Old roads. Strewn with gulmohar petals, dusted with a fading nostalgia. The play of sun and shade dancing on their parched faces. A stray bicycle leaning picturesquely on a tree. Trees and trees all around. Tall, stout, leaved to their very best of summer glory. Somewhere a peacock calls lazily. Not many anymore as in those days. The familiar taste of the paratha and potato curry in the Students' Canteen. And the more than familiar, bureaucratic superiority of the administrative staff. Revisiting the old spaces. The verdant nooks that helped many to escape the world. Be it badly turned assignments or matters of heart. Driving to the signboard 'School of Humanities' and taking a sharp U-turn. What if no one recognizes me? It has been a good seven years after all.
It feels like the perfect end to my love-hate relationship with this city. My second home and my first exposure to life outside my culture, this is a city that I had once loved to the brink of my heart never knowing that one day I'll be more than desperate to escape it. And I've realized, one necessarily doesn't bid farewell to the campus after passing out of the university. Or when you leave the city (for the second time) for that matter. It'll always live inside you. A stroll between the rows of cork trees, my favorite space in the whole of the sprawling 2,300 acres, was enough to tell me that. And whenever I'm there I'll always remember the wide-eyed, passionate young woman who had arrived one July morning, armed with her Shakespeare and Keats and a little of something that resembled a small-town shyness that has never quite left her.