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Day Eleven Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old. Use short, medium and long sentences.

When I was 12, I lived at Home.

Home was a single storey brick home with just three rooms. Inside a green mosaic floor with specks of brown and black. The in-built cement shelf on one wall of the living room , called as “the Hall” ,doubled as storage and a TV stand for the small black and white TV.  With family photos displayed on the top shelf along with some memorabilia. Just a handful of them,for at that time there was none of the ‘made in china’ junk of today. A three-seater leather sofa and a single seat matching chair. A blue laminated dining table placed flush against the corner wall and one side of the single sofa chair with only one side of the rectangular table available to access. These three pieces of furniture waltzing now and then , to my mother’s tune, to regroup in different permutations and combinations with the walls and the two windows and two exterior doors and two interior doors .And in all the possible combinations that dining table never got to use all its sides at once.  A picture of a green cliffy coast with the sea with no sign of human life or litter, framed and hung above the living room window. The provenance of the photo a mystery.

The late comer, the refrigerator, relegated to the bedroom already packed with two long single metal beds with a cotton silk mattress. The beds always together , wedged between a desk and a steel ‘almirah’.  A wooden antique cupboard with mirror.

The terrace that had no stairs but which could be easily scaled by climbing on the compound wall, from there climbing on the window cement awning and from there reaching out to the edge of the terrace wall standing on the toes and pulling up your body while lifting your leg to get a foot hold and clamber over. It’s easy. Was easy for a pre-teen. Terrace – A place girls were discouraged to climb.

The little garden on clay soil. Guava trees with plenty of fruit and a squash creeper that grew so fast attaching itself to the outer walls with tendrils so strong that belied its fragile appearance, that spread to the terrace where for a year the bounty was huge. Sopoata and lemon shrubs that decided not to grow much or flower much. Seasonal flowers , Ginnia and mums, that came and went. Seasonal vegetables and an attempt at a grassy lawn.

The layers of sounds in the morning, changing as per season ,with the local temple blaring “mariamma….”  mingling with the 5 times a day “Allah …” from the mosque and the girl next door reading out loudly , history, geography and physics, her method to memorize (‘mugging’ as it’s affectionately called ) at 5 freaking am in the morning. The girl ,the first rank holder who put visionaries  like me to shame. Visionaries like me , who somehow knew it deep in the bones that memorization while be so outdated and that  google and Wikipedia would emerge, and slept in (tried to sleep with a pillow as a ear plug). All these sounds instigating my mother to add to the cacophony of sounds : “Get up and study”. Add to all this the incessant cawing of crows.

More than all these sounds the distinctive sounds of a motorbike engine heard from two streets away in the quiet night .6 days a week.The sound. Or rather music. The squeaky gate the ending note of the symphony ,to welcome the hard working man , returning after a long day, sometimes drenched in the monsoon rain.

The smell of the wet rupee laid out to dry in the blue laminated dining table.

Home. That’s where I lived when I was 12 years old.

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