A love story cut short!

A month is a strange time period…it leaves you nowhere, actually! Or at least, that’s what it does to me! I am too familiar to the place to be a tourist and not there long enough to be a resident. Wherever I go, I need to know the place, by heart. I want to know the lanes and by-lanes of a city, small corners that are not meant for tourists, but those that regular people pass by, on their way to work or on their way home. I want to know more and more about the city, so that I can remember more and more about it, forever. I like to remember all the places I visit because, each place tells me a whole lot of stories!

Scenes from everyday life in Cape Town

Cape Town was no different to me – I wanted to know everything about it, so that it remains etched in my heart forever. But somehow, this time it was a different feeling. The month-long stint was far from just a memorable happy experience. There was a strange sense of loss and longing as I left the city…and that feeling is still with me even after a whole year. It is like a love story, cut short! I mean, you just about start to know a place, start to live there, start getting used to the weather, the lifestyle, the general living habits of people and then suddenly…Time Out! And you are left asking for more! And there is no way you can get it again!

Scenes from my window

And so, even after a whole year, I still wake up with a start and look for the wide window that opened to the Cape Town skyline with the Table Mountain showing partly in the right… I still recall the twists and turns our bus took each morning to office and back… I can still see Allen or Vincent or Joseph smiling warmly at me each morning… I still go back to calculating the bill breakup after every dinner out and then transferring money through Splitwise… I still remember every picture we took just to capture each moment that we would all carry in our hearts forever…

I still recall all the late-night heart-to-heart chats with Dayon in the little smoking zone even when we would be shivering to the bones…

I can still see Jin-Ping’s head shaking and her penchant for everything systematic…

I am still enamoured by the gorgeous Vanessa who can wear stilettos with ease and run miles without looking tired and click gorgeous pictures…

I still feel cold thinking how Alon and Gearoid went surfing in the ice-cold waters at the Muizenberg Beach…

I can still see pretty Megha being particular about her veg diet, no matter how enticing the non-veg spread…

I can still hear Katie’s boots along the Woodstock corridor and her white gold bun shining in the morning sun…

I can still feel Ellen sitting tight next to me as I held her as our vessel rode the waves towards the seal island…

I can still vividly recall Ale’s blood red lipstick matching with her blood red stilettos on the first day of work as she clutched my hands tightly through the cobbled stretch of the street from Burg Street to the DEDAT office…

I can see Pradeep naughtily shaking or nodding (he does a strange combination of both) his head at something as his bright eyes shine with life…

I still laugh remembering Yuka’s Oscar winning expression after the tequila shot in the lobby that evening…

I can still hear Larry’s full-hearted laughter echoing through the room behind the bar where we had our meetings…

I still hear Mama Imelda calling me “Partner” and giving me the warmest of hugs…

And I can still hear Beata splashing straight into the ice-cold pool but laughing uncontrollably as I tried to dry her clothes…

Yes, I remember every moment even after a whole year… the love story was not just with the city. It was with the people who filled the void that was created as I left my son back home for one whole month for the first time since he was born! It was with the people who explored and fell in love with  the city with me and who made it all worth remembering after a whole year!

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