After a few days of hanging around at home and in Aundh, I ventured past University Circle (yes, yes, you may not see a circle, but screw your objections) today. I wish I had not.
9 months after leaving, I come back to find more changes in Pune. Now, honestly, I'm okay with change. It's natural and in some cases needed. But the pace here is ruthless, relentless and has claimed some victims that leave me with a dull ache in the vicinity of the old ticker. I could and can do nothing about it so there's no use flailing arms or bitching. At the most, a cursory tsk-tsk.
It's almost as surreal when I visited my school yesterday. In more ways than one, I went back. Nothing like talking to your teachers from Std. 5 to ensure that you feel 12 again. The really odd part is snapping out of the self-induced hypnosis or whathaveyou to realize that you are discussing your future (theoritical) marriage plans... with someone with whom the only previous discussion you can recall concerned topics from geography and your appaling disciplinary record in class.
I wonder though... in 25 years time, when I want to sit at Roopali with friends and reminisce, will Roopali (never mind the places we would be referring to) be around ? How much of our past will have faded away, to live only in cerebral nooks and crannies ?
Every time I see yet another familiar landmark gone, I cannot help but think that some part of me has faded away as well... lost forever to change. Almost like the laughter, the tears and the conversations never happened.
Maybe I am glorifying the memories... but right now, everything is bittersweet and there's no escaping it.
Returning from Deccan, I crossed University circle and hit Ganeshkhind road. Revved up the Kinetic and streaked through the traffic, instinctively knowing where some dip in the tarmac needed to be avoided and revelling in feeling the wind on my face the rushing speed of the bike.
Right then, at that moment, I could not help it... I grinned. For the past and for the present.
The future can sort itself out.
Song for the moment: Raindrops keep falling on my head - B. J Thomas