There was this angry river which had water for only those 20-30 days during rains and angry it used to get. In its full glory, it would make traffic stop for hours. Crowd will gather around the river to watch the natures fury. No sooner the rains stopped, the river became the dry river bed. Nothing but huge mass of sand. It was Sukhdi River (Sukhdi = Dry in Marwari).
From our roof, I could see the Aravali range. I would sit there for hours imagining I saw a tiger move in the mountain. It was addictive. Next to our house there were attached houses, some abandoned ones as well. We would jump around those houses and have our own private adventure in ghostly places. It was a world of unexplored places, where we could just take a walk around in our schools, find secret places under the bushes. Butterflies were in abundance and so were snakes. But then we all need fairies and villains in our stories, don’t we?
We used to have a resident male sparrow, that used to sleep behind our doorbell in the night. As winters get too cold in Rajasthan, we used to cover our roof grill, effectively closing any opening in the house. At those times, we used to wait for the bird to return for the night before we will cover the place. Once we covered the roof before he can return to his resting place, but in half and hour we had to rush and open it a little for letting the little guy return. He always came back.
We used to take vacations and spend money in bigger cities. Used to marvel at those buildings. Used to be jealous of people who had such fascinating life. Used to eat in hotels sometimes as a family event :-).
And one day, I grew up. The tree was just another tree in the road. The town was not a good option for making a career. The secret places were nothing but the bushes and pockets in shrubs. The bird was a fact of life. The river was just another seasonal sensation for people.
I came to city. Glittering lights, fast food, small apartments, congested roads, strange people, big money.
Then I left the city and came to another country. Glittering lights, fast food, big apartments, more congested roads, stranger people, bigger money.
And now, we take vacation into more secluded places, more peaceful remote palces. Marvel at photos of villages and wish we were there. Wish I was there. Wish home was not so far.