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Yesterday I went for a walk with friends.

It was pleasantly cool when we set out. The rain that had lashed the countryside earlier had left everything from the trees to the tarred road looking clean and freshly scrubbed. The sky was still overcast, holding more of the swollen dark clouds close to its vast chest, not yet ready to let go. There would be rain later tonight, but for now the sky was content to let the wind spread the clouds out, letting a few of the sun’s rays cast a pearly glow. The leaves on the trees glistened, their tips still dripping shiny drops of water on to the ground below.

We walked along a beautiful avenue with houses on either side, houses that looked like happy people lived in them. When we reached a crossroad, we took a right turn and walked along a lane with apartment blocks on either side. The blocks looked plain, utilitarian, remarkably like the ones I noticed in the Netflix show The Serpent that I am watching right now. The walls were cream colored, and there were broad green lines running horizontal above and beneath the balconies, also the edges of the roof.

Plenty of bushes grew along the walls on the ground level apartments, some of them ambitiously and tenaciously climbing the wall almost to the second floor. There were a hanging hibiscus blooms, the same ones as in my garden. But it was the yellow bells that grew in profusion, and brightened up the place.

In one of the second floor apartments, a party was in progress. The gentle breeze that had sprung carried the muted sounds of music, and the laughter and chatter of people to us down below. On a whim, we climbed the steps of the dimly lit stairwell, excited at the thought of surprising our friends and joining the fun.

When the door to the apartment opened the music hit us louder, so did the laughter and chatter. People broke away from groups to welcome us to their midst. Some who were dancing, waved to us. Others were singing along and urged us to join them. Yet others who were simply chilling drink in hand, raised their glass, unwilling to move from where they were comfortably ensconced. Introductions followed to the as yet unmet, and pleasantries exchanged with the known. Old groups broke up, new formed. The record was flipped. The dancers moved to a new rhythm. Time flowed.

Restless in the confines of a closed room, I slipped to the balcony for some fresh air. When I looked down I saw a kitten sitting as cool as you please on a sturdy branch of the yellow bell. It looked exactly like Goldie, my cat from long ago. The yellow bells, the dewdrops on leaves and the kitten looking at me intently. It was a beautiful scene and filled my heart with joy. I fished my mobile out and took a picture. Just then a white and black kitten emerged from behind the Goldie-lookalike, and the pair chased each other up and down the wall, clinging on to the vines that grew thickly. I laughed at their antics. They looked so adorable.

One of my friends came out to check on me. When she saw the kittens, she shook her head in a what-else-can-I-expect-you-to-be-enjoying way. I waved her back inside. I preferred the outdoor, she could go back and join the rest. Down below, a couple of German Shephards had bounded out through the door of a ground floor apartment. They ran around, mock fighting with each other. They looked up when I called them. Look here doggo, up here. As soon as they looked up, their giant pointy ears perked up, and the typical German Shephard look of puzzled curiosity writ large on their faces, I took a picture.

Just then another German Shephard came barging out of the door, making straight for the first pair. The newcomer was cement gray in color all over, with a black tail, and black ears. The dog looked up when I called out. Wait a minute. Cement gray? Hmm… I hadn’t ever seen one in just that shade. Do German Shephards come in cement gray? I was puzzled. Something was not right….




I opened my eyes. By the light was shining over an unfamiliar painting, I saw I was in a room with pale yellow walls. . But the walls of my bedroom are a pastel green. Where was I? And what was this sticking out of my hand? Flexible plastic tubes were connected from my hand to an IV bag on a hook. Realization dawned. I was in a hospital room, recovering from a minor surgery. After all the visits to the hospital in recent times for other loved ones, it was now my turn. There was no dark clouds, no imminent rain, no trees with glistening leaves, no flowers, no friends or parties, no raindrops, no kittens or German Shepherds. My brain had just shown me a lovely dream filled with all the things I love. You may call it nitpicking, but there was something my brain missed out. A Labrador. But I can live with that, you see, I have one at home. 😉

And that, my dear readers, is why I have been missing. I am recuperating well and will probably be back in my normal groove sooner than you (or I) think. 😉

Pssst! It took one week to write this because I kept falling asleep.

© Shail Mohan 2021