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A murder of crows sits atop the smouldering block of concrete. Is it sewage tank? Is it a marker? No one around the gawking birds seems to care too much. I spill a drop of water on the surface only to see it instantly evaporated into thin air. I could hear a buzz; it might just have sizzled.

The streets of Delhi are marked by a few evergreen elements – raging machinery honking egregiously; dust in the air and grime in the corners; and cold eyes pleading for you to see their plight. Currently playing with dry twigs, these black birds have not a caw to spare. They stare boldly at us as if holding secrets of the dystopia that’s bound to engulf us. Do you think they ever cross the horizon into shadowed lands of fresh air?

Being back from the “Queen’s Meadow”, gated conversations of this metropolitan don’t touch my heart anymore. The purpose of very interaction seems to be to prove one’s worth. While the land seethes in an infernal summer, hearts seem hooked to an autumnal idea of detachment. No one seems to be your own; no one seems to be their own.

The first night in Ranikhet was an eye-opener for me. The silent valley covered in darkness became a cause for concern. Suddenly, my thoughts seemed too loud and my ideas overly inflated. And yet, those mighty ranges seemed unaffected. They quietly stood there mocking me as I involuntarily purged the trash stored inside of me. They laughed as I wondered how one lives in pure consciousness. They relished consuming yet another soul in their cosmic silence, making me realise how all I have ever held as an idea of identity is really just a superficial coat.

What I saw sitting behind my workplace in Ranikhet

And then began my journey. Hailing from the land of go-getters, I tied my ponytail high the next morning and entered the workspace at 9.30 am. No one had arrived yet. Concerned yet excited, I chasséd to the back where a familiar looking block of concrete stood whispering secrets of the building. It was cool to touch, deflecting the moist mountain air mixed with sunshine. I sat down, and was immediately aware of how different this block was from the flat sight of cement found back in my resident city. It was vibrating with life; with stories of birds having perched here and women having shared stories over multitudes of cuppas. The panorama got to me – I immediately knew that the day had to begin by journaling my feelings before my heart imploded. ‘No one stresses as much as my own mind.’, I wrote.

I was told later that the organisation doesn’t run at face value here. You come in and clock out as per need, as per your work load. You work to impact not to grind. It took me two weeks to fully digest this new system, as all my life I had been trained to run and catch each experience before it ran out of my hands. Where I came from after all, people were so busy showing what they could achieve that a murder of crows could be sweltering in the sun and no one would stop to pour them some water.

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