I didn't want to come back.
I swear I didn't.
And even if I did, I wanted work. Work which choked, strangled. Work which soothed, lullabied. Work which made one forget.
But then the wind came...
through the narrow galis, past the old pan shop with its rows of shining silver jars full of zarda, past the oil stained walls of 'Khirod Kachori Bhandar' which smelt of ghee and smoke all day, past the shorts wearing and mineral water drinking foreigners who were disappointed with the University because, unlike the rest of the city, it was 'green, clean, vast and quiet'. It blew through the old haveli where a rickety old man sat smoking a hookah on his even ricketier old khatiya. It ruffled the leaves of the pipal tree, making the inhabitant monkeys chatter even more loudly.
And it brought with it the incense, the flowers, the gobar, the innumerable cows, the earthen diyas, the ash-smeared jatadhari sadhus, the brass trinkets, the glass bangles, the tinkleof the bells, the busy chant of the purohits, the trade-cry of the hawkers, the ever present gurgle of the river, the Gangarati, the colours, the faith, the courage - the sheer energy of moving, speking, throbbing humanity.
And I breathed it in. All of it.
I am back now. And the facade is safely back in its place again.
I am smiling.
See me smile.