This morning I woke up at six-thirty and decided to go out for a stroll. The biggest adventure of my life this fortnight. As I stepped out of the house, I realized that even at this early hour, there was to be no respite from the heat in this city. Escorted by my mom who wanted to hold my hand in case I fainted (love you mom), I stepped out on to the road, and realized how memory wipes out tiny details no matter how hard you try to remember things you left behind at home.
There was a swarm of orange insects on the road. Hundreds, thousands of freaky orange bugs that had never been seen until about five years ago. Each summer, they appear in larger numbers now. Furiously walking about the road, and flying in slow motion about waist-high. Walkers and joggers have already crushed a considerable number of them, and the road is splotched with orange pulp. Those that are alive are scuttling about in a great hurry.
These insects disturb me a lot. They look like the products of evolution gone awry in a world polluted beyond redemption. They remind me of everything that’s wrong with the world, and of everything that I’ve done to add to the wrong.
Further into the walk, I saw the weaver birds. They’ve built their nests in a palm tree planted by a farmhouse owner at the entrance of his home. The tree is as comfortable as palms can be in Delhi, and the nests hang precariously from dried and yellowing palm fronds. The birds used to build their nests in another, more suitable tree in a vacant plot nearby, but that tree is gone. One dust-storm over the next couple of weeks will bring the nests to the ground. Love’s labour lost.
One driving school car crawled past. A nervous young man was putting his whole weight on the accelerator. He left the sickening stench of half-burnt fuel in his wake. I felt like picking up a stone and smashing the car’s glass.
Mom said I looked tired after the walk. I did not argue.From tomorrow, I will do what I need to retain my sanity. I will walk at night.