Postcards from the Past

Postcards from the Past

People were walking out of the beautiful glass building as if weaving a web of colourful threads on the ground below. I was watching the melee from my office window, enjoying the view from the height, sipping my coffee. In this city where the hustle and bustle never stopped, there was something gratifying about looking at those people sauntering down the streets after a hectic day spent.

A lady waved to a guy. He came and kissed her. I wondered if they were off to a movie or were going to chill out in a smoky bar or perhaps, they were married and the guy had come to take her home. I kept playing this guessing game until the last sip and then turned back towards my desk.

Jamie, my girlfriend was visiting her parents for Christmas. She had urged me to come with her. I had avoided on the pretext of work. And now loneliness gripped me amidst the festive fervour. It had been ten years I had been living in the States. Between four years of degree and six years of work, I had visited my parents only thrice but not once during the last three years. Not knowing whether it was the pressure of expectations or the curse of my own ambition, that had made me drift apart from the place I had once called home. 

“You look like a clown,” Jamie had giggled when she had first seen the picture secured under a magnet on my refrigerator door. I told her about Holi, about the girl whose face I had dared to colour. That at first, she had scowled from under her cheap plastic frames, the kind one could get for two dollars, and then sheepishly thrown a fistful of colour back at me. Our affair had lasted just about as long as the sunset we used to watch sitting near the lake.

My mind plunged back into the days of my childhood. The grit that helped me achieve success was earned on those unpaved streets where I once walked miles to the school or while studying till late night to avoid father’s wrath. Despite all I got, I was still glad to be away from the stifling parochialism of my small town. But I was equally amazed at how the intimate details of the past were still preserved in my mind like postcards from a vacation that I could glance anytime to relive those precious moments.

I looked at the ring in my drawer. I already missed Jamie. I realized I wanted to show her what Holi is like, in person. Before I popped the question to her, she deserved to see the part of me that was enshrined in my hometown. Although I had made myself fit for life with her in this country, my heart and soul belonged to the place where my dreams had taken birth.

I picked up my briefcase and walked towards the elevator. It was time I went home.

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Sheena Jain
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