Friday, 30 October 2015

Stories The Elements Tell

       Ravan has long been reduced to ashes with fanfare and fireworks. The fair grounds carry the silent echoes of a rejoicing people.  The Durga Puja pandals have come down revealing a deserted ground bearing the countless footprints of thronging crowds. The skeletal framework that upheld the festivity, stands stark and reluctantly dismantled.


But the beaten grass once again raise their heads and share stories with each other.

How they danced! Did you see the Dhunuchi in the evenings? I could swear Ma herself twitched her toes and tapped her fingers on the trident! I almost forgot to lie low and got up to jig with them...


Hmph, I saw you flattened out again, cried its sibling peeping out from behind mother's broad back. The women were the best lot. Attired so gracefully in their Balucharis and Dhakais, elegance merged with  the dhaak's rhythm, whispered a blade from the adjacent tuft.

But you have to grant it to the dhaakiyas. It was their prayers pulsating through their drums, that brought together so many dancing toes, observed a grave yellowing blade who had seen it all.

The wind caught the whispers and swooped down to join in.

Loitering around the streets admiring those bright coloured swords, bows and arrows, I was unceremoniously being pushed about by the crowds rushing from one place to another, squeezing the life out of me. Gathering together of whatever air was left, I thought of resting a bit in one of those quiet homes. Was I glad I did!

The blades of grass swayed and turned to listen to this new story from the wind.


There was this tiered stand with clay toys neatly displayed. Each one proudly taking its place. The dashavatars, the ashtalakshmis, the kalash, and other Gods and Goddesses, on the top rungs while the mortals with their worldly attachments  were  on the last.

You mean the Golu...


Yes, and it was a first for that young couple. A family steeped in  music  with ancestors playing the veena for the Gods in the Srirangam temple... It was  transcendental when the family came together in the evening. The resting veena and the flute in front of the golu sprang to life. Such divine music!

The cloud floating by, hovered over all. And I have seen something too. Up in some of those apartments, a  small earthen lamp glowing under a newly planted tulsi sending up little prayers. When I looked into the distant horizon from where the sun heralds a new day, a farmer was out in his fields at dusk lighting an earthen lamp under another tulsi and a lantern in the fields.

Yes,yes! Rustled the grass and the wind, it was for the Kati Bihu that comes in quietly and the  farmers pray to protect their crops just when the grains had started ripening.


Oh! That must be it then! said the cloud with  realization dawning and went on to add... On Dusshehra, quite a throng had gathered outside this temple. Rolls and rolls of  bright flower garlands sat piled up while the nadaswaram and thavil rose to a crescendo inside. Silk saris rustled paying obeisance  and the jasmine strings on the oiled braids spread an overpowering fragrance. On the pavement was an old man, a smile lighting up his furrowed face, selling some of the most delicious murukkus that were fast vanishing from his stuffed brown cloth bags.


The moon had crept up quietly from behind and thrown its gossamer veil all around.
 Four days after that when I had floated out in my full splendour... you know how it is on certain days when you get carried away with all that joy around... Many people were waiting to usher in  Lakshmi. I shone down brightly, so she wouldn't lose her way in all that maze down there.

 Aren't you tired from all these festivities that keep dragging you to the center? Chimed the little star that had moved afar so others could see it. It wasn't exactly  exhilarating to be lost in the moonshine and trying to assert its existence.

I am, smiled the moon indulgently. So when I take my break in a few days, you can enjoy the show of stars showering from the ground. A million lights will brighten up the place and some of those will try to emulate you and attempt to reach you.

Yeah right, bristled the trees. The next day, those of us in the concrete jungles, will be choking in layers of smoke and gasping. Just like that strangulated river, reduced to being a zombie. More dead than alive. The dew drops were weeping down my leaves the other day, telling the cruel stories of places where they came from.

Everyone was quiet. The wind dropped lower, and ruffled the grass and the leaves. Don't worry. The sun will fight valiantly and shine down on us. Till then we will wait bravely....they nodded wistfully.


Your words keep me going :)