It is 5:30 pm on a Saturday evening. The creaking bus has stopped at Bremen Square, the conductor plaintively & rather hopefully announcing the stop as Parihar Chowk. Resisting the urge to sarcastically question that, the guy steps off. He is loaded down with two bags; one filled with clothes to be washed, the other containing his laptop. Even having travelled in what passes for air-conditioned comfort, he is tired. His bedraggled clothes and tousled hair suggest as much. Thanking the heavens for sunglasses, he crosses the road and takes the Workshop road.
At first, he is slightly disconcerted by both the absence of humidity & lack of need to jostle anyone. Then he gives a slight smile... residual expectations and habits. The sunglasses do not prevent him from noticing how the setting sun burnishes the kadappah on the footpath. The murmuring rustle from the trees lining the road send a relaxing shiver down his spine. The sky to the south is blue, the blue that weaves dreams of long-faded idyllic Spring afternoons. The smell of wet earth hangs heavy and a pang of regret whispers that he has missed the first rain of the year.
At the end of the road he turns right, then left. The building is cool and dark, making the glasses superfluous now. The bags have begun to weigh him down but he bounds up the two flights of steps anyway. Using his set of keys, he lets himself into the house. The silence that greets him suggests that no one is home, but he does not care. Today, he prefers it that way. A cup of tea and a dish of sabudana khichadi steam contentedly on the dining table. Dumping the bags in a corner of his room, he catches his reflection in the mirror and realizes that he has been smiling unwittingly. It feels so terribly good to be in Pune.
Song for the moment: Leaves that are green - Simon & Garfunkel