Thursday, June 7, 2007

I Dined in the Park...

I dined in the park last night. I was on my way home, and it was such a beautiful night. Cool, windy, fragrant even. It reminded me of summer evenings in Hyderabad, when I spent every single evening on the terrace. I wouldn’t come down even when Mummy had gone hoarse calling out to me to come down to dinner. I would walk up and down, sing, look at the trees, watch little scraggly kids play cricket in the streets, and imagine that I was far far away, usually sailing on the high seas. Yesterday reminded me of that so much that I absolutely had to be out of doors at least until the sunlight faded away into the night.

So I got an order of delightful spring rolls, and meandered into the park. At first I couldn’t see any benches, and vaguely considered stretching myself out on the grass. But then one lone bench caught my eye. It was already starting to be dark, and the park was nearly empty. So was the bench, and I made my way to it. I had a heavenly fifteen minutes, eating my little dinner, and feeling the wind on my face and arms. I wanted so much to talk to Nisha, and called her, but she didn’t answer. She would have enjoyed being there with me. In fact, last week, when Nisha was here, she and I lunched in the park. Not this little one, but one next to Elwood. And we talked, and laughed and watched the cars zoom past in the distance.

When we were children, we’d plan elaborate picnics on the terrace. No one was invited, but the two of us, and if Daddy or Mummy dared to show up, they would promptly be shooed away. They were only welcome if they were delivering us something delightful to eat or drink. So we would save our goodies for a whole week, and shiver with excitement every time we thought of the picnic. And Mummy would make us something nice, usually lemon rice with oodles of groundnuts in it, since we both loved that. So some Saturday evenings, or if it was a second Saturday, in the afternoons, Nisha and I would pile our green and pink picnic basket full of goodies, ask Daddy to bring us iced drinks and march off to the terrace. We’d lay our sheet out in the shade of the water tank, and lay out our delightful fare. I think in retrospect that feasting our eyes upon the goodies was more fun than actually feasting upon them. We’d take great pride in assuring ourselves that this was the best picnic that ever was, and Daddy when he brought us something to drink would echo that sentiment. After the last scrap of food was devoured, Nisha and I would lie on the sheet and look at the sky. The sky used to be more open then, and none of the houses around ours had grown so tall yet. Now I think ours is the only house that has stayed the same size for the last fifteen years. And as we lay there gazing at the sky, I would tell her about the phases of the moon, and the stars, the constellations and supernovas. Nisha was fascinated by supernovas, and I remember her being very disappointed that we would never have one in our solar system. And I would always tell her a story. It would be with great sadness and only when Mummy forcefully commanded us to come down that we descended from the terrace.

Nothing compared to those picnics of Nisha’s and mine. Last week when we lunched in the park, it reminded us of them, and the picnics that we used to have at the zoo. And last night, I wished she had been there. She wasn’t, but I think she enjoyed it just as much when I told her about it later. I stayed until it was quite dark. And I remember, I was very very happy.


Nisha said...

Ashu... that was a wonderful description of what we did.... I am sure, this would make others jealous.... ;)

Asha Stephen said...

Thanks sweetie. It was fun because it was with you!