A memoir by Santosh Bakaya
Santosh Bakaya
Someone was yelling in a heavy, bellowing voice. 
There was another-louder than the first one.
It was difficult to make out whether it was a male or female voice. 

The night was all around me,in thick swathes of intimidating darkness , but the shrieks and bellows were more intimidating than the dark, sinister night.

Were they the demons that had slithered out of overcrowded minds, and were now bent on creating ruckus outside?

One demon from the next door neighbour’s house, another from the house fronting our house, big and small demons were in a celebratory mood. They sang, and buzzed, laughed and cackled, chortled and bottled up emotions burst out into the open. 

I could imagine them holding hands and dancing and swinging to the rhythm of some enigmatic music. 
Why would the neighbours’ demons congregate on my terrace? Were my own demons not enough?

“Listen to me”, cried one. 
“No, me,” yelled another.”
“No, me, I am here.”The one with the long nose beseeched, the nose appearing longer in its hyper excited state.

“Hear, hear”, they shouted.
I put my hands over my ears. 
And listened. 

To the sounds within.
Would I write my final notes tonight? With the night monsters surrounding me, chattering away with a malicious intent. 

There was an unassailable tumult in my head.

Why was that demon with buck teeth making grotesque faces at me? Why was that demon with oily hair..Why was that....oh that is my school teacher glaring at me, my Maths teacher. Maths was a nightmare, it still is.

”When will you learn Maths, you nincompoop?”

The night was audacious enough to call me names. It was on an unabashed name calling spree.
I threw away my blanket, knuckled away sleep kinks from my eyes, and headed towards my terrace. 
Ah what a delectable overhead bonanza! The dawn was still an hour away, the darkness still held sway.
The sky was a grey shawl with sequined embroidery appearing as though a great tailor had been at work, moulding silhouettes with dollops of imagination, and loads of inspiration.

What a heavily embellished ensemble it was, flaunting a crescent moon, gemstones and diamonds- a smorgasbord of twinkling brightness. .
Hey, who was that in the distance, that tiny speck peddling away in my direction? I rubbed my eyes, trying to see clearly.

A tin box welded to a creaking, ramshackle bicycle, and wonderful smells erupting from the box. A man hunched over the bicycle, humming an old off-key song and peddling away. The breadvala of yesteryears had appeared.

Through the alleyways of unfamiliar and dangerously dense woods, those childhood resonances ferry me across years, blurring boundaries, blurring time. 

I am at the threshold of my childhood home, talking animatedly and gesticulating wildly to the breadvala-a tall, affectionate looking man, forehead creased in lines, which were meant to be read between. 

And I, proud to be labelled a voracious reader read nothing else but immense love in those lines on the forehead, endless warmth even in the coldest of days . 
The cycle would creak to a halt outside our house, he would ring the bell on his bicycle....tring tring tring, and we would rush out.

“Look, Baby, how fresh these cakes are-fresh from the bakery-and these chocolate pastries- have you ever seen such mouth watering cookies? “And he would pick up one cookie and thrust it into my mouth. 

With the cookie in my mouth, and a pastry in the hand, I would skip back into the house- the happiest person on earth.

Life then was all about pastries and cakes -lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of cold drinks and lots of sweets......yes, it really was lovely !Bliss it was when a mere muffin or a cream -slathered pastry could send one into a tizzy . 
Today, one smell wafting across to me from a golden era had decimated the demons.

Travelling from the yesterdays, a breadvala had suddenly appeared, sloughing away the wrinkles of the present and smoothening my tomorrows lovingly . 
The morning was just a few hours away.