It’s been 10 years since i left Malgudi. No i’m not referring to the Malgudi in “Malgudi Days” . But there are similarities to my Malgudi and R.K Laxman’s Malgudi. Our Malgudi was also a small colony , almost 10 kms from Secunderabad.
Life was very simple and less complicated. Everything was available with in a kilometer or two. The school was 5 minutes of walking distance. Of course this was some what problematic, because the teachers and the principal also lived close by and every now and then we used to bump into them. Some of those meetings were a bit embarrassing.
Yet another reason I often refer to our colony as Malgudi is because we never had the need to go to the big city i.e. Secunderabad. Hyderabad was definitely out of question. Malgudi had everything. Schools, play grounds, book stores, general stores, which is pretty much what I would need in general. The only time I would go to Hyderabad was when I had to do the honors of a tour guide and take my relatives to the museum, tank bund , birla mandir and the zoo park. The only exciting part of that trip was to ride the double decker bus and sit in the top deck especially when the bus was on tank bund.
Back in Malgudi, me and my friends pretty were like the “Band Of Brothers”. We were inseparable. Going to school, playing cricket or football, going on an adventure, celebrating festivals, we would always be together. Even after we go to our respective homes in the evening, we would still sneak out at the slightest chance we would get to have another rendezvous. We would walk on the roads of Malgudi , blocking every single vehicle on the road. We would sit at the community hall and talk politics, talk movies, talk cricket, crack jokes. This was our “Adda”. If anyone is late for our meeting, without any hesitation they would come to the community hall and would find everybody there. This continued till we reached college. Sometimes, even our parents would come to the community hall looking for us. They didn’t have to go any place else.
Malgudi would be at it’s best around Dushera, Diwali and Ganesh festivals. Malgudi would be lit up for a minimum of 7 days , Malgudi would be buzzing with excitement for 7 days, Malgudi would be the talk of the town for the those 7 days. Malgudi was “THE” place to be in. Malgudi, being such a small colony, meant that everybody knew everybody else. Social gatherings such as marriages, birthday party’s meant that the whole colony would be present. For me it was just another opportunity to meet all my friends and circle around and carry on with our “Community Hall” discussions.
Fast forward to 10 years, Malgudi is no longer Malgudi. Things have changed, for good or bad, but they have changed. Unfortunately i don’t have any pictures of how Malgudi looked like back in the days, so i just have memories and i don’t want to tamper my memories thinking about these changes.
So all i can say is , Malgudi , I miss you !