The other day, Mom and I were listening to some songs and I heard one about a Country Mouse and a City Mouse. It was a fun song about how the Country Mouse likes to eat oats and beans, while the city mouse likes to eat cake and cheese.
I was reminded of the song when I went in to Downtown Toronto last weekend to meet my friend, Piya. Living in the quiet suburbs, I felt like a country mouse. Piya, who lives in the excitement and buzz of downtown, seemed to me like the city mouse.
Last year, when Piya visited my house, we had a blast playing in my backyard. This weekend, I was on her turf. I loved her little apartment, from the window of which you could see the CN Tower! After a snack and some play time with her toys, she took me out for a tour of her world.
We walked through Kensington Market, the country mouse on his stroller while Piya, the city girl, led the way on her two feet. It was a good day- not very cold and sunshine brightening things up. She showed us her day care in the neighbourhood and told us how she could just walk to it from her apartment. After a while we came to China Town and Piya and her mom suggested we stop for dumplings.
I was startled when we walked into the famous restaurant and saw the tables packed together like sardines in a tin. Our strollers had to be folded and stowed away in a corner, while we all stacked on to a table. The food was delicious and I followed Piya’s lead in fishing out shrimps from our dumplings.
An hour later, I found myself on a little train (streetcar?) that ran on tracks right on the road, with cars driving along side! What a novelty- we don’t have anything like that in the suburbs. I loved watching the high buildings fly past and was again surprised when we came to the lake.
I thought the lake was something we had out in the suburbs, so imagine my surprise when I found a huge lake right in Downtown Toronto! My mom explained that this was Lake Ontario, the same lake that is near our place. What’s more, the CN Tower was still visible from the lake! Piya, of course, didn’t quite care about the tower. I guess she sees it every day and it is no big deal for her.
After all the differences in Piya’s and my life, the one thing that brought us together was our love for the lake! We frolicked near it while our moms sipped their coffees and ran after us. We saw huge sea gulls flapping near people, trying to get a few bites of left-over burgers. We saw tiny and huge dogs, walking their owners along the lake. We also saw fancy boats, tied at the edge of the lake, waiting to leave on adventures unknown.
After a long day together, Piya and I were thoroughly tired. We were both nodding off in the street car as we headed back home. It had grown dark by then, but I couldn’t miss the bright lights shining on the CN Tower. Back at her home, I really hoped we were going to sleep-over. But Mom and Dad insisted we had to get back home. I slept off on my way back, but not before I thought about Piya’s life in the city and how cool it is!
Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.