The yellow leaves crunched under my shoes as I trudged towards the institute. A great many trees, but no shade. How strange. Lugging my laptop bag, I looked up at the sky, or rather where the sky should’ve been, and all I could notice was a bleached white canvas that dazzled me blind for a few moments. I wore my retro sun-glasses through which I managed to spot three little black specks on the canvas far above. Three large birds of prey doing the rounds, hoping to chance upon some small dehydrated poor thing.
At this moment, I was passing by a bungalow that always fills my heart with a heavy silence. It seems to be abandoned for many years now. The distressed nameplate reads M.A. Koreishi, followed by the house number and the name of the road. Like every other day, I peeked in. The car, once white, was still there, covered in cobwebs and a great many old and decayed leaves. The windows of the house were grey and dusty, some broken by the neighbourhood kids during a game of cricket. Some old clothes hung on the clothesline in the balcony upstairs. The family must have left in a hurry. Or maybe one day, while out on their morning walk, they must’ve wandered too far and decided never to come back again. What if they had been witness to some terrible tragedy – disease, abduction, or the riots? Ok. I chided myself. Enough now, really.
It was definitely getting hotter and I still had to walk about 300 meters more. You can do it, you can do it! Just an incy wincy bit more. I must admit, it was difficult to focus on the gates of the institute when the asphalt of the ground you were walking on was ready to melt. Even the sweat on my forehead evaporated within seconds. It was like facing a giant turbojet blowdryer at its maximum power. A tiny voice inside me chirped happily. Not too many days till I make my way to cooler climes. Charged with this thought, I raced to the gate with a street dog chasing me madly. I was there, at long last. A peacock looked at me quizically on the path. I caught a breath, smiled at the silly pompous bird and made my way to the lab.