Thursday, January 29, 2015
Evenings have a distinct quality of taking you down the forgotten lanes of memory. I look at the people walking the perimeter of the park, and I wonder if they too are reminded of long lost childhood evenings in places they will never set foot in again. As you grow older, mirages start to break. You start to slowly take your idols out of their moulds and see them as what they are - flawed, disappointing, afraid human beings. And, perhaps, as we are never given something that we can not handle, with this process comes the ability to accept people for exactly who they are.
'Godhooli bela' - that's what they call this time of the day - this slow, slowly fading light that belongs to the children and the birds. It is called godhooli bela because at this time, the cattle, mostly cows (hence 'go' from 'gau') would return in large numbers from the fields, and their walks would raise a lot of dust (hence dhool) which would cloud the vision. This is what Papa had told me, and I am glad that some day, I might be able to take someone back to the vision of a far-off village with this definition, just as he had taken me.
Evenings in Darbhanga were probably the quietest ones of my life and hence most prominent. Dadi would make a big deal about 'saanjh batti' and light a diya and sing a song of longing. In the song, Yashoda would pine for Krishna's safe return as the day started to darken. I could feel the anxiety in Dadi's voice as someone would light a kerosene lantern and hang it in the verandah. Sometimes, I would go to roof to have a look at the mosque from where a far off voice would stir my soul, and I would wonder if perhaps, in another life, I had a connection with the song of the azaan. I never found the mosque though, so I would watch birds flying in perfect patterns above our coconut tree - returning to their own little nests - perhaps some Yashodas going home to their hungry and waiting baby Krishnas.
This godhooli bela, I remember that innocence, and I remember remembering - sitting in my very windy balcony in Patna, watching the forest inside IGIMS, humming a slow tune, and affirming to myself that there will be a better life. As I write this, I get the picture of a page being turned of this diary - isn't that how life is too? Turning, page after page, filling, line after line, until the ink runs out.