This is a reflection on present and past realities and the hiatus between the two.
LITERALLY SPEAKING, it was a nightmare. During last couple of days I dreamt of my childhood days in Shillong. I dreamt of luscious plum trees and golden oranges, pineapples and peaches, pears that with a bite would almost melt in the mouth. I dreamt of virgin forests and hikes to Shillong Peak. I dreamt of monoliths and caves, the afternoon sun in Cherrapunjee overlooking tiny houses, with the sun’s glint on them in erstwhile East Pakistan.
I dreamt of Captain Hunt’s Cabin and the sensuous cherry brandy served there. I dreamt of winter’s frosty dawns and luminous, glazing sunlight in the day. I dreamt of autumn leaves sprinkled with dust on the monotonous way to school. I dreamt of Sports
Day and how I wanted to be in the racing team to impress Loreto girls. I dreamt of New China restaurant and how with the twinkling of an eye its name was changed to New India
– aftermath of Chinese incursion in 1962. I dreamt of all these while the camera of the mind took snapshots of a voyage undertaken four to five decades back. Yes I dreamt.
And then I replenished my dreams, cricket in the Seniors Field in School. The monsoons; and chased by a howling dog in the corridor. The School Tuck Shop and movies on Wednesdays. I dreamt of whispering pines and Christmas. I dreamt of the fire place in the house, burning the fire and then dousing the flames. I dreamt of the winds of March and winter’s stoic refusal to end.
But yesterday was a nightmare. I simply couldn’t believe it. I dreamt that our journey from Shillong to Guwahati took only 2 (two) hours with a 1 (one) hour traffic jam in between, in Shillong! Gone were the days of toll gates and by lanes. In only two hours we wended our ways and zoomed to Guwahati. It was even worse than “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!”
All this, my friend said in almost one scintillating breath. It was a monologue. And, I was a passive listener.