A walk in the middle of the night..

The road was looking beautiful under the moon light. It is probably the first time I used the words 'road' and 'beautiful' in the same sentence, while talking of Bangalore. Probably they were always beautiful, I just didn't have the eyes to see it, disassociating it from the crowd and the litter. Off late I am a little worried about the eyes. I have a feeling that our eyes show us what we want to see -a 'preferred' version of reality- instead of the actual truth. I don't yet know whether I can get a pair of glasses which correct 'twisted vision'.

It was 1:30 AM and I was walking along the New BEL road at Bangalore. I always liked long walks in the middle of the night, especially if there is a mild drizzle. The raindrops which look colorless and wasted in the day, suddenly looks all jazzed up under the incandescent light. Without all the noise and crowd, you can actually listen to the rhythm of the rain as you walk around. This was one of my preferred ways of unwinding; a habit developed during the Hyderabad days, when I used to work in the graveyard shift. During the break, I used to get out of the campus and take a long walk with a friend. It is always good to have company, not a crowd. Something which started as a time-pass activity soon became a habit, one of those nasty ones which simply refuses to let go.

A couple of drinks can in fact give a whole new level to this experience. It makes you hypersensitive to the sights and sounds around. The dogs and rats were busy reclaiming their territories, now that the humans have retreated. A few familiar dogs - friends from my morning jog- acknowledged my presence with a quick wag of their tail and returned to more important daily chores. The smartest of the group was already busy, wooing a bitch in the shades, a little away from all the commotion. I stopped on the track to let a cockroach cross the way, only to see a huge rat pouncing on it. Never knew the rats fancied cockroaches, probably not the affluent and spoiled house mice. We had some good rains in the evening and it was foggy. For the first time, I heard the cicada symphony in action in the city. I never knew they were there in the city at all, probably as Richard Feynman said 'we all carry our ears so high above the ground' and never notice many things.

The flowers of the 'flame of the forest', fallen all along the road and the pavement looked like large droplets of blood under the sodium vapor lamp light. Most of them were in fact waiting their hour of death under a foot or a tyre.. the carnage won't begin at least till the morning. As I walked on, a police jeep stopped next to me. The officer asked me what I am doing at that time of the night. It took a while for me to convince him about my habit of taking a walk after dinner, and how dinner got delayed due to 'work' at office and so on! With the cropped hair, half sleeve T-shirt and bathroom slippers perhaps I looked like a junkie to him. Reluctantly he bought my argument and drove away, asking me to get back home at once. As a law abiding citizen of the country, I walked back home.

A couple of frogs jumped across the pavement to the puddles formed by the rain ,for a late night swim. I remember seeing an army of small frogs crossing the road after the rain, during my night walks at Hyderabad. This used to happen for a few days, more or less at the same spot. I loved to scoop them up in my hands, much to the dislike of my friend.

Sometimes frogs have all the fun!

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