Museum of Memories

It was an afternoon service – the slow news bulletin,
almost a liturgy
It would give our simple dal-roti a kind of synergy.
The leather encased radio would buzz with importance,
The…news…read…by….Surajit Sen.
The portentous pauses were intended,
maybe a reflection of times more rested.
Small towns
Smaller aspirations
Salubrious air
Somewhere silently goading you to dream and dare.
Yes, blissfully unhurried times,
with never the hassle of sticking to industrialised clockwork of time.
Leisurely, languid life,
long conversations over a sugary cup of tea
and mellow afternoons extending into starry, melancholic nights.

Times have changed
as times are wont to
That indolent town is now a fantasyland,
Fascinating and intimidating at the same time.
The frangipani shrubs have vanished,
New buildings have sprung up
Shops, restaurants, malls
And the fripperies that come with it all.
The atmosphere is rife with entrepreneurial buzz,
the young and the old compete to consolidate their power and wealth.
The good old radio is hollowed out,
As also the public library.
TV channels clamour for our constant attention
Bonding over conversations is passé,
Technology is the new uniter-in-chief.

New times
And a brand new me…..
My rough edges all smoothed out
by the monstrous city.
I am every bit a denizen of this concrete jungle now
Like Prufrock, I engage myself aimlessly with strangers in evening soirées.
Meanwhile, all that remains with me now
Is a museum of memories
Scattered, fragmented, random
Each telling a story
And each story, a sub story
Stories of things as they were
Or perhaps as I would have liked them to be.

Sangeeta Kampani, 62, worked with the IRS and retired as a Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty