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Kenopsia & Me

By Sangeetha Amarnath Kamath

KENOPSIA

(.n) a place which has a bustling atmosphere otherwise, has become deserted, abandoned and eerily quiet suddenly.

It’s a new-fangled word which I chanced upon quite recently, all thanks to the pursuits propounded during downtime and this inescapable lockdown. I took upon one of them to building my vocabulary. Though this word was a novel one, the sentiment associated with it was not alien to me. I just didn’t have a name for it back then.

Looking back, in my school days, I had always dilly-dallied on the last day before it closed down for the academic year. While everybody just couldn’t wait to rush home or to hang out with their friends, the arcane sentimental in me would always wait it out until a major part of the crowd had dwindled. I would get captivated and drawn to the emptiness and vacuum of the classroom, which at one point of time would have been bustling with my frolicsome friends and classmates, my schoolmates and their full of beans laughter and cheerful screams all year round.

The hardest challenge to overcome emotionally was when I had to pass out of primary school and no longer had any reason to enter the place the coming year.

This obscurity overwhelmed me so much that I took a walk up and down the old wooden staircase to the floors above where I had first started my primary school journey and relived each classroom and the people I had come to know there and grow fond of.

 Oh, talk about mush! The memories—The Good, The Bad and The Mischievous and also that I would never meet my teachers in the same way again swamped me.

That made me wake up and smell the coffee. This was just one phase and more were likely to come…and go.

And it did, three years later when I passed out of High School. A similar vagueness, but I had already familiarised and braced myself for it. Nonetheless, a strange sadness overran me. Standing there and gazing; pondering about how a place of an exuberance of a magnitude this large could possibly transform itself into one of an icy hush in a matter of minutes.

 KENOPSIA it was! I was not an oddity. My emotion did have a name.

Today, history repeats itself, though I’m not a school-girl anymore. A short walk after lunch took me providentially to the space where I used to have one of my cardio Zumba classes before it got suspended by the awful coronavirus scare, and now it has been cordoned off… like a crime scene! The upbeat music, the catchy tunes, the energetic dancing group, our bouncing steps, our lively chatter during break, the boundless enthusiasm… our happy place had been rejigged into a dead zone?!

 It looked like a surreal ghost town!

Adding to the effect were dried fallen leaves, windswept grounds and unkempt grass around the area. It was KENOPSIA all over again.

Old habits die hard, but after three decades, technology had made it possible for me to articulate and immortalize this.

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Sangeetha Amarnath Kamath did her schooling from St.Agnes Primary and High School, Mangalore, India. She is a B.Com graduate form St.Agnes College, Mangalore. She is an aspiring self-taught creative writer.

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