And the charm  faded away…… 

Days ago I had gone  over to see my ailing neighbour. It was more than thirty years that I visited this place. While making through the lanes reminiscences of the past were unfolding;honest to God, serene and spellbinding moments of life. Now that charm had faded away but I  would preferably bear in mind the days when it existed.

Leafing through the memories I pictured Shipra and Saloni, my playmates. The summer’s of late 70’s spent in their company is etched on my soul. No dashed hopes and life manifested itself with purity. We built castles in air but the images designed and characterized by us were the kinds that even  accomplished writers would find it hard to concieve.

Three little girls with minimal needs and everything possible. Our toys were modest but eyes interpreted thoughts easily. Those hand made dolls had our souls unlike the pricey scrawny ones of today with recorded messages concealed in their hearts. Something that vexes me and fazes me out. Because dolls cannot be progammed to say what a child has in mind!.We cooked down by our playhouse, a small corner under the stairway.

Leaves became bread and pebbles became potatoes.  Breads were pan baked and potatoes were cooked in saucepans over the stove from our humble kitchen set. Sometimes we draped ourselves with towels and shawls, that made our sari’s and we taught in school that had mediocre pupils. They required spanking too.

We built miniature cities out of mud and water mortar, provided roads with signboards of cardboard hexagons. It was just nickel and dime to ignite the fire of our dreams then but  today  it takes  much more to keep existence zestful. Spinning tragic stories was on the list too, to add that spooky effect to our lives.Barefoot we would kick down the dust in the backyard, chase one another and talk through eachothers hat;yet our feet kept time with the pulse of the earth. We were growing beautifully. Things started changing deftly and then like a flash. We parted.

Here I was standing by the stairway, staring blankly at the deserted corner beneath it. We left the beaten path and moved into a new world that seemed entrancing but was too pressing and real. The hee haws gave over to clumsy sniggers, play swapped for working to make a living, trivial talks made way to serious conversations. The spell had vanished.The charm had faded away..

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