She had to leave the house because getting some fresh air was the only way she could feel productive. Taking a book to read at the park was a welcomed change of scenery. The constant shuffle of walkers passing her like clockwork protected her from the mosquitoes for a while. She sat cross-legged and allowed herself to get lost in the novel in front of her, shifting position every now and then when the granite from the park bench began digging into her heels. 

Once the mosquitoes got bigger and cheekier, she left the park but decided not to leave the outside. Walking through Jayanagar is something she adored. The steps she took on its streets were not in sync with the steps she took on the rest of the earth — time seemed to stand still yet move fast at the same time. The streets are wide and hugged by trees from all sides. She believed that Jayanagar was home to some of the prettiest houses in Bangalore, and that was something she would swear by. This led her to thank her eyes for giving the ability to look at and appreciate the houses. There is not a lot that the world allows people to do, so we should see and observe as much as we can until one day we can’t anymore.

She saw houses that outgrew the trees, and houses low enough to whisper to the ground. One of the older houses had clothes sprawled across the barren tree on its side, covering it like the mismatched, newly sewn patches of a previously torn bed quilt. The trees grew so close to some of the houses, leaning into the windows as though they were trying their hardest to hear the happenings of the inside. She imagined how easy it would be for teeangers to sneak out of their bedrooms, and what routes they could have taken if only they weren’t stopped at the very beginning by windows with grills.

She saw trees and flowers that she didn’t know the names off, making herself a promise to learn their names. Her favourite was a tree that had two contrasting types of leaves. There were ones that looked like an archetypal green leaf, and the others which were thin and long. They drooped instead of growing sideways, and resembled the caramelized onions that are sprinkled on top of many of her favourite rice items.

Whenever she saw people, she would not attempt to make up stories about them. She would attempt to imagine their thoughts, and wonder whether they saw the things in front of them the same way she did. She knew the answer would never be yes, because it amazed her at how many perspectives exist. How if everything abstract in this world could be measured, it would be enough to create a whole other world altogether. How every single human creates different kinds of memories for themselves. Rose coloured glasses aren’t the only ones that exist. Every human sees the world through coloured lenses that are unique to them.

She saw a mother and son walking, the son wearing an orange coloured cartoon themed bag on his back. It reminded her of how her mother would walk her to and from Sangeetha classes every Monday and Thursday for almost six years. They’d hurry to class but drag their feet on their way back, making sure to avoid the roads that were known hang out spots for street dogs. Her mother would hold her hand when they had to cross the road, sometimes even after reaching the other side. This would prompt her to comment on how “loosely” her mom was holding her hand, setting off an inside joke whose origin she has forgotten. Her mother would react by holding her hand tighter. She’d continue saying, “looser…hold it looser… this feels like nothing” with her mother squeezing her hand harder and harder with each remark, until eventually either of them (usually her mother) caved. It would end in a fit of giggles, with her mother swearing that she could’ve continued if she wanted to. They would also talk whilst simultaneously navigating through the rugged, narrow footpaths. She’d tell her mother everything about her day, a habit that she sadly shed not long after. They’d make a pit stop at the Nandini booth next to the ground where twenty or more groups of boys and men managed to play cricket without getting in each other’s way (most of the time). Their cheers and “outtu!”s would echo off her mother’s voice telling the vendor their usual order- a chocobar for her and an orange candy for mother. Sometimes they’d switch it up, other times her mother would buy her two — one for now and one to keep in the fridge at home to eat later. 

She walked a few more roads before she saw them again, this time going in the opposite direction. The street lights along her path were now on, even though the light from the sky remained brighter. She made her way back home, her mind cleared from the cloudy residue of an unproductive day. She went back home and felt inspired to do something she hadn’t done in months — she began to write.

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Nayana Subramanya

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