Finally got down to sorting some of my old files and ended up looking at the piece below. I remember that September night which began nightly walks after dinner. They had an invisible feel about them, as though I melted into the darkness. Of course, it was not difficult to experience it as such since my clothing was inevitably dark to be as unobtrusive as possible. One phrase that kept popping up in my head through that long amble on familiar streets was the rot of prosperity. Partly due to the smells on the walk which registered dominantly as also the neon glare of shops and eateries bustling with people, spending. I haven’t been out in the night these last few weeks but if day time is any indicator, the streets will be desolate.
And letters back then were sent the old fashioned way 🙂
It’s been many months since I walked and a while since I ventured out in the night. The dark of the night is so different from the dark of early dawn. Night time darkness is weary with noise and fumes of a mindless humanity. My tree friends also remain shut for the night. They curl their leaves and sleep while I make do with jazz in my ears.
My life is silent these days and words seem familiar in their written form rather than let loose on the wind. So, I write letters. Letters to stranger friends, the ones whose words and faraway presence somehow comforted me. I write letters to my daughters which may perhaps go out from all the mothers in the world to their daughters. Today, I wrote a letter to my daughter and one of the stranger friends, a woman I haven’t met yet. They couldn’t wait until morning so I went walking to the postbox I usually frequent. The clearing time mentioned on it is 1325 hours and my letters will sit at the bottom, perhaps with other letters.
Maybe I should write a letter addressed to the postman who clears that particular box. What would I write and tell him? I don’t know. I recall a story about a postman who discovered unsent letters when he retired and was distraught at the fact. I can’t seem to remember anything beyond that point, perhaps I didn’t finish the story. It’s quite possible. I’ve lived long enough not to suffer through books that don’t speak to me. If they have words meant for my eyes, they will find me somehow.
The letters dropped, the weather pleasant and the prospect of endless hours to myself led me to amble on roads I knew so well at one time. The streets were packed with headlamps and frantic drivers all rushing to their destinations. The food carts and stalls were doing brisk business and I watched people eating without really eating. I found myself behind young couples with cheap perfume and the unmistakable musk of lust. Somewhere, there was a dead animal behind the bushes and the fetid smell of rotting garbage. There was also the fragrance of a carpet of the cork tree’s flowers. Mild, just a hint masked by the haze of pollution.
I passed parked cars with their owners playing games, a paani puri wala chatting on the phone even as he whipped up the puris in quick succession, bikers speaking with 2 people behind them. There was barely anyone without the ubiquitous cell phone, me included although mine was in my pocket and on Spotify. Even this is distraction, music.
It’s a confusing worldview, this rot of prosperity.