When at home, I used to lie on the terrace at night and look at the stars, plenty of stars. Light breeze from all directions stroked my cheeks, played with my hair. Oh! What a wonderful feeling! . . . a sense of expanse, no barriers, no constraints.
Then I packed my bags and left for Gujarat. Although Ahmedabad is a big and busy city, the employees of our institute by their hard work managed to maintain a green patch where people and birds could relax. I could always find some secluded place in the lawns, in the nursery, on the terrace, where I could be all alone, deeply absorbed in my thoughts — either exploring how far can I mentally travel or just trying to put my life in order. Nobody disturbed me. If at all anyone did turn up, that person would just sit silently next to me, without uttering a single word — the two of us sat there in deep silence.
That solitude was a luxury that I have missed ever since I moved to Kanpur. This city is like any other Indian city, and the institute is also modestly maintained. The institute premises have a number of places which are quite suitable for simple or deep contemplation. However, the problem is unavailability of solitude. Here one can never be alone. During day, and definitely in night, if you are seen standing or sitting at a place, one of the guards would appear before you . . .
Sometimes when I happen to come a little early to the lab, I get to see empty roads, closed doors, few bicycles of students who have been up in lab whole night . . . the lab staff hasn’t arrived yet, dry leaves lie scattered on dusty roads. . . first rays of the sun fall on the tall institute building, trees and the roads, and from there get scattered all around . . . fragrance of fresh cold air along with stale smell of dust presents a curious symphony. Ah! How romantic! The scene gives an impression of a small child, having woken up from a good night sleep, now rushing to its mother with open arms . . .