Caution: Thoughts on this post are farther than they may appear!
I was seated in the Corporation park outside Ampa Skywalk in Aminjikarai – flanked by the massive mall on one side and the terrific traffic of the Poonamallee High Road on the other. In the middle of the sea of chaos, I had found my island of solitude.
Kinda frustrated with the chain of events on that day, I just decided to relax over a plastic-cup of Chukku kaapi. I took the small plastic cup filled with that piping hot and spicy beverage, and sat on the bench in the park.
The park stood apart from the surroundings – not because of the landscape but because of the mood – A couple of couples, and a couple of parents with kids, just restricting their world to a maximum of a meter radius around them.
In all this, I saw a li’l girl leaving the hold of her parent to give some company to a forsaken slide in the middle of the park – I was wondering how it was right before my eyes, and my mind never caught it. The kid patiently climbed over the ladder, sat on the plane of the slide, and came down sliding!
Then I saw it…something that I’d not seen in long…that unadulterated smile born out of that little joy. My mind made a small time-travel – there was a time when I just wouldn’t spare any slide, and it was, like for any other parent, tough for mine to get me off it! Now I’m sitting in the park with that once-my-addiction in front of me, and it wouldn’t strike my mind that it was in front of my eyes!
Immersed in these thoughts I was, well-fueled by that ray of silence in a spectrum of noises, until a bunch of boys came in to conquer the park. From the speed, and from the crudity of the speed, from their style of speaking and from their language, I can easily tell that they are typical last-benchers of some school. What they spoke was the Chennai-Tamil-equivalent of those ‘beep’s you hear in MTV Roadies.
But who cares? In spite of all this, they were above me in something…their josh, their energy! I did not have it! In a li’l time, they started organizing a game…I could not figure out the rules, but it was orderly, by some strange way. They started running around, raising small sand-storms, much to the irritation of the couples and parents.
Undisturbed in all these, was that li’l kid who was playing on the slide. She’d gathered company now: another small boy. They were taking turns to slide down ; sometimes they were bold enough to climb up on the slide, and slide down stomach-flat!
As I’d shifted focus from the boys to the kids, something stimulated my olfactory senses – it took me only moments to realize it was a disgusting smell: the stink a body drenched in sweat. I could hear someone panting behind me. It was one of those boys, hiding behind me. The droplets of sweat, for some reason, started to gleam in the lights of Skywalk. The force of the stink was beginning to disappear. I bet he was 10 times more tired than me, utterly exhausted, but he was at least a hundred times more energetic than me, all charged up. His eyes were twinkling, fixed, sniper-scope-sharp.
I was just beginning to think about what he would have been looking. He sprang up and charged upon someone – he was faster than my thoughts. Just as he dashed past me, a droplet of sweat from him just landed on skin over my phalanges. The chill in that drop broke me off my thoughts for a moment…and a moment bit too long.
I did not want to become philosophical again. Being a subtle camera-stalker, I thought I’ll take a pic of those kids playing in the slide. I took my bag, went near the slide, thinking that shoot one as one of them slides down. The slide was at my shoulder-level at the highest spot. The last sane memories of me having been near a slide – I was not even half the height!
I silently ditched my thought to click a pic and walked towards the gate. The happenings that were close to me in that park were now too far – just a few meters away! I shot a last look back at the scenes – the two kids still on the slides and the boys playing with the same energy – just that the scene was hazed by the sandstorm of their feet!
I began thinking – when was the last time I found joy in a small thing like a slide? When was the last time I played a game out of nowhere? When was the last time I ran for no reason with unattenuated energy? I went as far as I could (I even thought of my Facebook timeline!) but could not find an answer. I tried my best to think further…
..but before even I could recognize, I was in the middle of that bustle of the city again! All the images before my mind’s eyes just crumbled down at the hard hit of reality! What could I do? Nothing!! Nothing at all!! I knew it…but it’s fine! It was just those insightful moments that mattered!
I got in to a bus, lucky enough to get enough space to stand near the door! The bus passed by Skywalk, and the last thing I remember – those set of kids enjoying a world I know for sure I don’t have a chance!! I got a seat…I sat down, took out my tablet, and I started to play Angry Birds!! Amazing life isn’t it!!?! ! 😀 😀