Reminiscence 1

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
~T.S. Eliot

Summer has laid the hills bare. Stripped of their greenery they stand exposed to heat and dust. My eyes are beginning  to revolt against the glare but I dont want to miss even a single spot that was once a treasured part of  me and still is. So much has changed over the years and yet it all seems so familiar. Mentally I remove the jarring high rise buildings and replace them with  huge green blossoming trees and vast expanses of uncultivated land where the monsoon would spread a soft carpet of verdant green , where wild flowers would dance in the rain  and little streams would flow oblivious to the zipping traffic on the highway.

“Nothing is so awesomely unfamiliar as the familiar that discloses itself at the end of a journey.”~Cynthia Ozick

The city makes me yearn for the past and I wonder if  it is ever possible to taste  moment from the past again? Does it ever taste same? The landscape has changed tremendously and the only things which have remained constant are some old trees and houses. Each fighting for its survival pressed between the commercially advancing city. Same seems to be the case with the elders. I went around certain part of Pune city after 20 years and apart from the old crumbling house which at one time seemed out of a picture book everything else seemed so unfamiliar. It brought back surge of memories but I could not associate it now with the present state of the place , its unkempt garden, the crumbling stairs , peeling paint and the murky smell that filled the dark rooms.

It shocked me how people had aged in such short period. Well, not so short actually but my mental image surely was different. The kittens played around as usual unrestricted. I felt a certain strangeness in the atmosphere. Suffocating. The garden still had the beautiful flowering trees. Some had the rare flowers hanging like Chinese lanterns but in a hurry to escape the unease it slipped my mind to take pictures. It didn’t feel the same at all.  I wondered how anyone stayed there. It was disturbing to say the least.

Much is to be seen and time is running out. I still have to visit some special places. Places associated with Personal memories .

Talegao came as a refreshing break between two places which hold me captive. It’s all in the mind I guess. However I may want to escape something minute calls from the past and takes me back in time. A picture, a face, an expression, some song or just the current that flows between the family members gathered together after ages. Children grandchildren, parents, grandparents … it was overwhelming and then I got filled with the loss of those who were so much a part of me as a girl.

Somehow I felt out-of-place among those present. Elders who made a group and chatted away ceaselessly about their times and youngsters who played and laughed oblivious to the nostalgia. I had lost my companions, my playmates, cousins who were my age and closer to me than anyone else. the void is hard to fill. Very hard.

And still, I felt a different rush of emotions , a different longing , a desire for something unexplained. Under the starlit sky amidst laughter, liquor, food and music my mind drifted aimlessly to places unknown to  me. The giddy heart becoming sorrowfully sad while the mixed emotions lingered on.

In  silence of the night I felt the transition from one love to another on different plane, space and time.

The protagonist of  Fireflies and stardust waited patiently to be set free. Reminiscent she roamed the paths with me. The loss hung heavy in the air. The landscape looked as parched as the heart.

The time was too short to let the girl explore the secret places and spend quiet moments under the Kadamb trees. A longer stay was needed for catharsis.

Filled with the aromas of delicacies from the kitchen and the fragrance of love that the summer breeze carried I returned with a promise to be back.

It is strange how we get restricted because of our age. A thought I can not explain. I have overgrown the laps but the warmth and love is still there. Still there are times I want to become that little girl again and my heart aches for that hug and long walks holding the firm hand of someone I felt so secure with. We become conscious of our words, our actions. The transition from a favourite baby girl to a young woman , a mother of two, is painful at least to me.

The room is dark and the house silent . I am sitting near the window overlooking the city. The night sky is clear and yet I can’t see a star. The night is more alive and richly colored than the day.

I try to empty my mind of thoughts. I have avoided to go within and look for answers. It is something I loved to do but there is an emptiness deep inside that isn’t letting me go.

Too much is at stake at present. It is difficult to maintain balance when one is pulled from all directions.

I am just trying to fill the empty spaces and empty those spaces that are filled with little things gathered over the time.

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