgination, they seemed to vanish into this magical labyrinth...Oh how I envied them!I could hear their laughter and merriment within, the whoops of glee, the sounds of joy and childish laughter. I would be waiting to ask them about the home, the people that lived there and they would always reply,"Mamma, the quarters are so beautiful...it is so much fun" What do you do there"? I asked.” We play hide and seek Ma and it feels nice in there”, my older one would reply. Well their smiling and joyous faces was evidence enough of the fun they had in the little magical place that had invaded my thoughts totally by then.
My keenness to enter beyond that curtain was so strong that I just had to go in.
I did...yes I did! The door behind the curtain was never closed. All I had to do was to gently brush aside the curtain and step inside. I entered to find a warm, simple and colorful home with its wafting aroma of mustard oil and scented incense sticks...and the shy smiling faces of the family that lived there. They welcomed me warmly without letting me feel in any way that my visit was intrusive. I made no attempt at refusing a cup of tea that was offered so graciously. After all I was in no hurry.
I had finally crossed the curtain. And the magical part of this simple quarter was that it was indeed a labyrinth with different wooden doors leading to different parts of their home and each door had a curtain...a simple magical alluring piece of printed cotton cloth....!