A Walk To Remember

It was a pleasant Sunday evening and after practicing a few RC passages (CAT beckons me), I felt the need to greet Lord Hanuman, residing just a few metres away from my house and it had been a long time since we met. I generally don’t visit temples wishing for things to happen because I believe, God understands my needs, recognizes my capabilities and bestows me with things I truly deserve. But when something really nice happens in life, I make it a point to thank Him in person for being with me and this visit was no different as He had blessed me with a lucrative offer from Tech Mahindra.

On leaving the temple, I embarked on a walk which today, I feel is the most cherished and best reminisced. Even before leaving home, I had decided to take a walk in my locality (one of the evergreen places in Chennai – Ashok Nagar) and so pocketed my mp3 player. Music freshen my thoughts, I imbibe in me the enthusiasm to enjoy brought back memories. If ever I could experience an indeterminate sense of joy erasing all worries troubling my mind and dispelling unwanted feelings stemming from my heart (at least for a while), this should be the first instance. As I start with the next paragraph, my finger nerves are ordered by the heart to key in the correct words to make sure no feeling is minced and my mind is instructed to make sure emotions are best expressed. This’s accomplished if I succeed in making you take a trip down your memory lane once you finish reading this write-up.

I left the temple, switched on my mp3 player, started off with Pehla Nasha (Jo Jeeta Woh Hi Sikander) and the walk began on a feel-good note. I walked a few metres and looked up to see a dark sky with no stars above me but as I looked down, I could visualize footsteps of a 7 year old boy carrying his violin on one hand and holding his cousin with the other hand. I halted for a while just hoping if I could listen to any conversation between them.You may wonder if that was hallucination ? Yes, I did hallucinate but I just hope I could re-live the past. That 7 yr old boy still lives in me and I love him more than anybody else because that child was me, 13 yrs back. Everytime I cross the temple, I breathe memories of the days I did no harm, got no anger, never bad-mouthed people and above all, was adorned by almost all in my family. As I think deeper, I’m reminded of the days when as a kid, I played cricket with my cousin and my neighbours on sunny afternoons outside the temple. But I’m best reminded of the evenings when I carried that stringed instrument cursing all Gods for having invented it. I was cajoled by my parents to attend violin classes but I detested complying with their cajolery at the expense of playing cricket.

As I proceeded a few more yards, to my right, I gazed at an old building with a board outside ‘St.Mary’s School’. That intent look touched my nostalgic nerve and I wondered if I could knock at the gate to meet the Big Miss ( The headmistress of this school is referred as ‘Big Miss’ and she resides just behind the school ). This was the first school I ever attended as a 3 yr old and I’m reminiscent of the days I attended school with no books but a snack box and a water-bottle shouldering me. I turned right and there, at the crossroads is the apartment where two of my friends live. When I think of them, I’m reminded of those sunny afternoons when we, as children, danced for the song 'Muqabula Muqabula' on the cycle rickshaw after one of those exams. As I leisurely walked a little further and looked up, I was unable to view the sky as I was sauntering on a road with trees on either side (those are rare sights in modern Chennai but that’s Ashok Nagar for you) and at that street beginning was the house where the then Principal of my school Mrs. Lakshmi Subramanian once lived. It brought back horrendous memories of days when my mom threatened to take me to her if I fail to eat green vegetables (even today, I hate green vegetables). As I passed by her house, I found my mom’s words only amusing and laughed at my innocence. The road that leads from her house, I would say, is one of the best stretches in Chennai and if I were given the task of naming roads, I would call it ‘The Joggers’ Paradise’. This stretch is semi-circular shaped and it's one of those few roads where one gets to breathe fresh oxygen 24X7 and seldom disturbed by jarring horns of vehicles - Tranquility at its best. I ambled a little further to find the office of my local Cable TV operator. One of the happiest moments in my childhood was when my dad gave the nod for a cable TV connection at home. If I’m right, it was the summer of 1998 when I went through those anxious moments - seconds took minutes to pass and minutes looked hours. I pedalled my way from home to that office atleast 10-15 times that day just to make sure the connection was done at the earliest.

As I finished walking the semi-circular stretch, I entered one of Chennai’s well-maintained broader roads, the 11th Avenue Road .This best exemplifies the term ‘arterial road’ and despite the continous buzz of vehicular traffic, pedestrians are given enough space to walk and one doesn’t find sand gushing onto the face. And there situated is the Madras Corporation Library. One look at it, I rewind myself ten years back when my friend and I were barred from entering just because we were wearing shorts despite the fact that we were just 10 yrs old. Direct opposite to that library is a narrow street housing many apartments and one of them is ‘Gokul Flats’ where my childhood friend once lived. Incidents there, best substantiate my childhood innocence and exuberance. That was the apartment outside which I played cricket in the evenings and the flat A-1 was where I played video games with a 4th standard social text book beside me. In the name of joint study, I used to go to my friend's place and play video games till my eyes got weary of the rays being emitted from that 12’ TV set. It was also that apartment terrace where we once studied computer science together only to fail miserably in a class test. It was such a nice feeling to think of those days and just one look at that apartment sufficed for those thoughts to flash across my mind. I was so much moved on retrospection. Yes !!! Those were fun-filled days.

As I came back home, I felt Happiness is best realised when one finds things once done, amusing. Also I felt something had dented my heart and got a feeling of having dropped something very precious on the way. I exclaimed to myself ‘How about continuing with the walk for another half-hour atleast ?’ - To regain the lost possession

What I missed, was the happiness I had acquired during the walk. Although past incidents are sure to remain etched in my memory, they’re best felt and acknowledged when I actually take a walk and revisit. It's indeed a special feeling when trees on Joggers' Paradise smile at me by a flutter of their branches every time I pass by. It was certainly A Walk To Remember.

Is my task accomplished ? Did I succeed in making you take a trip down your memory lane ?
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