It is a small building at the end of a muddy road. The driver swears aloud and screeches the bus to a halt. “The engines are gone.” he says to no one in particular. I give him a quick glance and get down lest he begins to tell me where the engines went.
I almost step on a frog, which leaps away. The rains have stopped for now, but the season hasn’t. The earth is still wet and soon my blue shoes are no longer blue.
We are a hoard of college girls, each sporting a badge. National Service Scheme, it says. Our hair is tied up properly, our dresses neat and ironed. Some of us even wear shades of eye liners and lipsticks. We have our pretty purses and we have our prettier prides.
We walk towards the building. It is two storied and whitewashed. The name, written in huge block letters, is visible from a distance. “Rajkiya Ucch Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Kalyanpura”
It towers above the new building nearby. It is bent and crooked and old. It stands all the same. No one has seen the tree grow. Not one breathing soul. Perhaps, except one. The haveli from across the lane. The paint has peeled off. The walls are covered with cobwebs, the ground, with weeds. The stones are crumbling down. The doors, made of iron, intrinsically carved, stand shut and locked- exactly like they were that one fateful day. The day the grandmother died and everyone else packed their lives into bundles and moved themselves to better times in the cities. Creepers have grown around the latch, shutting them harder than ever. The windows open if you shove them hard, bringing out a smell. The smell of times long past. Mixed smells of curry and stocked grain. Of spices and cold water. Of hand woven cloth and cow dung. Of men and women. Of beauty and happiness and misery. Of richness and poverty. Of grandfather’s stories and candies. And also of rats and snakes which inhabit the rooms now. The Haveli is not haunted. No. The ghosts have long gone. Sixty years is a long time, even for them.
In a supposedly meaningful conversation with a friend, I have been coerced into publishing my writings here.
I have always been an aspiring writer with disastrous attempts. These humble words have usually been penned at the back of an old register, empty one side printed pages and often, the school furniture.
But it’s time I grew up, or so my friend says. So here I am, writing just about anything. You can expect musings, jokes, frustrated writings, diary entries, books, notes, conversations and also a list of grocery my mom asked me to buy.
There is also this art of blackout poetry I have recently come across. I am going to practice some of it here.