It has been more than fifteen years since I left my homeland and as expected the memories have begun to fade. Yet some persist stark and bright reinforced by odors, colors and textures and often bring a whimsical tear to my eye. If I go back now, I doubt my experiences will be similar as I’m older thereby more cynical though I like to think otherwise. Some of these reminisces are irreplaceable and as I don’t trust my brain enough I try to preserve them in my writings. Taking a tanga (horse drawn carriage) ride in Agra or through the streets of Old Delhi is one of them. The following scene in The Accidental Wife illustrates it—
Then turning to Naina, Rihaan asked, “What now wife?”
She colored, appearing markedly disconcerted and made toward the autorickshaw stand.
He yanked her back. “No, that’s not what I had in mind.”
A few minutes later they were on their way.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Naina looked at Rihaan, concerned.
“I’m perfectly fine. Couldn’t have asked for anything better.” He let out a contented sigh, allowing his head to sink back into a pillow of fresh straw, and his worn out body to stretch along the length of the traditional tanga. With eyes closed, he inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with a mixture of the sweet hay and horse dung. The jerking rhythm, the clip clop of horse’s hooves, punctuated by the shrill cries of the tangawallah as they made their way through the busy thoroughfare was strangely comforting.