The warm grey twilight of the Deccan, a sky painted with bold strokes of vibrant purples and reds, the mad games and the glorious mud, the ajjis and ajobas walking with a slow and easy gait, kindly smiles and twinkling eyes all bestowed by long years fruitfully spent, walking and watching us as we played the exuberant and carefree games of our vigorous and happy childhood, watching us but seeing themselves, in a time long gone, in a world no longer theirs, as they played games with names now strange, with companions long forgotten, but seeing the same flushed faces, the same excited voices, I wonder if they did not feel just a bit sorry for man, and us kids, destined to move on and forget, the exausting and cozy evenings of boyhood, the casual familiarity and implicit trust of treading on land well known, the food we knew awaited us when we went home and washed off ourselves the day's grime, the delight of fathers returning, the comfort of mothers scolding, of siblings fighting.
What life, what man be so forsaken that there are none who are awaited, none who have the time to scold, none who will dispute and argue secure in the knowledge that destinies so intertwined cannot be burst asunder by trifles !
Blood is thicker than water they say and the love of the land more dear than money. I will miss them ! The roads I have always detested,the neighbours whose existence I rarely had the energy to acknowledge, friends whose names I no longer recall, the strange, rich, multi textured smell that suddenly springs out of books long unopened awakening memories long buried, they wave me onward on my journey, they let me go secure in the knowledge that they shall never be lost to me, that I should continue working the spectacularly beautiful, impossibly intricate, consummately eternal tapestry of which my life is a small part. It is hoped that my little contribution shall be of good workmanship, that it should - at the least - be suitably profound and appropriately bright.
I shall do my best then, but from time to time I'll miss them all, and one day, if only to be able to see what I have really done, I will come back.