• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 09

In limbo

I wake up to the noise of construction next plot. Standing by the window, I gawk at the growing concrete giant. I miss that patch of land where they cultivated marigold and rose. People have to live; they need houses to live, cheap, featureless houses. 

I walk into the kitchen and keep the teapot on. I flick a teaspoon of roasted Darjeeling tea, watching water assume the color of the horizon. I look outside the window and feel thankful they stopped at five floors. I still have a patch of sky left. But is it my sky? 

I get out and take a few rounds around my apartment. I see the same flower five times as if walking through an endless simulation. Sometimes, I stop at the gate and peep outside. 
The village outside isn’t my village. We don’t speak the same language, eat the same food, or celebrate the same festivals. I know very few villagers—the milkman and the grocery shop owner, but I am sure they don’t recognize me. It’s my home but not quite home.

The apartment stands like an island, gated and protected from the external world, the real world. I venture outside and walk through their village, not a single smile. I miss being stopped every few minutes by people who talk without pleasantries, who know my parents and grandparents, who understand my language. I am so far away from them, trying to make life—a half-baked life. 

I float around their village like a stranded time-traveler—not quite here, not quite there, in limbo.