It was a warm summer morning. I was pacing impatiently in our front porch. I had already checked the setting twice, it was perfect. The folding armchair was placed in my regular spot, frooti was in the refrigerator ready to be taken out. It was 10 minutes past 10:30. Just when I was about to explode with more impatience, I heard the bicycle horn. Phew! Finally, my favourite book had arrived. I ran back in the house to get my frooti, sincerely ignored my mom’s warning to not finish the book in one day and settled on the armchair with my latest edition of champak. As always, I finished the book in one day and as per ritual, bored everyone in the house with the stories I had just read.
Such was my craze for champak. It was my favourite book growing up. The memory of waiting every fortnight for the new champak and the feeling of finally having it still fills me with such joy.
It was all so simple and sorted when we were kids. I was always a good girl, scoring good marks, doing my homework on time, performing well in extra-curricular activities. Back then, the reasons to be anxious or scared were also so cute and innocent. My fears included not being chased by the dogs when passing through that infamous lane in our colony which was frequented by those wild dogs, or accidentally getting a peak of the snake on the T.V. despite covering my eyes, or saying something about the mean aunties from those serials my mom and grandmother used to watch and then fearing if after the telecast, they would come and scold me.
Over time, we tend to forget so many things from our past until they come back to us, most of the times without even trying. I haven’t read champak in a long time. I have even forgotten most of the stories but thankfully not their moral. In all of those, naughty kids always learned their lessons, hard work always paid, truth always triumphed, friendship, loyalty and honesty always mattered, and no good deed went unnoticed. Maybe that is why I am a believer and a hopeful person because in the end, in all the stories, all was well. Faith and hope go hand in hand. Even with probably a dozen of reasons to give up, all it takes is one good reason to hang in there. It is like how the saying goes- once you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. So as long as we are trying, we are halfway through. Things may still go wrong, but it will all be worth it in the end.