I was back. I was back in this familiar alley. I could see the book shop “Mitra book stall”.
I looked up. It was evening time. The sun was setting. I stood there mesmerized, breathing in the last of the beautiful day. There was an orange haze above the horizon as if the sky was being lit by fire, yet the haze was so crisp and clear. The sun, like a grandeur orange fireball in the distance was partially cloaked by the hanging clouds, which were all splashed with random colors of pink, red and even hints of purples and blues. It seemed to look at me with a dull glare, knowing that it’s beauty and the planet’s dependence on it for survival made up for it. After a complete day of casting its magical glow on the Earth and its inhabitants, it seemed to whisper “Farewell” to the world as it sunk lower and lower in a lazy manner; almost as if it never wanted to leave.
I knew that I could not stand here forever. Time was bound to move and with it the sun will also disappear and darkness will spread its cloak all around. But this moment captivated me so much that I could not command my feet to move.
Finally my rationality won. I gave a final wistful look at the sky. The sun was almost as orange as the sky, like a ghost almost. Yet even from behind the trees, it seemed to stare at me; a silent ball of wonderment. I returned my gaze in front. The book stall was visible although the degree of visibility had decreased somewhat. I entered the alley just adjacent to the shop. After walking some steps I found another lane on the left side of the road just as I knew I would. I entered that lane.
I continued walking. I could see the familiar houses all around me. My heart was pounding in my chest like the drumming of wings of a hummingbird. Adrenaline was pouring through my body. I was walking very slowly. On the left I saw the green patch of field. It was the popular playground of the neighbourhood kids. They would play cricket and occasionally football. The sound of their cheering would feel the air. I stood there watching the field as I have done numerous times before. Today however, it was solitary. There were no activities. The place was serene and quiet. Probably it is the exam season!! The unnatural silence was creating a mystical atmosphere. Inspite of my excitement I felt the tranquility of the place touching my heart.
I stood there for quite some time. Silence has always communicated to me better than noise. The beauty of nature has always captivated me. I closed my eyes. The slight breeze was tossling my hair as if an invisible presence. Memories started flooding back and with it came the sudden urgency to reach my destination. This caused me to come out of my pensive mood. I opened my eyes. It had grown dark. The sun had taken adieu and gone to slumber. The moon had taken its place. The crescent shape was playing hide and seek with the white patches of cloud floating on the sky.
“How long have I simply stood here closing my eyes?” I wondered. I knew I had to keep going otherwise I would not reach my destination today also. It would continue to mock me like an unprocurable illusion. I started my journey again.
I stumbled slightly. The condition of the road was just like I remembered. That along with scarcity of light was making my vision obscure. I began to proceed carefully. The sweet fragrance of roses drifted to me making me aware of my vicinity to Mrs. Mukherjee’s house. She had the hobby of cultivating various species of roses in her small garden. When various colors of roses would bloom what a magnificent sight it would be! We sometimes would flock around her house and marvel on the sheer beauty.
I continued to walk. I could hear a fire alarm in the distance. Some house must have caught fire. As I reached a two storeyed white building my excitement grew ten folds as my subconscious was telling me that it was only minutes before I reach my goal. Darkness all around, illuminated only by the crescent moon was creating a mystical backdrop which was further enhancing my inner turmoil. The fire alarm was louder now.
I took the final turn and stood. I could make out the blurry outline of a moderate size two storeyed house. It was only a few feet away from me. My destination…
The place where I must go. I have finally reached that place. I took steps carefully fearing that if I run or take large strides then it would disappear into nothingness.
I could see the house clearly now. I could see every intricate details. A few more steps and I will enter the house. I reached out towards the main gate…
I woke up with a start. The alarm clock was ringing. I looked around. I was back in the 1 bhk flat room in Koramangala, about 1900 km away from the house that I was going to enter, my house !! I heaved a sigh and got up. It was just another normal day and still not quite so. How I wish ….