The Lane

I remember the corner house down this lane. The front of the building was covered with multi hued hoardings. Some painted, some with back lights and a few others were flexes with fancy foreigners smiling meaninglessly at our gullibility. There were no residents in the building. The oldest neighbours claim, it is controlled by a team of lawyers as the owners lie abroad. Affluent people who feel no need to visit their property! That’s what most think. In the evenings, when a few street lights attempt to dispel the darkness, bright lights draw attention to the uninhabited three-storeyed property.
I was not a resident of the area. In fact , my friend Rita lived with her ageing parents in the vicinity. She was a social worker who believed that you can only serve society when you are not shackled by commitments. Perhaps!
I found Rita an unusual composition. Not fusion! Neither classical! Her personality resembled instant coffee. Brew it and drink it kinds! I know it is an unusual comparison but I can hardly think of her as a woman who had individual traits. She was neither a follower nor a leader. I often wondered about her uniqueness. Her parents were typical bengali educated middle class. They loved to live within their means and excelled in ordinariness. Their daughter’s decision not to marry was not unusual to them. Many women didn’t get married, they would reason. But social work was a bit beyond their comfort zone. They were afraid of the hidden dangers that lurked in every corner of the society. They were also afraid of unchartered territories like the building at the end of the lane.
The lane had another unique individual whom I had befriended over course of time. That was a four leggged , pawsome rhodetian – more commonly known as the Indian stray. I called the fine young fellow – Shadow. Initially, he would simply follow me down the lane. Gradually he overcame his fears as I began offering him biscuits and chicken nuggets, cooked according to his requirement. Our friendship was interesting.He would always wag his tail, lie down on the street as if to greet and then prance around me. We would run after each other for a while, then I would offer his treats and pat him.
Today, I have come back after many months. Both my friends are no more. Rita died in an air crash a year ago and the pawed friend because of his old age. It is only the building that welcomes me back into the past reminding me that I too belong here.
                     Chandrani Mukherjee


Featured photo via


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