Pune is going through an especially scorching and unusually early summer. The mercury has been soaring; the cold-drink vendors have been doing roaring trade. The sun is beating down on the city like never before and if not for the calendar, you wouldn’t believe April only started. It is this city of her many wonders that I left behind yesterday. Yes, all over again.
It seems only the other day when I loaded my umpteen bags on a trip back to Delhi. P&P transformed into Saddi Delhi and jumped headfirst into the capital’s madness. Delhi’s lip-smacking food notwithstanding, when life somersaulted back to Pune, I could be heard shouting from the rooftops. I happily shuffled between two worlds, dissolving into Pune’s tease of a winter and Delhi’s frostbite-inducing chill all at once.
Yesterday, as I drove past the streets all too familiar, I realized how it may be several months till I see them again. It will be a long while till I order tangdi kabab at Good Luck Cafe or gobble the panipuri outside Crossword in SB Road. I won’t get to walk past my first apartment or marvel at how the furry white dog who lives nearby continues to be as sleepy as ever. The fragrance of freshly cooked pau bhaji will be replaced with that of Delhi’s evening smog. When I get home, I will not be able to gaze into the hills in the distance or ring up Mom to tell her how my day was. It seems overwhelming to leave behind all that has mattered to me so much these past years and if I could bottle everything up to preserve in formaldehyde, I would.
P&P is getting ready to be Saddi Delhi again – he has been spending time choosing his dress robes. To him, as also to me, Pune is home too. Yesterday, when I bid Pune goodbye, I looked out from the window and whispered to the winds. Perhaps, time will eventually mount a Quidditch broomstick and fly straight to the next time I am back. Even though I will then be a tourist, I am sure Pune will be as welcoming as ever. Her skies will be a bright blue, all my favourite memories competing to be relived first.
Saddi Delhi will be ready in her full splendour very soon. She has plans – spicy and mysterious – and she has promised to unroll them shortly.
I hope to see you in Delhi!