Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. ― MARCEL PROUST
Where have the hens and chicks of Rue Melotte gone? With the forsaken bushes caressing the black doors of my car its beak pecks progressively through the noisy grains of nostalgia. With the river flowing silently along redolences of bananas, the scissors of my mind cuts through the smell of ginger. This is where my nimble feet once played lukka chuppi with
the village boys and girls. Many of the streets have become narrow and dusty now. Fences have been planted and people close their doors and windows at night. The dogs have changed colours and are hostile. But this remains the place of my childhood. This is where I’ve bathed with rose-scented soap before eating granny’s hot roti with brede and potato chutney.
The houses have matured into garish concrete boxes. That’s where I’ve learnt the contours of Bhojpuri from the lips of hospitable old people with rusty scythes. That’s where I’ve frisked in cow dung with my brother and practised long jump in the red soil that still smells so good. Granny would always shout to get inside but how could she know the joy of playing in the sun. I’m lucky the people haven’t forgotten me. I’m lucky I still belong to the sugar cane fields and football ground. Pieter Both, the mountain with a human head, still has lovely a kahaani to whisper in my ears. While the mountains leaning on its shoulders have the same old inferiorities, at night the moon still flirts so close to it. This is the place where my mamou and
mawsi would fight for me to sleep with them at night. But now a lot has fallen off like keywords dropped from a short sentence.
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