A Path through the Past

Where am I Issue 217 Dec, 2019

Left and right, people of all walks of life are walking, chatting, eating, and just plain enjoying life. That is a sight to behold. A warm afternoon on a Wednesday, the place is as lively as ever. An area with deep rooted history known as a place to go when you needed to chill and contemplate life in the 60s and 70s, this place still maintains that vibe today. The place feels as if you have just entered a different space altogether. Small shops and restaurants on either side of this narrow stretch of land call for people to come have a look at what they have to offer. As I walk down the stretch, I hear children playing “chungi”, and laughing and enjoying their ever so carefree life without a single shred of worry. The only stress you see on their faces is the stress of losing the game against their friends. Ahh, what would I do to have that same look back on my face again. Pure bliss.

Deeper down the way, searching, in need of a bag, I go inside one of the local shops selling traditional hemp products. The shop had a certain smell to it: skunky yet pleasing. The shopkeeper seemed a little eager and welcoming. Maybe it had to do something with the overall characteristic of the street. Nonetheless, I scour the shop for a bag. As my eyes fixed on one of the bags, a sharp yet soothing voice from behind chimed, “Dai! Tyo naya ho. Bhakhar lerako!!” (That’s a new product. I just got it!) I inspect it, and liking the overall aesthetic and functionality, I buy the bag. A little haggling and bargaining, me and the shopkeeper conclude, both happy with our transaction. Carrying my brand-new hemp bag, I walk out of the store.

I continue walking down the stretch, tattoo shops one after the other make you feel almost like getting one. But then your senses kick in and stop you from making an impulse decision like getting a tattoo from a shady place. As you walk, a feeling of relaxation creeps up on you and you feel the history and antiquity of the place. You start to think about how it was in the past, how relaxing it was, what happened on these very paths that you are currently strolling. A feeling that I think only places with a rich history and culture can give you. Such places are hard to find and we should be glad we get to walk such a path every day.

My walk ended in a parking lot filled with bikes and street vendors. Back to reality, and yet the experience and the aura stayed with me.