Detour

by Somethinger

I’m at my grandparents’ place.

Took a walk in the evening. Borivali’s little neighbourhood has changed so much.

The well outside the temple has disappeared. The dairy is gone, along with all its buffaloes and haystacks and smell of cow-dung that reminded me of walks with Acchappa. I still recognise some shopkeepers, but only one recognised me as Nambiar’s kid. The lane seems longer. More Gujjus. The building next to ours has a gate, and it’s locked the gate at the back which was a shortcut to the temple Aaba used to take me to. The low wall opposite the building has a pointed surface now- so I can’t make my kids walk on it like Dad let me.  The building on the main road with wide balconies and old aunties has been pulled down and there’s a new structure there, with glass exteriors and an HDFC Bank (with ATM) instead- all shiny in a dusty, rusted kingdom. The laundry’s window has sunk in lower thanks to the BMC’s road widening (and thus heightening) project. The photo studio that had my neighbour’s portrait in a red lehenga on the wall is now dusty and insignificant. The other end of the temple lane is narrower. I’d have missed it. The fish market there is dark and dingy, and the kittens have all grown up or gone away. Acchappa’s window can be seen only from one spot, and if you cross over to the other side of the building that blocks the once ample view, you can see the bedroom window of Acchappa’s house. A building named ‘Something-Tower’ is 4 floors high.

Little things that mark my memory that was created when I was led around holding a finger guiding me. Quaint little worlds that I was part of and now I am a spectator to.

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