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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Barreling down the lanes of memory

    Kae’s challenge: What do you love the most about where you live? This week's challenge is to tell us about where you live by setting the beginning of a story there. You must have at least two characters, and you must make your street, or community, or town come alive for us. The sudden back and forth swaying startled me away from some nameless dream I was caught in. Pulling open the heavy curtains, I tilt my hat back and wiping the day old sweat off my brow, I looked down into the valley and see a dust cloud swirling crazily and throwing debris all over. The sun was just peeking over the horizon and the passing landscape outside the train window was covered in a fine mist and the sun bathed it in an orange light which slowly turned into yellow. Feeling a little bored, I stood up and started to wander down the aisle to break the monotony. I eventually found myself in the kitchen box where the cook and his assistant were doing the dishes and getting ready for a new day. I found my way to the small cubicle which they called the restroom and took a moment which seemed like an eternity to wash off all the dust, grime and sweat off me. The weariness fell off me and I felt refreshed. Even at this age, my ever constant and faithful companion has stayed by my side. As I move from the sleeper section window to the hallway, I see Vanitas reflection on the mirror and the image holds me in a hypnotic trance for a moment. The ‘old woman’ as I fondly call her looks up by chance and sees me staring at her. The comb stops midway on her scalp and she lets out a sharp laughter and wonders out loud what’s on my silly mind. Taking a deep breath, I turn back around and walk back down the passage where I had come from. A loud curse and then a cough from one of the kitchen guys who was taking orders for breakfast brought me out of the thoughts I was in. and asked if we were coming down or not. I told him to head on over and we’ll be there in a bit. After what seemed like a lifetime, we finally made our way to the dining room to have our fill before getting off the train and see if I could locate the town which I grew up in and loved the most without failing this time. The constant chatter of others at the table could not keep my mind from feeling a little uneasiness I was feeling. Heading down the aisle to drive away the boredom, I noticed that it was late in the afternoon and the train was dead empty. The train came to a full halt and looking out the window I saw a few porters were seen idling away their time in the far end of the platform playing a card game and stray dogs chased the rest till all disappeared around the bend. Looking upwards as we stepped out of my compartment, I noticed that the sky was starting to cloud up and a torrential downpour might happen anytime. The winds from the north were already rocking the city and hardly anyone was venturing outside. Looking intently into my cellphone, I hunted up the radio taxi number and asked for one to pick us up right away. The old woman gave me an inquiring look and I replied “Hold your horses woman. The taxi man is coming over for us. Be still for a few minutes will you.” Vanita glared at me like I was some foul man whom she indented to do serious harm. I started to pace back and forth across the platform waiting for the taxi to pick us up. A taxi finally arrived and I checked our bags once more before I zipped them a final time and told the driver to put them in the trunk of the car. Time moved slowly as I saw one familiar landmark after another and I suddenly realized that I had reached my old home which we had sold long back. At one time, what seemed like another life I lived in a city called Solon. It used to be a really fantastic city where everything moved at a snails pace. Hardly anything happened there. No major crime and the population seemed just right. Over the past decade or so, time has flown by yet I still remember my old city like it was just yesterday. Our last house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the city and it overlooked a park which was located just a little distance from our house. We lived in a quiet neighborhood. Not much ever happened there. Spring and summer months were real nice since we had a huge park located near by and alot of kids used to come to the park to play baseball, football or any other sports activity which caught their fancy. Sometimes families used to come to the park for a picnic. One could always tell when a picnic was going on because the delicious food smells used to come our way at times. Usually I used to go up to the park and join a game in progress if they were willing to let me in or if they were short of a few guys. If I was feeling too lazy, I used to just sit on the sidelines and watch. Sometimes, if a few of my buddies were there, I enjoyed my trip to the park more. My buddies and I either used to just sit under the shade of the Maple tree... munch on snacks and just talk, play our own game or join a game in progress. We lived in this house for many years until we finally sold it one day. Time moved on....we grew up and went our own ways, made new friends along the way and changed alot of house and cities with the passage of time. But this park still holds a special place for me. The house had a splendid view of the park and I am sure that the new owners must be enjoying it as much as I did when I was younger. Sometimes when I look back, the park always pops up in my mind and brings back some fond memories and I am reminded of how much carefree fun I had when I was younger. It was as if Vanita had read my mind when she turned to face me and said “One should enjoy each moment every day, because you will never have another chance to change it. Dark stormy clouds will always come into your life, but try not to be weighed down by it. The brighter moments in your life will always dispel these dark moments.” I replied a bit sadly “At times when I am walking or driving past a park and some activity is happening in the park, it takes me back in time to the bygone era. These days will never come back yet I am a firm believer that one should enjoy each moment every day, since you will never have another chance to change it. Time has flown by and the park is gone, yet it still is as prominent to me as it was to me when I was a child.” Taking a final look, we made our way through the town and finally decided to head back home.