The walk home took about 30 minutes if you could brisk walk. Sunny, usually didn’t like running for no reason. The steep Landour hill required an extra boost. When he was young his mom used to pick him up from school. At the start of the school this year, when winters ended in Mussoorie, he especially told his mother, “Mom, I am gonna be alright. You don’t have to come pick me up from school. And, I don’t like the lunch delivered either.” His mom took a deep breath. She knew this was coming. It would’ve been too early for her anytime.
Mussoorie was cool, I should rather say cold. You gotta take a quilt and a blanket to pass through the night. And, the mornings were freezing too. When you’ve got a convent school at 9 a.m, you gotta be at school by 8:45. Sunny was there by almost 8 every day. The swings served him a great deal. At the expense of time, he got quite gymnastic with them. In days, he could curl his body like he didn’t know he could.
Sunny has a gleaming personality; he had this aura surrounding him that attracted the keen eyes. He was carefree. They called him an introvert. He was totally choosy when he picked someone to talk to.
Sunny waited for the exam time as those were the days when he could get an early leave from school. He loved wandering and going back at a slow pace to his home. Sometimes he and one of his home-walk friend would take a detour and go through the back side of the city. That route had a tree which looked like a human with both hands raised in the air. It used to fascinate Sunny. It was kinda scary, yet harmless. It was more like an obscure saint to him.
Sunny wasn’t fond of the rains. They were gloomy. They took away the spirits of the town until they stopped. Sunny preferred an umbrella. He didn’t like wearing a raincoat and feeling like an alien.
There were two faces of Mussoorie. One, which acted as a facade for the tourists, where all the world went. It was the glamorous version. Video game parlours and overly fancy eateries were quite prevalent. It was where girls strolled in short skirts and had ice cream cones on chilly evenings. Slush kept rolling in machines. People paid huge bucks to look at the nearby Dehra valley from the telescope.
The other face was where people actually dwelled. It was the non-glamorous version. You’d see people on the roads and you’d know where they live. It was very different from the buzz of the Mall road. It was like a huge family of sorts. Children used to play with marbles and cricket balls made out of old socks. Collecting twigs and wood for Holi celebration was a wonderful adventure. Your school teacher and your mother would chat like women while they knit sweaters. And, it was peaceful.
Love is at its peak when the parting is near. Sunny was growing up with his siblings. His father had recently felt that they need to move to the nearby city to look for better opportunities. However necessary it was, Sunny didn’t like the idea. He never realized when Mussoorie had started living inside him.
He hadn’t experienced a real heartbreak yet. Parting from Mussoorie would be his first one. He is going to miss the landscapes of Lal Tibba, the bluish exposure of the serene Landour mornings, the calm faces and those starry nights. He will miss it all.
Years later Sunny is a grown-up man. He had thought that Mussoorie will go out in some time. But, it stayed. Still, today whenever he gets the time he visits his love. He learned to let go at a very young age. And, because he let go, their love stayed.
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