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As Shashi strolled down the familiar streets that once cradled her adolescence, she remembered the red pathways, accentuated with mud mounds that whispered tales of her carefree school days. With each step she took, the subtle aroma pleased her, and the vendors with colorful turbans attracted her- a symphony of childhood memories came rushing through. Her white school shirt, which had turned a subtle shade of crimson, echoed the echoes of her past.


Her mother's voice resonated in her ears, the scolding for choosing the muddy path over a direct route home. The vibrant chaos of street vendors beckoned. They had offered bittersweet gooseberries, tangy guavas, sour mangoes, and warm-boiled peanuts. The colorful array of colloquial vendors and their wares had seemed like a feast and was a magnetic force for her teenage curiosity.


Beyond the prominent mud mound, a squadron of cranes danced against the azure sky. Shashi, a dreamer then, envied their freedom, unshackled by the burdens of homework and mathematical equations. Those innocent thoughts lingered as mere echoes in her memory.


Today, after years in the US and a prestigious role at Manchester University, Shashi returned, immaculately dressed. where was the market that once had pleased her? mud mounds, the birds, and the familiar aroma were replaced by dazzling lights and a parking lot filled with premium cars. The urban crowd sparkled, filled with people in suits, and the mannequins in the big stores smiled.


As Shashi's nostalgia gripped her, a speeding motorbike shattered the reverie, leaving her unconscious on the pavement. When she opened her eyes, the white walls and dim lights of a hospital replaced the urban splendor, a stark reminder of the fragility of the present.


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