The Thousand Autumns of National Park

Friday, April 06, 2012

October 2011. It could be November too, for all you know, September. This one time we were at National Park. The same gazebo where the drivers squat through the day. Those who ferry snooty girls from the premier educational hub in Delhi. Same gazebo. I'm no driver and neither are the others who were with me. Lack of space and laziness together ensured we landed there for one such rehearsal. This is just before one of our competitions. I'm don't remember which, anyway, it's hardly significant here.

Dramatics Society and their pseudo intellectual, Navy Cut smoking friends came to review our first act or some shit. What I clearly remember, though, was that it was a Sunday and I beyond pissed to have been asked to come. For what? To play and pause music (okay, I was a part of production team for the play and incharge for music). M and uD had already departed from the gazebo under the pretext of some get together or curfew or something as morbid as that. S and I were, as always, stuck, covering the awkward lack of production people and just wasting time.

Practice was on full swing. We must have stopped at the point where Tricia was having her breakthrough and other Psychologists were at awe. That scene, yes. I was bored out of my wits and was just admiring the lazy autumn settling in on the dirty pathway of the areas connecting underbelly of the posh Greater Kailash and Punjabi Bagh of the South Lajpat Nagar. National Park would come on top of the chart of the areas in Delhi, high on street harassment and the precise location of our inhabitance during those rehearsals. Exactly the place not to be found in, There I was, with a cigarette clutched between sweaty fingers and rash infused palm, smoking in between to kill time. At some point, visitors started trickling in the park for their evening stroll/ jog/ walk/ kill time. The usual scene at any park, post 5:30 in Delhi or elsewhere (pardon my ignorance, I've not travelled much).

An old woman with an even old man, possibly in their late 6os, walked into National Park. They could be Japanese but I'm placing my bet on the North Korean ethnicity. The man was leading his partner and they both looked at each other occasionally and crossed the little stones together. I looked at S, instinctively at the same moment she looked at me.

I could lie but I swear at that moment both of us made the wish, 'I'd love to end up like this, someday.'

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