Nov 29, 2023
Nov 29, 2023
First published in the FB group Aspiring Writers Society
Like a video clip, this village evening between the hours of four and seven, keeps playing in my mind. Time and space unburdened by external constraints, knit calm and happiness into the fabric of life.
The sun mellows on its downward journey; young women smiling bashfully sashay past, their colourful skirts and hips swish sensuously, as they balance water pots on their heads; enhancing their graceful gait, glass bangles and silver anklets tinkle in harmony; weary labourers shuffle home after collecting their paltry wages, their talk interspersed by a barbet’s metronome; buffaloes encrusted with mud and scum from the pond are soon followed by the jangle of cow bells at gaudhuli* hour, a dusty halo against the low sun in their wake. The mixed smell of dung and dust assails the nostrils.
All the hullabaloo and movement cease with the setting sun.
And then the accordion-pleated carpet of night unfolds its magic — kerosene lamps cast long shadows in both mud huts and brick houses; a distant hum of tree crickets softly strums the air and a stunning milky way flaunts its brilliance above. Occasionally stray dogs bark, are shooed away and then the night becomes still. Only the banyan tree seems to whisper, “come here, I have many a tale to tell you...scary, scandalous, eerie and noble deeds”. Its knotted roots appear like ghosts swinging from the branches.
The blips of the microwave jolt me back to city life. As I settle down with a cup of coffee, I recognize I had not really cherished those moments, not really lived or appreciated them. I just let them sink into my subconscious from where they keep coming up to make me realise my folly. Then, I only cribbed about the dust, flies, lack of amenities and the dullness of village life.
I have understood that true joy lies in living each moment in the now; in discovering the beauty or truth it presents and living it to the fullest. What has passed us by does not return except in memory. The joy of reliving it gets minimised because we didn’t realise its importance then. Sadly, things often look rosy only in retrospect.
*gau =cow and dhuli = dust, so it literally means ‘cow-dust’ hour.