“You can take a guy out of a neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the guy”
As I walked home by the lovely lane of our colony I recalled with fondness my childhood days spent in that very lane when it used to be packed with little children in evenings and during holidays- at the time when the houses were homes and the neighbors were brothers and sisters. As I look back, I remember how our joy knew no bounds whenever we spotted Amma walking down the lane after office , who would lovingly stop us in the middle of our games with yummy snacks she bought for all of us from a bakery near her office. I also remember how the very sight of Appa driving down that lane filled us with enough fear to make us(me and my sister) drop everything and rush inside! Terrorizing then, beautiful memories now! 🙂
This lane has seen all of us grow up, has been the play ground for so many children and even for many adults 🙂 Has seen innumerable fights and patch ups; countless tears and even more laughters; teary farewells; and sometimes even deaths! It helped everyone of us learn cycling which enabled us progress to motorbikes and cars later on with ease. It has also hosted many a party and many more parades.
The lane that holds neem trees on its either side, carries numerous vehicles that are denied parking spots inside their homes, beds the ever faithful stray dogs and cats who spend their nights in there and houses the fallen mangoes from a sole mango tree in the neighborhood.
The lane which has been through a lot in its years of existence – the flash floods, the demolition just before the new roads are laid and the heavy traffic that got heavier and heavier with years- not to forget the little feet which ran around endlessly jumping and stomping on it mercilessly.
The lane which was always taken for granted except for the times of its demolition when it was frowned upon for puncturing our vehicles’ tires. It bore the painful destruction only to give way to a more beautiful pathway to our homes, for which it receives no credit and is continued to be stomped on thanklessly.
It has seen the tiny tots grow up into successful doctors, engineers and businessmen many of whom have also blossomed into beautiful mothers and fathers – only to leave their homes and this beautiful lane for greener pastures elsewhere.
The lane which witnessed it all and yet selflessly continued to serve beyond measure.
As I take a trip down memory lane cherishing the memories of yesteryears that happened in that very lane I am standing in right now, I suddenly noticed that it was empty despite the dusk hour.
Since when is this lane empty in evenings, I wondered shell shocked!
Are there no little children in our neighborhood anymore?
What about the aunties catching up on the daily happenings standing in one corner of the lane?
Where have they all gone?
And finally it struck me like a hard blow! The reality crashed around me when I came to accept the bitter truth! The same lane which was heart and soul to the past residents, no longer assumes significance in the current residents’ minds. Seemingly, its time as a mark of a lovely neighborhood has come to a depressing end!
The lane that hosted innumerable games – cricket, catch and catch, hide n seek, shuttle – during my childhood does not see any game today. But for some rare child learning to ride a fancy cycle under the supervision of an adult, its idle most of the times! Thanks to the ubiquitous tablets and the computers which have stolen the precious days from the children of today, the lane is now sadly reduced to the lay state as just a “Parking Lot” for the 2+ cars outside every house.
As I stood there with tears in my eyes, I realized I have never felt more helpless ever before! Having become a guest to my parents house myself, I could do absolutely nothing about it! I walked back home with a heavy heart wiping my tears thankful that at least I have had a Childhood before Technology took over!
Thank you dear Ram Gardens and everyone in there who made my childhood really special!