Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nights 20 Kms Apart

It's night time and I just peeked out of our window. It's calm and quiet outside. Not everyday do I find it like this here.

Nights at Shaniwar Peth are so different than the nights at Nigdi, in all aspects.

At Shaniwar Peth, I always experience some things that are totally absent here. Being in the rear wing of a building really does a make a huge difference. It's calmer, more sooothing there. Only occassionally will you hear a car zoom past on the road with a loud, blaring horn. Sometimes you'll hear an ambulance or police van siren and you wonder who's ill or who's being chased. If you are lucky, on a silent winter night, you'll hear the chugging of a train and enjoy the rhythmic passage of the carrier-on-wheels.

There's a cowshed just below my house and you can't miss the bells tinkling in the necks of the cows. Whenever I hear that, I imagine those cows chewing their cud, nodding away silently. It's funny how I then remember the chapter from my second or third standard science book about how and why cows chew cud, and the four parts of their stomach (can't remember now what those are, though.) Science as a subject has given me quite a few nightmares. But it also provides some lighter moments.

As I write, I can visualise the Shaniwar Peth square with all its happenings. There must be a few young men from the Mutheshwar Mandal chatting round the corner. Night walkers, people who like their night walk before they go off to bed, would be taking their night strolls. A lone dog-walker would be making his dog move over, while the dog adamantly keeps on sniffing at a car and refuses to budge.

In Nigdi, I have rearely come across dog-walkers. But night walkers, there are a-plenty. You will also find a bunch of youngsters gathered for their nightly gupshup.

The one difference here is that my home is directly on the road, which is a huge disadvantage, at least at night. All sorts of vehicles go past making a big noise, magnified by the silence of the night. Trucks, lorries, cars, bikers with their hideous horns, all go past. It's not that there's a continuous flow. But that one truck is more than enough to wake you up from your slumber.

Nothwithstanding this minor disturbance, I can enjoy the coolness of the night when I go up to the terrace. And if it's a full-moon, the beauty of the night is incomparable.

If you go up on the terrace and look around, you'll see all bungalows around you, interspersed with trees, swaying gently in the night breeze. Some of the households would still have a light or two on and you wonder what's happenening there so late at night. Suddenly a light is switched off somewhere reminding you of the lateness of the hour.

The Modern High School behind my house looms large at night. Standing dark and quiet in the night, it's hard to imagine that in another ten hours, it will be overflowing with chattering children livening up the building.

As is always the case, it's taken time for me to adjust to my new environment. But it is my new home now.

And when I miss being in Shaniwar Peth, I recall that there is at least one similarity between the two places: invisible dogs barking their heads off as if the world's about to end. And I feel at home again!

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