Monsoon in Bombay was coming to an end. Earth, air and us had absorbed our fair share of humidity. Twilight was upon us and day’s play had transitioned into reflections on life. Reflections that 10 years of life and that day’s events could afford. Crickets, frogs and birds formed a white noise for our conversations. Couple of inches over our heads a ball of mosquitoes would form. Occasionally, Vivek or Pravin would clap over their heads and look at their palms. Filled with blood. “How many did you get? 5…Oh I got 7!”. Over coming months discussing the morality of killing mosquitoes (which are living), we had reached a conclusion given the threat posed to the Asian and African continent’s human population, this was a justified act. After which it turned into an official post twilight sport. Not something to be actively participated in, but a casual gesture of clap over one’s head and a count to measure one’s service to humanity. But the focus was always the conversations, about strange animals, the consistency of the soil, a fish caught by someone from a flooded sewer, sighting of a snake, how best to survive on mars, best way to create fire…and all other possibilities and opportunities life as we knew it had to offer.
I met Vivek in London after 20 years. It was one of those crisp autumn days. We caught up on life lost and won. We went back to those days. Vivek clapped over his head. It was a loud clap. We smiled. “How many did you get?” his palms were empty and clean.