March 4, 2014

There Are Places I (Shall) Remember... 4th February 2014

Making my way through a chilly February night, past the familiar sights of Ring Road, of Safdarjung Enclave, of Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, and JNU, when I entered my room in Vasant Kunj tonight, I was hit by a feeling of loss, stronger than I had been expecting. Everything lay exactly the way I had left them about a month and a half back. Within seconds, my life of half a year came back to me. The partly-unmade bed, the quilts and bed sheets lying lumped together- as if comforting and protecting each other from the cold- all my clothes strewn around the room, the dried up bathroom floor, the Queen poster above my bed, the green lights - given to me on Diwali by someone who had warmed November up by his presence - garlanding the television on the wall, the Vodafone Internet modem I used for Internet connectivity here, the multiple empty Hot Chocolate, Nescafe and Nutella containers that I never bothered to throw away, the jute bag bearing the World Health Organisation logo- given to me by an uncle when I arrived to stay here, in August- one that I had hung behind the front door and never got around to dislodging from there even once since then, the books on Advertising- a course that had brought me to Delhi, a blue scarf that I had managed to procure out of one of my closest friends at IIMC- my Karol Bagh auntie- that I would also wear in class with my pairs of jeans and shirts(with the Bangalore Uncle, Mr. Chaithanya commenting - "very surprisingly, you do manage to pull this weird ensemble off as well"), the empty Ballantine's bottle and glass reminiscent of one particularly wild night around Diwali - all of this lying around, just as I had, running late and rushing to catch a train to Calcutta, left them - brought back so many memories...

...Memories of my first time away from home, my first time staying alone, completely by myself, like an adult, with no one to take care of me, or to pester me. Unlike most people, who graduate from home to hostel, to finally living alone, my first tryst with independence was marked by the complete, stark "alone-ness"(and I do NOT mean loneliness) that this place offered to me. I slept when I pleased, I woke up as I wished(though, usually, in time for college), I went up to the terrace with some food when I so desired, made myself as many cups of coffee as would keep me happy(having learnt how to make coffee here itself), climbed over the gate when I got too late in coming back at night, kept wondering what the warning sign asking one to be wary of "Non Ionized Radiation" meant. I danced by myself to the music played at the parties at the farmhouse next door and ordered countless meals from Hawkers and AFC's kitchen, and watched countless episodes of Harvey Specter's squabbles with Louis Litt, and bonding with Mike...This room saw love materialize, saw several varieties of despair as I desperately tried to figure a person out, gradually understanding him and accepting him for what he is. This room was for when my best friends trooped in to surprise me on a day I had overslept and missed college, found the door open, and found me lying on my bed, half-naked, and woke me up to a torrent of laughter.
I can't help but recall, after the decision to not put up with family here in Delhi, and the subsequent four days of house hunting to disappointing results, when I first set my eyes on this room, it had been love at first sight. The decision had been made then and there, and I had moved in a couple of days later. Today, on my last night here, as I try to soak in as much of this ambience, of this room, as possible, I am reminded of one cardinal truth about life. People attach a lot of importance to staying in touch with each other. This, they believe, would help them stay in touch with their past. Yet, for all the clinging on to other people that we do, as we tread through life, we forget that our past was necessarily made up of, besides the people, the places and the times we lived in - how the flowers smelled that day, how strongly the sun shone, and how much dust flickered through the sunlight pouring in through the ventilators. And thus, though the people live on( at least for a while), the times we lived in die, and with them, so does our past - never to be brought back to life, exactly similarly, even with all the people involved.

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