Taunton is a really quiet town. On the outskirts of this already sleepy town is the apartment where I stay, so no prizes for guessing that it is not the most happening place on earth. By way of activity, I step out for a walk on Route 44 which passes right outside the compound of our apartments. This period now is a beautiful season in Massachusetts and the dainty little houses that line the roads are the only eye-candy around. Funnily enough, no one seems to live inside these perfectly maintained houses with manicured lawns. Only the occasional possessive dog comes barging at me from the inside to warn me against entering his area of influence. Not that I mind, it reassures me that these aren't some kind of ghost houses.
The neighbours in my apartment are really engrossed in their own worlds. Apartments are hardly the place to stay in this relatively posh little town. Most of them are strugglers trying to make their way out to private houses. I still can't explain the few Ford Mustangs and the amazing bikes that are parked in our lot though. I wonder who owns them? Probably someone like me who is hare-brained enough to blow all of his savings on that dream motorbike or car! In the early morning and late evening, dog owners come to walk their pooches on the lawns of our "Dogs allowed" apartment. They are a fun lot to watch, both the dogs and their cranky owners.
There is hardly any evidence of my neighbours knowing each other or even wanting to. There's the guy upstairs who won't let his dog Parker come sniffing near me and strike up a friendship, even though I've told him a million times that I like dogs. There was once a false fire alarm and even the alarms were shrieking for almost half an hour, no one came out of our entirely wooden building except for the Indian guy who stays above me, Parker the dog along with his owner and me. Fire it seems was the least of the other people's worries.
The silence around here is really deafening for me after the eternal chaos of Calcutta. Sometimes the only conversation I have apart from the office hours of 5 to 8 is with the cab drivers who get me to and from office, and I have come to know all of them. The women as usual are incessantly talkative, while the guys are a healthy mix of cheerful and grumpy. Who wants a cheery "What's happening, dude!" kind of cab driver when you've had a bad day at office. I rather like the company of the tight-lipped, sour faced ones then. They go well with my mood.
Today on my way back from a Walmart expedition, a cab driver asked me if I was looking for to buy a German Shepherd pup because he had one! Imagine that, here I am living a mercenary like lifestyle out of my little apartment and I would want to take over the responsibilities of raising an Alsatian pup. I must admit though that I was a bit flattered by the offer. Without ever mentioning to this fella about my liking for dogs, he was offering me what must be a very precious asset to him as if he trusted me enough to take proper care of it. There are times like this, rare and fleeting, that make me consider that settling down in life and having some kind of a home base might have a point or two in its favour.