A city with no serene beaches or breathtaking mountain views. Traffics a mess here and city planning seems to have been done by underpant gnomes(South Park). A city of blood-sucking-parasite-of-rickshawallahs and dreamy software folks. India’s Silicon Valley with innovations borrowed and adapted from the West & a Garden City bleeding concrete.
Yet the city thrives. With a calming pulse unlike any other city. Its a pulse which is not captured in those wide angle-skyscrapers cityline-flashing traffic-late night shots. Its right here in the middle of this stalling silk-board traffic. Or there by the white sand on the madiwala lake side. Or in any one of the numerous cafes mushrooming in the city. Roll your windows down, shuffle your playlist and zip up your jacket. There is no hurry. Its a city you don’t have to get away from on a weekend.
A romantic’s view this is. Nevertheless I am sure many people will reflect similar sentiments. I have a good mind to call this the Buddha city. That has a nice ring to it. Calm in the eye of the storm feeling.
But then this might be the reflection of the state of my mind. I choose not to believe that as it has been definitely inspired by this place and it has to be given credit for what it is. And I see a cloud creeping into my mind. Is it the place or the people here?
Well lets keep that for another post, another day. For now let me dwell in this calm. Of the Buddha City.
6 years, 5 months and change it has been since I last met him. The last days seem a blur. It happened all of a sudden to make any sense. Ain’t that a rhetoric when it comes to life? There were no goodbyes; no shared cigarette over the plans made and lost; no promises to keep. It was replaced by hushed conversations, judgmental views and borderline disgust from some quarters. He could at-least have told this was in his mind. I am sure he had good reason to convert? To block love father cites terror. I am sure that female is behind all this. She looked dicey. You cant stop people from saying things….
The best thing about college friendships is how they frame a backbone to you becoming the person you will be for the rest of your life. Its like the background score to your stepping – to life. People tend to drift off but that music stays in time as a reminder. When he is back I am sure he will recognize it. After all he was the chief composer/conductor in our small circle. Guys lets promise to meet every year once at this same place. Even after we marry and have kids of our own. The 6 feet-wide road running off into the Calicut beach.
We would have taken his side. No matter the odds. Still he chose not to. Who am I to question his wisdom in these matters. The questions I had for him are all but faded by time. Just this one lingers. “Bilal, where is my friend?”
Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi sounds in my head. Chilly morning breeze freezing my face and hands. I see the field at a distance. It feels warm. Bright as early morning. The breeze is softer. The field was always as I imagined. Endless and golden. I see her. I swoosh past a couple of lorries. And then she’s not there. I am all alone. The gush of air in my ears and revving of the engine. Its not a bad place to be in. The calm lets my mind wander wherever it wants. Memories. Hopes. Freedom. And I head deep into the traffic.
Life is full of contrasts and semblances. Sometimes I feel the world outside to be a projection of my state of mind. It swings from peace to chaos like a pendulum in perpetual motion. Wasn’t the traffic I was heading into a reflection of the conflict inside me? I squeeze my way past two semi-trailers. Why do they let these vehicles within city limits during peak hours? Buggers. One moment I am in a serene field and the next I am searching the skies for the source of disturbance. Reminded me of the calm before the first monsoon rains back in my hometown. A longing to be back in the safety of childhood pangs at my heart. Jerked back by the rickshaw taking a near impossible maneuver to overtake me. Moron.
As all journeys this too has to end. A friend told me recently to count my blessings each day, it will make me a better man. Well I had my share of blessings today; the wonderful thoughts, the drive, the field and most importantly her. I see the field once again. She is there. And so are some others. That’s my field. My world. I park my car happily and head into the house. And I hear a low pitched rumble coming from the sky behind me.