Monday, February 25, 2013

Feels like goodbye!

I have spoken earlier about my fondness for the place we currently live in. We live on rent and are vacating it tomorrow as we head to spend some time in a new country. We live on the 4th floor of an apartment that is surrounded by open land and green trees. Some of it is owned by the Army and hence, untouched. Some of it was under dispute, now resolved, and hence is being prepared and levelled rather too vigorously for my liking, for 'development'.

But before monstrous looking earth movers came to work on it, it looked like an untamed piece of land, abound with wild growth and, I am sure, not without its share of harmless fauna. If you walked through it in the dusk, which I did often, you could hear the crickets and other insects settling in for the night. The only lights are from the apartments bordering this land. If one were to dig this land, they'll find many a thoughts laid to rest by the people who walk across this dusty and dark, albeit peaceful stretch. Every evening, I would come up with an excuse to go out just so that I can walk across my precious piece of land. And I have selfishly guarded this time, allowing nothing to stop me from heading out for this rendezvous.

It's not only this ritual and this land that I am leaving behind. There is a routine, a familiarity that I have become aware of lately, intentionally or otherwise. Every week-day morning, two yellow school buses arrive to pick up children. One goes all the way till the dead-end of the lane, the other maneuvers around the apartment before a little girl hops onto it. It happens to be school bus for the specially-abled. She seems fine to me, except when I hear her howling during a much hated early bath. That's her routine. I hear this as my mind is stirring up from sleep.

When I used to work, my time to leave would match the time of an older uncle's morning walk. His routine is to walk up and down the road. He bids hello-s to familiar faces. I was happy to be a familiar face because that way I got to wish him back. He looks frail but it perked me up to watch him walk speedily as I occasionally waited for my car-pool ride/partner to arrive. That's another ritual. I loved strolling in the morning sun and slightly chilly air as I waited for my ride to arrive.

Then there are the neighbours. I managed to begin a 'vatka vyavahaar'-where I exchanged some sweets and savouries during Diwali-with the bunch of guys who live opposite us and the family that lives right below our flat. There's the young girl who is studying to become a doctor, the woman with the dog who moved out a few days ago because she couldn't afford the renewed rent, the guy who rides his cycle to work right outside on the main road, the bunch of maids who live in shacks right opposite our apartment with their brood of girls.

And then there is the cool summery breeze. I never tire of it. I never tire of watching the sun set every evening. If I could, I would bottle it all up with precious vignettes from the past. If I could, I would open it, but only sparingly, to relive these moments again and again.

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