"What is with this stain?" I demanded sighing. The stain looked strange - like a weird bubblegum plastered on the wall.
And right now, I was not too sure that I did not want to know the answer to my own question.
For the past three days, stains and any forms of dirt were freaking me out. Actually, they are beginning to terrify me.
I stopped my examination of the stain on the wall and winced. My back was really killing me.
My snappiness would be understandable if you know that my home is having a spring cleaning - that annual torture where we begin to get our house as a livable place was on. Exactly why our home was considered "unlivable" until then or the purpose of the entire cleaning, is unclear to me. But this has been going on for as long as I can remember.
And so here I was - throwing away junk which I had collected lovingly in the past one year - junk which probably were the most useless things, in the first place....
And for the past three days, I can hardly remember being clean – I have been dusting, cleaning, sweeping and in between, I have been eating and sleeping.
There has never been a time when I have cursed the vacation time. Looks like spring cleaning has done the impossible. It has made me yearn to go back to school. Right now the uncomfortable desk and bench at school sounded so tempting...Yeah, I know. Something is wrong with me. But trust me, if you do the spring cleaning, you would see my point of view.
Anyway, back to the present, it started out with the halls and damn...cleaning the hall alone, took forever. There is still a huge fast-filling carton which I have labeled "No idea what this is", downstairs.
Every single thing that I have seen all over the home and some things I do not even know what it is, goes inside the carton.
And frankly I do not have the guts to check the carton.
And looking at the rate the carton was getting filled up, I decided in horror that the box was probably going to move back inside the house, in some other corner of the house.
Seriously, cleaning sucks.
Which was exactly why watching the stain on the wall was freaking me out.
"Leave that alone, kid!" That was my equally harassed father and right now he was looking like a bandit – carrying a huge mop and cleaning the top of the walls, and covering his face with a cloth which had been white at some point of time, and a shirt which probably a pirate would not want to be caught dead in, and his sweat glistening face as he was struggling not to sigh..I was probably insulting bandits everywhere, by comparing my dad with them.
But right now I was thinking about none of these things. I looked at the stain and back at my dad. The stain was hidden behind the bed and looked really horrible up close. It looked like some mad artist had started scribbling on the wall and given up the effort halfway. I thought I even saw some long dried food particles from the place....Yuck!
The only reason no one had noticed it was that until now it had been hidden behind the bed. That stain had no business being anywhere in the home.
And here was my dad saying things like this looking at the stain like it was the masterpiece of Picasso. Ok, I have no idea how people look at the Picasso's painting. Ok, let me rewind even more. Picasso is an artist right? Or was it someone else. Anyway as I said – details and boring.
"What?" I was confused wondering what my dad was talking about.
"That stain stays." My dad said with one of his "Do as your told" tone. My dad usually does not have that tone. That right is reserved for my mom. It was very surprising to hear that tone from dad to say the least.
More from curiosity and less from the fact that my back was aching, I dropped the broom in my hand and plopped myself on the dirty sofa which I would probably have given a look of disdain any other time. Honestly, the fact that the sofa was dirty did not even register in my head at that time. Besides I was curious.
"What?" I asked daddy again.
Daddy smiled as he dropped his mopper gratefully and slipped in the sofa behind me. And I should probably not add the fact that my dad is a stickler for cleanliness. But spring cleaning does take a toll of you. It makes you forget some things.
"You made that. When you were five," Dad told me without any preamble.
I blinked for some more time.
"I made that stain?" I asked again looking at the weird bubblegum thing. For the life of me, I could not remember doing anything like that. I was not even an artist for heavens sake. Give me science and maths - I can handle that. Art in any form...is beyond me.
"What was I trying to do?" I asked again.
"No idea!" My dad said in a plaintive voice.
"Dad!" I scolded my dad as he was chuckling.
"Do you remember Kiran?" My father asked me.
I just stopped myself from huffing angrily. Of course I remembered the asshole. Seriously, that was the only part of my childhood which I completely want to forget and somehow I could never do that. That idiot was my neighbour was a pain in neck. And someone whom I would not touch with a bargepole. Even now.
"Yeah what about him?" I asked sighing.
"You both used to play together when you were kids," my dad said.
"I know that dad," I said rolling my eyes. I was the one doing the playing. Well, we were not exactly playing. All Kiran used to do was show me his toys in his nauseatingly clean home. His mom used to keep the home so clean and she would never let us play there, properly. Besides, Kiran being who he was, he would just show me his toys and never let me play with it. God, I really hated it. The only reason I played was because there was no one else my age to play with at that time.
As I said, history and ancient history at that. Right now, with my dad being a well known doctor in town, I could probably afford all that things and more. None of that really mattered to me.
"One day his father brought some precious painting and his father was doing the usual," My dad said.
I rolled my eyes. The usual being that his father was probably showing off to the world at large how rich they were and what big assholes they were. But that was hardly surprising. Kiran's father had been the richest businessman in the city and they were such showoffs that now I am actually embarrassed when I think about it.
"So?" I asked.
"I have no idea what got into you," My dad said. "But you came home and you did that." I looked at that stain and then looked at my dad. "You took every single colour that you had at home and even the stuff left over from mom's cooking for that."
"And you did not stop me?" I asked my dad.
My dad looked shocked at the very suggestion. "Why would I? To me that is special," He told me. "Especially because of what you told me after finishing this an hour later."
I still said nothing as my dad continued. "You said that I do not have to worry, because our house also now has a painting. And that I could call all my friends and show them this."
I was silent as I stared at the stain. Words were frankly beyond me.
My dad said it for me. "That was the day I realized that I may not be as rich as that man. But I had something that he did not. He had a house – of brick and mortar. And I had a home full of stains." My dad smiled at the stain again. "Stains which made my house into a home."