I returned home after a ten-day retreat in Hyderabad – a historical city alive with four centuries of cultural legacy. It’s when I access my past – plowed from a decade before – this city reminds of my bad times – disquiet, some unease bile up in the stomach.  The grave errors I had made not so long ago flood my memory: many events, confusions, and mental turbulences that I had never confided to anyone, yet I love the place for its weather and traffic chaos, and delicious eateries relished across the capital.

Before planning the five-hour drive, I had a few apprehensions about my physical ability, a worrying doubt “can I make it?” It’s been over two years of pandemic toll, blackouts, curfews, and lockdowns. People couldn’t find anywhere to hide from the deadly Coronavirus that spelled death to many whom I have known dearly.

The experience I had been through, finding myself almost choked to death, wanting for oxygen, scrambling for a hospital bed, when the Coronavirus, like molten fuming lava withering anyone on its way. It had left no household untouched; it was unstoppable – devoured like a maniac the careful souls, as well as the reckless morons with devastating fervor.

I was lucky, unlike many who never saw the daylight when Covid emergencies hurried them into whatever crowded hospitals it forced them to occupy.

Recovery from the distressing, depressive aftereffects of Corona took over six months. It brought about nausea, poor appetite, irritable moods, and uncooperative leg muscles. It felt like I had been looking at my physical attributes equivalent to a seventy-year-old disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, “why don’t you stay with us? Spend some good time with Kaushal? It would be like a helpful break,” my son asked, trying to convince me with sentimental bait; of staying with my grandson. “Sure, I thought, why shouldn’t I? Time with Kaushal sounded nice, and I can also check how my body systems were recuperating taking in the journey and a new place.”

I took a quick decision and landed in Hyderabad for a brief respite; I buzzed with excitement – the type a toddler feels while taking the first ride in a car. After a storm of the near-death health crisis because of Corona, the ride gave me a sense of contentment. The joy seemed so unreal, and I savored every vista passing behind me. Every blink of breath, I felt so valuable, a hard-earned prize, like a newborn baby, so perfect and divine.

“What is so nice about this trip? Why I’m so cheerful,” I questioned myself, enjoying the five-hour drive, grey clouds hovering above, and the misty weather beating the speeding car. I couldn’t stop thinking about myself again and again; the reasons that motivated, I had agreed to this getaway for a short period.

When I pictured them in my head, I have had enough whys to explain, which brought a smile of ease that I hadn’t noticed about myself for many months. I felt happiness radiating within when I figured it out; I felt optimistic, that’s for sure. It’s all about how I have recovered in the previous six months, thriving on hope, allowing no negativity to overwhelm me. When I closed my eyes, I enjoyed a healthy flow of good vibes, an anticipation of good days ahead: a start of new life –intuitive bravery that I have a chance of seeing better things.

Let me get back about my trip; meant to fulfill a few concerns I wished to get done, which I have promised myself would take up as soon I get back on my foot. Now, I felt it was time to realize them.

It’s a thanksgiving visit to call upon a few friends who supported me emotionally when I had struggled to fight my fears in the hospital room.

And next, it was this lovely musing, “I have to share with him a little more of my presence, sitting close to him; he is what I have who makes my retired days more rewarding.” He is my pot of gold – my grandson Kaushal.

My camera never set sight, for over four decades, on the historically significant locations of Hyderabad city. So I decided to add to my gallery a few visuals of historical memories of this famed traditional Metropol. I thought it might be an enjoyable challenge for my healing regimen, too.

A few days later, I sat before my computer, it took hours to load about four hundred raw exposures and no fewer hours to cull, process, edit, and make impressive picks of over forty images. I have categorized the lots with titles, “the Faces of Fortune,” and “Romancing the Ruins,” and “the Charminar,” and I’ll be posting my impressions in the coming days, and I look forward to your judgment.