I returned to my hometown after 12 years ,I mean not to visit but to stay . I was trying to piece together all the memories scattered around the place. I was looking for my school and collegemates on the roads, malls, bazaars and every crowded place.I even tried to trace them down by looking their names into telephone directory , all in vain.
I guess nobody stayed in India anymore.But, the city looked exactly like I had left it years ago.Only new malls and new garbage dumps were being erected in these years,both serving the same purpose ,changing the landscape of the city.
I complained to one and all , at the risk of sounding snooty , that this city has stopped growing, has not changed a bit in a while.
Then one day I went to a garden with my two kids and one of my friend's kid. kind of feeling responsible for towing 3 kids ,like a mother of three kids.And, there I saw a young girl ,a hosteler she told me later , crowded by about 10 men of all shapes , sizes and intimidating looks petrifying the girl. they all looked as if they were guys with no jobs and no purpose in life. They all were condemning her for sitting with her boyfriend in the park bench in an objectionable manner.whatever that means ........
I asked the girl what the matter was and urged the men to leave .She told me her boy friend was already taken by some men to the police station for sitting here with her , may be leaning on each other or whatever.......
The Stupid girl did not even have money with her to go back and was waiting for the benevolent custodians of culture to bring her man back safely.
I suddenly felt like a mother of 4 and did not want to leave her behind. The men were still hanging around . I saw her out of the garden and helped her catch a bus. I almost forced her as she was worried about her boyfriend and wanted to wait for him to see him safe.
I do not know what happened to her boy friend.I do not know if they both are still together. I just hope that the girl learnt her lesson to carry some money with her and be prepared to take care of herself even when she is with her boyfriend.
And suddenly I realised that the city I grew up in has changed beyond recognition.it was no more the city I knew .
I realised the men loitering around in the garden were not devoid af any mission in their lives. They all had a responsible job at hand , of patching up the moral tattered fabric of the nation.