Last week I was in another city, much different than the place where I live in. Truth be told most cities are the same, -ish maybe. The same wide long roads, a bunch of malls stacked together with the high end brands sporting massive billboards, in all colours plain, simple text and a woman looking into the distance, crowded railway stations and one massive university campus.
But last week took me to heaven and back, I stayed at the home of a complete stranger, 4 girls shared a flat and I, a day and a half. For the first time in weeks managed to wake up without the innate dread of reading the same books, instead I woke up to a cup of hot chai, warmer conversations, buttered garlic bread and the comfort of a bed, blanket and cold marble tiles.
Dragging myself awake, I spent the day watching sex and the city, its brilliance and relevance, of how a decade and a half later too these women are ones that I have always loved, cried when they did, laughed along and ooh-ed and aah-ed over cosmopolitans and sex. Gobbled down a plate of hot maggi for lunch, took a nice long warm bath, and went out for a walk in the neighbourhood complex. Followed by salt, lime and green apple vodka, dinner and stories, the next day’s headache hangover of hurrying for a train, dashing through the platform like a headless chicken and finding myself back with Jem and Scout of, ‘To kill a mockingbird’.
On some streets you never walk the entire way, like bookmarks, dog eared pages, memories of a favorite dress on a good day hanging in your closet, or that tiny divine amount of body mist that still lies at the bottom of a bottle, living another day, waiting to take you back in time.
On the streets of Pune, I resisted myself from walking up the hill road, those long broad streets with ice cream parlors and restaurants lining it and watched the road curve and disappear, book marking it to make sure I come back, another day and walk the stretch. The chill in the air, scoops of swiss chocolate icecream, a borrowed red windbreaker, rumi’s poems and incomplete love stories.
Leaving tiny crumbles of my heart along the way I hope to find my way back, in the maze of lanes that cross a railway crossing and walk right into a vegetable market, the familiar sounds, rishkas on the street and mouth-watering beguni in Calcutta, Of a road that boasts shops and cars alike yet turns a corner into the Sunday second hand book market in Hyderabad, Of massive fields of green, a lake or two, bridges, towns and people speeding away as the train runs on clock, sharing seats with toddlers who have taken a fancy to my white hair clip, PhD students poring over their research papers, absent minded baritone singers, loud debates on politics and Bollywood over dip chai and lays.
Just when you think you have found yourself, you bump into another part of your being that you never knew existed, in new friends, places, winding roads, strangers, that makes me wonder.
Do you get lost or found in translation?