Silence. It echoed and echoed… till the rim of horizon. Kissing those infinite, green paddy fields. Touching the innocent little streams. Brushing past the motionless leaves of trees and bushes.It echoed. Caressing over the feathers of a muster of peacocks. Silence. After a long time I was taking a painful stroll through those winding village roads. I walked the course like I did a decades back. It all felt so nostalgic back then, when I was trying to make a living. In that race to transform myself into something more meaningless and objective, I pushed these roads down the stack of my memory lane. Now each stride is a regret and each step a tinge of affliction that I cannot explain in words. I lost the last reason that gave me life and that is why I was there, in my village. I kept walking, aimless wandering I would say. I did not take any gadgets with me. Gadgets I thought I cannot live without. Without them, in the city i felt ripped off, almost naked. But now, there is serenity and peace of mind. I kept walking and silence- it echoed. Finally I reached the road. I stood lost in its beauty. I glimpsed my past rush past through that old village road stood in solitude. I saw myself bouncing ahead holding my father’s fingers. Barefoot and happy. Then I was running with my friends, rolling that thin cycle tyre with a twig. What followed was love.Sauntering with her, eating sweet juicy ripe mangoes during summer. Holding her hands, only to be left free and vanish into oblivion forever.Those trees that stood guard to that road on both sides were still there. The leaves that held dust, dew and rain with the fervent love of seasons as they changed, were still there. Nothing had changed. Only I had changed. I searched eagerly for footprints on that road. Strange, I always did that. looking for footprints. Everywhere else I did find them in ample. But here, in this road there were none. It looked like nobody walked that old village road. I wondered how it remained so serene and unperturbed, watching generations flow by? Standing there, unnerved- like a silent witness to almost every emotion of man and nature that flowed through its body. Maybe this road was destined to be like this. Stand alone and watch. Again I searched for footprints, more closely this time. No. There were none to be found. I did not have the courage to walk through that road because it stood there like a testimony of silence and beyond. I closed my eyes and wondered how this road would look a hundred years from now. It may look the same, for there remained no footprints any more. I turned away, leaving that old village road behind me. The possibility of not seeing that road ever again in life was as high as certainty itself. As I walked, a Hornbill perched somewhere in those green memories, tore the echo of silence with a thirst-drenched vocal. I realized for the first time that footprints vanished, but impressions remained.
– By Srinath Krishnamoorthy
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