Memory is a strange thing. It follows no pattern and works totally, at random like the traffic in Delhi NCR. In the middle of ultra-serious discussions in office, I get reminded of a joke from last night’s episode of Modern Family. There are days when I particularly feel invincible, but that feeling remains short-lived because my mind invariably throws an embarrassing incident at me that happened some 15 years ago. And on some days when people decide to be nice & shower compliments on me, my thoughts run in a loop about every single thing that’s wrong with my life.
That said, not all memories are alike. Some even remind you of the good times that you had: playing hide and seek with friends, eating breakfast with family on Sundays, getting ready for the first date and receiving your first pay check. Happy memories fill you with such energy that a ‘Red bull’ drink can only wish for!
One such memory from 2015 archives is of an evening that I spent in a coastal city at the tip of peninsular India. It was a beautiful evening. The Sun was glistening softly like it was in no mood to call it a day. I was sitting on a granite bench, facing the beautiful Sangam – amalgamation of the Indian ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Begal. To my left were the hues of blue while the shades of Orange were bursting out of the horizon on the right. The central space, just above the ‘Sangam’ was the most luminous with bands of golden emanating from the Orange on the right and merging with the blue of the left.
There was a strange clamor in the surroundings that sounded like music to my ears. A bunch of kids with faded shirts were playing. It was a peculiar game- they would begin by running in all directions. No one was trying to catch hold of others. After a minute of zig zag running, they all would come back to a spot from where they started running originally. They will catch their breath for a second, shout a word at the top of their voices that rhymed with ‘hurray’ & would start running again.
Some 5 ft. away from this random running, there was a lady, in her late 40s, selling fresh cucumber and ripe pineapple. People passing by would pick the cucumber & hand it to her. She would peel it gently, dice the cucumber vertically, mix it with the already cubed pieces of pineapple and place it all on a piece of rectangular sized, old newspaper. Before giving it to the drooling customers for INR 10, she would add a pinch of black salt on the cucumber-pineapple salad; it must be her secret ingredient. All this time, she was also humming a local tune.
The dark had started to set in but the Sun was in no mood to leave that day. The waves were getting higher & higher as if they were trying to reach the glowing Sun. A bunch of clouds were strolling at a distance as if they were busy in a conversation of their own and no one else was privy to it – neither the Sun nor the Ocean.
I was looking at this gleeful show when something interrupted me. It was a 14 year (roughly) old boy selling conches and other seashell items. I didn’t want to miss a minute of this unparalleled Sunset and thus promised to come back to him after the Sunset. He seemed unconvinced and sat on the bench next to mine, waiting for the Sun to set and me to buy something from his jingling array of sea-shell items.
It was almost dark now and the clouds had surreptitiously covered the Sun. It now appeared that they were earlier plotting amongst themselves to shroud the Sun. In another 10 minutes or so, the clouds would cloak the Sun and call upon their other friend to take the stage.
The kids who were playing a while ago were sitting with their parents now. I looked around to find the Hawker but he was gone already. The space was swarming with people now. Everyone was busy clicking pictures. Before the jostling could begin, I picked my bag and decided to walk to the nearest local market.I had heard that they sell beautiful pearls in Kanyakumari. It took me 10 minutes to reach the narrow but well-lit lanes teeming with stalls selling all sorts of colorful, bright things. Those 10 minutes were very special for I didn’t think of anything but the most gorgeous Sunset that I just witnessed.
I had also created a memory that would be treasured for a lifetime.
Kanyakumari, is a coastal town, located at the southernmost tip of our peninsular India. The place attracts tourism all-round the year & is extremely popular for its absolutely gorgeous Sunrise and Sunset views.