It’s been long since I enjoyed the first showers of monsoon, harmless gossips with friends, the last day of an annual exam, a small geometry box wrapped neatly as a b’day gift from some long-lost friend, smell of freshly applied Henna on teen-soft palms…. The list if I sit and recollect would run through the entire pages of my blog. But, when I ruminate on things that I want back from the past, it would be these small tiny-winy joys — I wish I could live through again. That impulsive innocence which defined my earlier life slowly seems to fade away into the dusk of a fiercely competitive and sometimes frightening adulthood.

Yesterday, Tina and me went to the campus juice center at around 11.30 pm, lucky enough to have the last two glasses of mango juice from the sleepy center owner. It was unusually hot yesterday night and so we decided to take a stroll in the large play ground in front of our hostel instead of getting back to our rooms.

The field was pleasantly cool with a soft breezy air waiting to greet us in the darkness. It was not all that empty. While some students were celebrating a surprise b’day party, some others were taking a brisk walk, while some young couples were just lazily strolling around enjoying moments of simple intimacy. We went walking feeling the breeze, without a word with each other. We decided to spend some time sitting there in the silence. Slowly with the night thickening, people around us started melting away to the cosy comfort of their rooms or homes.

The first prick of the wet grass of a freshly mowed play ground when we sat, the sudden complete silence of a world where we are driven by noises (from the time that we wake up with noise of cell phones/alarms, hard music, people, etc. etc. to the time we go to bed) was unspeakably charming. We sat there till very late at night oblivious of the others’ existence. I was happy — very happy after a long time in that dark lull where one could hear one’s own heartbeats and could count the beats of the breeze. I became intensely nostalgic and was reminded of things that I had almost forgotten for ages now.

It was only once that we spoke to each other. I asked Tina with the childish curosity that I had once : “Tina in the scriptures they said Gods used to roam around and would appear to mortals very often. What has happened now? No trace of any God? Why don’t we see them or see the people who have at least seen them? Kya unki gadiyon mein fuel nahin rehta?” She replied with all seriousness: “Hmmm!!!! I guess…there is a lot of pollution these days and the smog has become so thick that we are not able to see them!”

A moment later her eyes twinkled with a thought. She gasped and said: “Hey! Listen u can’t see may be…but I am sure u can feel a presence here.” I replied unamused: “Huh! dhut! nops…nuts! How so?” Then, she asked me to lie flat on the ground and watch the night sky constantly. I did as instructed! Ah! the unspeakable joy in that posture! I lay flat on my back in that open field for I don’t know how long…and watched the moonlit-stary sky sly staring down at me. The feel of the moment, I have no words to describe, but yes I could sharply perceive a strong presence around me — a presence of a kind that inspires awe and fear but at the same time makes u thirst for more. The breeze was heavy and tingled me with its pricks. It seemed as if I could hear the motions of my own heart and as if the entire cosmos was conspiring to make itself felt with innumerable hands and eyes. After a long pause, I spoke to Tina: “actually you are right I think there is some presence…may be some people call it God… I don’t know what it is…a presence which can be felt but not seen.”

We spent the rest of the time in silence…came back at around 2 am after realizing with a jolt that some Cheetah from the national park nearby may take us for a prized feast…