The Enchanted Town

The Enchanted Town

5 mins
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"Want to see the third block?" She asked me with her characteristics enthusiasm. "That's probably the nicest part of the city. It's filled with beautiful homes."

I am always fond of tastefully done neighbourhoods. Also, there is something about the landscaped gardens, manicured lawns and the trimmed bushes, which evokes a wild yearning inside me. I steered my car from the main road into a narrower lane, which meandered across for a fair distance before entering the posh habitat of the opulent.

There is nothing more contagion on earth than fear or excitement. There is nothing more riveting than a stylish show of wealth. There was indeed an extraordinary spread of lavish habitation all around us. I do not know whether my excitement rubbed on her, or hers on mine, but the sight of the first dwelling on our left made the both of us gasp in delight. A three storied bungalow it was, with long windows and wide balconies. Although, the thick wall surrounding its grounds adequately protected the privacy of the residents, it did not obstruct the observant from admiring the splendour of the house's architecture. Its arched doors and windows, reminiscent of the colonial era, blended seamlessly with the modern glass panels. My vehicle moved very slowly to the next residence. Another beauty - dimly lit, with slanting roofs admitting the encroachment of a lovely creeper, which lent a shade of pale green to the brightly painted wall that it scaled. The tip of my toe barely touched the gas pedal, and my car crept forward at a snail's speed.

Each abode in the neighbourhood had a distinct design, and yet they all colluded together to produce an effect of such grandeur. My car reached the end of that road. "Turn right or left. It does not matter. " She remarked. "The roads are all interconnected. " I turned right and another array of splendour hit our eyes. The street was not wide, but its intermittent parking spaces were adorned by the automobiles of the most expensive brands. The street lights dazzled off their shining metallic surfaces, as the powerful driving machines stood motionless embleming the pride of their rich owners. My car went past a high wall with a partially opened gate, which allowed a limited view of the interiors. An expansive cover of green grass, resembling a mini golf course, stretched beyond those boundary-walls. "Oh! There is no house on this property?" I enquired in surprise. "There indeed is, on the other end of the lawn," she replied.

"Where did the bustle of the city disappear?" I wondered. The city is known for the most horrible traffic. People spend hours to traverse merely a mile through damaged roads, littered with noisome garbage and countless rows of dented vehicles. There is no civility for the fellow commuter, no respect for the pedestrian. A mindless competition for squeezing through the thinnest gaps between the ugly public buses and the insensitive scooterists reign supreme on the minds and motives of the motorists. After a while the commuters become indifferent to the coarseness of the continuous honking, and they start actively contributing to the wretched din of the rush hour. There is actually no need to rush, you know, but the people of this city have simply been hardwired to rush in the unseemliest manner possible. But on that evening, I had been whisked away magically from that abject reality. It seemed that I was moving in slow motion through a land created by a sorcerer.

It was indeed a strange feeling. It did not matter which way I turned, what part of the road I drove on, or where I stopped. The night was still and the roads were desolate. Thick, wooded trees lined the roads. The wintry breeze had thinned the leaf-cover of the dense branches, through which filtered the silver beams of a waning crescent. I drove in circles, finding new lanes and discovering new nooks in the old ones. The tranquil night wore on, while the enchanted town slept heavily under a cloudless winter sky. I fixed my hands stiffly on the steering. I was scared to budge a finger, least this trance would break, and I would once again find myself amidst the intolerable raucous of screaming horns and screeching brakes.

I do not know who weaved that surreal air of sorcery around me. Was it my gorgeous companion, or was it the somnolent maze I was driving through? I wondered whether Princess Aurora had stepped out of the fairy tale to show me around her sleeping kingdom. The moonlight weaved an intricate pattern on the empty pavements, creating an illusion of the weirdest kind. The mansions cast their elongated reflections on the silver patches, while the sombre walls and the tall trees waited eagerly for the 'first kiss of true love'. The sweet laughter of the princess filled the silence with joy and mirth, and yet the townspeople slumbered on. My vehicle twisted and turned in absolute enthralment under the spell of my enchantress. Frequently, I would stumble across a new trail, hitherto undetected, and exclaim in wonder - "I have not seen this before. Where does it lead to?" My sorcerer, my princess would laugh out delightfully. "Oh! That leads to a prettier part of the town. Drive along." The gardens that lay between the homes on these paths were in full blossom. The colourful flowers swayed gently in the night air, but no one interrupted our advance.

"This can no longer be the third block, or for that matter any block of a modern city," I had realised by then. The princess had transported me through a magical portal into her own wondrous realm. The air was heavy with her fragrance, and the world was silent under her charm. I left behind the sordid ambitions of urban existence, losing my way in her beautiful labyrinth. I felt no desire to ever come out of it.


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