Everything is so quiet. Quiet, not silent.
There is plenty of noise. The clock quietly ticking, the wind blowing, the leaves of the coconut tree rustling, the tree scraping against the railings, the sound of an occasional motorist passing, the sound of footsteps of a tired person returning home, the dogs barking far away having their own party, the murmurs of conversation of people walking down the street eager to get home. The sound of my own pen scratching against paper.
But none of these are noises. They all blend into each other, forming an atmosphere of coziness and warmth.
I am alone up here. I’m not lonely. Sounds of laughter and arguments drift upstairs, where I sit with my pen and paper. The sound of the fan running… there are people here. There are books around me. Books filled with the brave, the weak, the scared, the strong, the moral, the immoral, the good and the bad, the ones who plan their lives and the ones who live enjoy and savor every moment of it… people who influence my thought and so my life.
I get a feeling of peace as I lie on my bed, holding a book, listening to the wind outside. I am wrapped in a huge shawl, leaning against the wall. A sharp crack, a twing broken.
All the sounds blend into a picture. A smell wafts up, the smell of burning oil and a minute later, samosas. It is a mild interruption into the contended world but in a mom that too is absorbed into the picture.
As I return carrying a plate of samosas, I smell myself as I enter the room. A flowery scent – reminding me of myself in the days when I cared for none but the joy. I wonder how the scent came into the room? Was it because I had left it locked or I broke a bottle of perfume without my knowledge? The scent lingers, just brushing me lightly. I sniff the air, trying to locate the source but it suddenly vanishes, like it came.
It evoked memories – memories of a girl speeding on her bike, memories of a gang of girls out all by themselves, a girl buying a t shirt for the first time all by herself, memories of a girl returning home late, high on her independence, memories of a girl who was high with her first taste of freedom, independence and womanhood.
Much has changed since then. I glance around. The girl still peeks out from here and there… like the old poster of an actor on the wall, the motto scrawled in a marker on a cupboard, the ripped jeans that was worn with such panache, the dried red rose – the first one she every got, the black gown, the clippings of stars and ads and articles, the photograph of 3 gangly girls grinning – tucked away in a shelf, the coins – all lucky ones. But there is a mark of the girl now – the way the motto is artfully decorated, the way the clippings are filed, the coins are arranged – signs of growth. But what is the huge box under the bed? Memorabilia – photos, magazines, souveniors. Oh! Who cares about a clean room?! Let’s go through some stuff… and finally I find the badge, the one my friend had given me, this piece of bandanna… it would make a nice wrist band…
And in this woman lives on the girl, still savoring her freedom, independence and womanhood.