Banjara Hills, Road no.9 - A byway of my youth...



Banjara Hills, Road no.9 - A byway of my youth...

            From Road no.9 we'd cut across a low lying waterlogged and grassy maidan (field). Sticky clay sucked at our footwear causing all trespassers to tread gingerly with small shallow flatfooted steps. It was nothing to write home about, this neglected piece of land, characteristically tropical and typically overgrown. There were unappreciated flowers of many colors that attracted little summer butterflies and called loudly to the bees yet were magically invisible to us children. There was an untended brook that spilled and bubbled into the grass at once nourishing it and drowning it. The tropical sun reflected from the watery pane below even as it blazed down from above.
            Either man or nature, someone had lined the banks of our stream with little rocks. Water flowed along little self-carved trenches, rushed into little damns and turns and dropped into pools of tadpoles and frogs. How did these tadpoles get here? Where did they go when the stream ran dry? How did those mosquitoes walk on water? Fleeting questions impatiently crowded each other out in our young minds.
Larger rounded rocks some partially embedded in the earth gathered like islands in a picture. We used them for stepping stones as we traversed our imaginary swamp. In our younger days we were challenged to make it across without stepping off the rocks and when we got older they became mossy platforms atop which boys would joust, fight, grapple, show dominance. Framing the boundaries of this non-descript piece of land were low walls of piled up stones. Nothing engineered, nothing seemingly architected but something completely in harmony with the contents of the enclosure. Over these walls spilled tenacious Bouginvillea vines, some draping the rocks and others intruding, penetrating and winding around the rocky formations. After many seasons of undisturbed growth encouraged by these perfect conditions, the bouginvilleas had grown wild. They were thick, voluminous, deep-green, drenched in the colors of their flowers and reaching out in all directions.

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