Why Evenings Have Changed

Sunset
It is early evening. I can hear the birds chirping excitedly, convening to discuss the night’s meal and if the chicks are going to be happy with what they are taking home. The lights have started coming on in the windows I can see from mine; there are candles in some. An old man is slowly walking on the pavement, carrying a bagful of pastries for his grandchildren. I can hear their faraway giggles from the neighbourhood’s park; they are glad the swings are no longer covered in snow. Perhaps they aren’t his grandchildren. Perhaps his grandchildren are away, in another country, and he only gets to talk to them on Christmas and birthdays. Maybe he is taking the pastries for his wife. Maybe for himself. But I digress.

It is early evening still and I am sitting by the window, staring out into the slowly darkening sky. While I stare – idly, here and there – I am reminded of another time like this, many evenings ago. I had just finished revising my History syllabus for the school term-exam.

“Was it the seventh round of revision, or the thirteenth?” Mom giggled as she watched me venture out into the balcony. I was always getting teased at school for being a nerd, but she didn’t spare me even at home. Standing in the balcony, I could see the cats snoozing. Still snoozing. The birds flocked on electricity wires. Old men walked across the street, carrying bags of dhaniya patta, green chillies and fish for dinner. Staple dinner for my Bengali neighbourhood in Delhi.

Snoozing Cats

What has changed really? Evenings still happen around the same time. The skies turn the same vibrant colours of yellow, orange and violet. The air still gets fragrant with evening snacks and the joy of loved ones returning home. But why does it feel so different? Why do past evenings seem tinged with emotions I cannot name, cannot fathom, cannot relive?

It is then that I realize what has changed. I have. Unknown even to me, time has brought about subtle changes in the things that make me happy, the things that get me going. They are still there, deep inside, but under layers of chores, stress, anxieties…So well hidden that even I sometimes cannot ferret them out.

Is it night yet? No. Time to look at this evening afresh and forget everything but the happiness of birdsong.

Of the breeze brushing against my cheek.

Of feeling mom beside me, joking about how I should come in and drink my milk before the winds blow me away.

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10 thoughts on “Why Evenings Have Changed

  1. I just read a quote from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which has a similar gist that goes on like “Home smells same, feels same, I must have changed!” Nice one! πŸ™‚

    • That’s such a lovely quote; thanks for sharing, Zee! πŸ™‚
      Indeed – it’s amazing how home manages to smell the same, even if everything has changed, from the curtains to the room-freshener…

  2. This post just took me back to those old carefree days when I used to happy for no reason. It happens with me also, and few days back while thinking about past I remembered a lesson about kuchchu and his glasses in 2nd standard English textbook. It brought back so many memories as my father and I discussed kuchchu a lot back then.
    Good ol’ days of 90′. Nicely expressed!

    • Welcome here, Anupriya! πŸ™‚ So glad the piece brought back good old memories for you. I can relate to your tale about kuchchu. My mom and I discussed a dog called Timmy all the time, concocting stories about his antics and what he likes to eat…it was more fun than just anything else! (I still have Timmy, by the way; he’s a gorgeous stuffed dog)
      Hope to see you around more often πŸ™‚

  3. Loved reliving the evening gone by in your words. Wait a minute, you used to revise the syllabus 7 or more times? And I always (without exception) struggled to revise even once. I could only touch upon the important points. I feel the same, that perhaps everything and everyone else is still the same, but me.

    • Delighted you enjoyed it, Parul. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚
      Yeah, been caught up with absolutely random things that don’t deserve the attention I give them πŸ˜› Hope to post more frequently now!

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