Low lying houses with large airy verandahs, behind low iron gates. A burst of bougainvillea against the whitewashed walls, spilling. The colour of crushed Indian rose. The colour of blood mixed in gold. In tufts, in bunches, in surprises. The yards lie swept, resting under the shade of Gulmohar trees. The trees are in full bloom. Against the overcast sky of the city, the warm red petals seem to house the sun in their tendril like veins. Now and then, a breeze rustles the calm and sends a few red petals flying into the wind, to fall lightly in the swept yards, beginning the day’s decay.
” Look!!!”, I said, pointing out of the car’s window.
He looks out and without turning back to face me, asks what I was pointing at.
” That. Looks good” I say, pointing at the rows and rows of trees and vines bursting with blossoms against the monsoon sky, as if to asset summer one last time.
” I used to live here” , he says and his face takes on an expression between the happiness of revisiting old homes and the pain of knowing it’s only a visit.
We reach our destination. We were meeting my friends for coffee and breakfast and we were the first to arrive. I look up to see the cozy place tucked into an old house. It looked inviting. I take a step in that direction when he stops me.
” Take a walk with me” , he says, pointing to the other direction.
” why? “, I ask.
” Look”, he says.
I see a wide Secunderabad street, lonely and lovely, running brown and quiet, it was perfect to walk on it’s banks. We walk, in the shade of bougainvillea, Gulmohar trees, and the dark clouds that promised an evening rain.
The ashes from his cigarette fall crumbling onto the piles of leaves raked in, to the sides of the street. One cigarette later, we climbed the stairs to the coffee place, picking the seat farthest from the morning crowd, beside a window that overlooked the street. We didn’t look out of the window. Time just ripened to a comfortable lull from there on, with a game of cards and three sandwiches thrown in the mix.