There was a lifelong search to belong to a particular group. When I was in high school I always wanted to belong somewhere. I was obstinate to my own views and was narcissist in so many ways. I wanted to live alone and then again wanted to have everyone around me. The thirst for belonging never was enough. You are one of the famous places down south of India. I have been around so many places and you have seen people from so many places. This makes us siblings. Doesn’t it?
One of the best things about you is the magnificent lake you have hidden inside you. We were two girls and three boys. I knew a boy named Rahul who happened to be one of my very good friends. The other three people were new to me. We started our journey from Coimbatore where we changed two trains and reached to our first stop. From there we took a jeep to your territory. In the pretext of feeling too cold, the first thing that we bought there was booze. I was enchanted by your beauty at the first glance itself. The roads were arched with tall trees. Harlequin, Pistachio, Asparagus – all the shades of greens colored the landscape.
We took ice-creams and headed towards the grand lake. We saw bicycles parked out and a hoarding-On Rent. We ran and took one for each of us. I took a bright pink ‘ladybird’ bicycle. We paddled our way around the lake. We just started talking. We needed no introductions. We discussed about the famous bicycles in the early 90s. There was nothing formidable about our behavior. We breezed through the air and talked about how owning a bicycle and Sony Walkman was a sign of affluence. Incidentally I always wanted a ladybird but my father did not have the money to buy separate bicycles for me and my brother. Hence, he got a uni-sex bicycle. We also shared our Walkman. We each claimed that it was ours to our friends with pride but were very considerate with each other. We couldn’t afford to fight over it and let our dad take it away from us. I even danced in a competition on the ‘dance of envy’ soundtrack from the movie Dil toh pagal hain.The Walkman tucked on my pants was a part of my cool costume. At that time we behaved like brats and never did it occur that not owning Walkman is not the greatest grief in life.
Pretty soon I felt I belonged somewhere. The next few days were popcorn, booze, dancing, chilli chicken and lot of card games. Five of us were looking out for each other. Childhood had come back to us and everything around us seemed exciting. I even crashed on a wall while riding the bicycle around the city and scraped my right knees. We chased dogs and ate on leaf plates. We slept on green lawns under warm sunshine. a
After we left you, I am not in touch with most of them. In some ways it is good because some memories should be intact, made into a fossil inside each of us. Sometimes we need regain our childhood instead of holding onto them. These are the only things which keep us latched on to our smiles and laughs. It keeps our conversation with strangers interesting who later turn into our better halves and lets us reach our office in time hoping that a trip like that would come to us, very soon.