When did we start playing real?

She picked up her mobile phone, checked the time and noted it by the minute. Walked towards the door and jangled the keys in her pocket before pulling the door shut. But just before the door pressured shut, she objected, planned to leave her mobile behind, checked her whatsapp one last time and had a mixed feeling of not seeing another forwarded-life-philosophy-message on her family groups. Was everyone busy with their evening teas? She saw two ladies in the lift from the 10th floor and heard them talk about how green tea was making a difference.

As she finally reached the park, she saw that it was already grey with no trace of the setting sun, it had sunk. The last kids were on their way back home, some cycling, some exhausted with bowling before they got that one strike, a boy hanging his arm on a taller one and the taller one, maybe his brother, bending his shoulder to drop the sticky younger one away. She got reminded of the day when she was playing ‘ghar-ghar’ (Literal translation, <home, home>, A game played by kids, played mostly by girls, wanted to be played by all kids though, where they role-played as members of a family and did chores like cooking, taking care of babies, going to office or even marrying) and her little brother, only four, wanted to cook a meal with her but her friend laughed him off and shooed him away to be called at a later time to go back again to office. Only if she had known then how boys were trained into men.

She had completed two full rounds and thought that it must have compensated for the chocolate piece she had succumbed to. She saw a girl in her balcony, talking on the phone, or say laughing into the phone, someone probably telling her that she was missed in this good weather. She walked a little slower to hear the verbal response.

She walked another round and moved out of the circular pathway and planned to just walk till the grocery shop and back, this way she was not overtaken by the running boy every time she thought she was moving brisk. As she ambled now, checking her pockets for some change to carry a bread loaf home, she overheard, the lady in chudidar (traditional pants worn by women in India, sometimes by men also, but it is feminine mostly) and sports shoes telling her husband how their son was really working hard this time for the finals. Waiting for a response, she looked at him till some ten steps and was just given an ambiguous ‘hmmm’.

She was brisker than them and wanted to laugh out loud this time, they were playing too!