It is summertime! You can hear the early morning chirping of birds, see the sun's rays falling on the shiny leaves of trees, and feel the cool morning zephyr blowing in your face. What makes it livelier is the laughter and enthusiasm of the children playing in the park, which can turn a dull day into a bright one. Welcome to my neighbourhood!
Let me give you a sneak peek into my childhood days. I grew up in a metropolitan city neighbourhood, which had many facilities and amusements within a few miles. My friends and I used to roam around our locality in a carefree way, riding bicycles on the empty streets and playing hide-and-seek in the evenings. It was a kind of ritual for us to visit the nearest stores for our daily replenishment of lemon soda. We used to chase squirrels in the park, and even pet a few of them that we kept in the makeshift tree house we built during our summer vacations.
Our neighborhood was our world, where all the kids freely visited each other’s places, even after dusk. The sense of being at ease, even though we knew our elders were always watching us, encouraged our adventurous spirit. Our neighborhood was constantly interacting with us; it was an indispensable part of our play.
The fun time spent during the annual Durga Puja festival still lives in our hearts. It was an experience of the vivid cultures, colourful clothing, delightful cuisines, and amusements of South Asia.
Now, it has all changed. The fanfare has diminished. All my childhood friends have moved to different cities to pursue their careers or professions. But the memories of glorious days of the past are still young. The warmth and the closeness we shared in our neighbourhood are what we still seek.