de To A Small Town

I dreamt of my hometown
I walked in its narrow lane in my Bata flip-flops
With my mismatched dupatta trailing on one side
I stepped into that old kirana shop

Then I stood still

And everything flashed back to me
Savita Aunty peeping into everyone’s lives
And rickshaw parked under that Neem tree

There knock on the door was seldom

People called out your name
Sharma Aunty was ‘Billo ki Mummy’
And borrowing was never considered a shame

Diwali-Dussehra-Shaadi had a different flavor

We exchanged mithai, not gifts
Where Rohan spent more time in Chawla’s house
Till he was six

We celebrated little of things

Oh, we did show-off
News of new TV by Rana Aunty
Ended as a debate in Gupta family to buy a car

That strange-happy feeling of belongingness

That loud laughter of pesky neighborhood aunts
Small town version of Gossip Girls
Who plucked leaves from your Tulsi plant

If you ever lived in a small town

You may still have a part of it

Maybe lingering taste of its street food
Or memory of your first crush you dare admit

Walk into those narrow lanes

Brings back a world full of charm
Like you’ve spun a cozy blanket
Of warm woolen yarn

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