It was Friday Night. A cool breeze and sky full of moon light were enticing for the people living in the society. It was huge but sparsely populated society, located a little far from the city. A cluster of 3 buildings with 32 floors each. It was not surrounded by the concrete structures like that of in the city, nor did it have that mind numbing sound of the traffic which goes hand in hand with the city lifestyle. A small road passed by the buildings, it bore medium traffic during the day, but fell eerily calm in the night. Just calm would be an understatement though. Society held a small garden at one corner, a small play area on the other corner, a huge parking space surrounding the buildings and a small but leisurely swimming pool in the Garden. You could see the plants in the pot here and there, kept for the sake of decoration, or rather for the sake of bringing life to this cement structure which people called their home. The plants were clearly not fulfilling their purpose. Not many people would enjoy the calmness that this place provided, but no matter how the surroundings of the building were, the homes inside were very nice.
Nitya was wandering around the building at 2 am. Thanks to the uncalled powercuts, she was out and enjoying the chilled full moon day with an ice cream in her hand. Well, ice cream because it would have melted with no electricity for the refrigerator. Nitya holding the butterscotch one, strolled along the empty parking lot of the building.
Power cuts were so common during her childhood. Every day from 6 to 8 there would be no lights in their entire village. The village would plunge into darkness, and a moment later, would emerge again with a subtle crimson glow of lamps. It was not a nuisance at that time. When the lights would go out, all of the grown ups would gather in front of their homes and chat about their day. Ladies complaining that the milkman is putting too much water in their milk now a days. Or discussing how the Husband of the protagonist in the series that they watch, tried to kill his wife. While some ladies discussed the recipe of the sweet that Mrs Nair had cooked and distributed among all of her neighbors. While the men discussed the politics or how can we forget, the match of Cricket.
Nitya had been living in this house since last 1 year, but she did not have any idea about her neighbours. The only thing she knew was the name which flashed on the name plate of their house in front of her.
It was never as hot in the village. Even on the hottest of the days of summer, she would be out in the sun playing and running in all directions. Nitya and her friends would play all kind of games. Hide and seek was their favorite and finding the best nook to hide during the game, was the biggest challenge they faced. They would bunch up and go to the local shop keeper to get colored pencils so that none of them would buy the same color and later get confused as to whose pencil it was. Nitya being the bully, always got Red which was her favorite and then nobody could buy the same color.
The smell of mangoes in the summer, the sweet- tangy taste of the sharbat, hot phulkas made by Maa, huge fights over little treats, teacher forgetting to give the homework, postponed class tests, smell of new books and notebooks on the first day of school, putting covers on the books, deciding best cover for her favorite subjects, fragrance of soil on first rain, jumping into the puddle…. and the list of memories could go on. It was a golden period.
She missed how her mom would scold her when she would dig directly into the sweets tiffin brought by Sharda aunty, her neighbour. And how Sharda would support Nitya and give her one more sweet from the tiffin.
She feels lucky to have lived in the age where everyone knew everyone. She still admires the lifestyle of those in her village. But over the time, she has learned to enjoy the fragrance of soil of this city where her future is. She has started to admire the city which in-spite of moving so fast, takes a pause when someone needs their help. She detests the traffic, but feels grateful when all the people make way for an ambulance going through the crowd. She feels thankful when an unknown person stops and tells her that the way she is going through is blocked and she should rather take the long route. She tears up when she hears that a bunch of unknown women helped deliver a baby in the train when no one was there to take care of the mother in pain.
The time has changed, but certain values remained same. She is thankful for being part of a city which runs 24 hours, but does not hesitate to hit pause when it is required. She is still connected to her roots, but is growing with the tree called life….