Staying alone can make you nostalgic. Here is my love letter to a neighbourhood in Lucknow where much of my childhood was spent. 

My school of course features here with prominence. Mom would often travel home with me, and I waited after school at her office. On good days, we would eat at Marksmen before heading home. On even better days, usually Saturdays, we would catch a movie at Mayfair. It was mostly I, mom and bro who saw movies at Mayfair. Dad somehow did not feature in these afternoon affairs. He accompanied us when the show was at Sahu.

The Universal  was our go-to place for school books that couldn’t be found at the store closer to our home. Many of the popular places like Royal Cafe, Dastarkhwan and Moti Mahal were not frequented as much when we were kids. (I went there a lot more with friends during the MBA stint). But we were regulars at Rovers and Shukla Chaat. 

I also fondly remember the stadium where I saw the first and only test match of my life, the temple at the sight of which we would bow our heads, the market which was too expensive for us and the huge city circle named Parivartan which I never took much liking to. 

The only jarring memory in all of this is the noisy tempos i hailed everyday to get home. Initially black and yellow, they later changed to white and green but remained as abhorring as ever. The long wait to find a tempo, getting squeezed in the oven-like heat, and groping hands of disgusting men made them a daily tribulation of my life. 

Long live Hazratganj !


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