Sunday, May 27, 2012

a clan no more

    making a phone call home is always pleasurable. there is always news. and, in the times now it is almost instinctive to pick up the phone and call for anything, everything and, sometimes just to hear  'your voice.'

    a couple of days before i left home, there was a huge thunderstorm in the evening. trees uprooted blocked roads, branches fell on electric lines, leaving us without power for more than 28 hours. the strong gusts of wind pushed a white hen from the branches of the coffee tree, which is where the cock-a-doodle clan roosts at night.


    she was disoriented and ran into the kitchen, when the back door was opened. but, we were as surprised to run into her at dinner time as she clucked loudly and ran helter-skelter. she found an opening and ran outside into the night, now pitch black with no street lights. not even the haughty rooster could help her. and, his favourite wife, grump-a-cluck was, secretly, very glad indeed.


    later in the night, as i was getting ready to sleep in the farthest corner of the house, i could hear rustling leaves. i hoped it was the lost mrs cluck. but, by mid-morning the next day, her headless carcass was found by our domestic help on the stone fence not far from their roost. by this time, the high and mighty one and his harem had already fed and gone to the neighbours, as is the routine.


    so, one afternoon i called home and i was greeted with sad, emptying news. whatever it was that had eaten the hen on the night of the thunderstorm had struck another time. again, the poor headless hen was buried near the largest jackfruit tree. 

    a couple of mornings later, mr rooster looked lost. clucking nervously he paced about the courtyard. a search in and around the premises revealed that the last two hens had gone missing - no carcass, no feathers! a mystery in our midst, theft on our minds.


    there was foreboding enough, no one was surprised the rooster had wandered of. really, he needed gals and was free of his domesticity. so, he strutted on the road conscious of the admiring glances of people passing by, who were wondering which house he belonged to. by afternoon, he had been caught and killed by the watch dog of the Convent three houses away.

    the Mother (of the Convent) was very sorry indeed, but, really, what could she have done. amma was so horrified, and exhausted, that she has let the rickety coop be. maybe, after a few months, she will feel like revisiting the sounds of the hens, the warmth of a freshly laid egg, the call of the rooster who would never let us hear the last of it if the feed was not scattered on time. for now, the void is palpable across two states, the silence deafening, the loss tangible.

    trh - void

pictures taken in happier times.




Friday, May 25, 2012

    I looked around at the near empty stands. It is the end of the season. And, the rains have started, said my dad, the circus expert also specializing in weather. He moved in front, to our row, because the son insisted his grand dad sit him on his lap and fan him with newspapers that we had thoughtfully carried.

   This year, we reached my parents’ home in the last week of April, in time for dinner. And, before dessert of freshly plucked sweet mangoes was cut and served, dad was piping of how he was waiting for us to come to go to the circus. It had been their wish to take the grand kids along, gushed mom. Oh well.

    The announcements were made. We were prohibited from taking pictures. The show began. This teenaged boy with the sweetest of smiles started his acrobatic stunts. It was like he was made of silicone, of the baking dish variety. I gaped. Then, I clapped. The acrobat turned to me, his hands raised like gymnasts at the end of their act, his smile causing his eyes to twinkle.

    Silence. But, for the drone of the announcer, the background music being played live, the whirring of the giant pedestal fans, muffled traffic from outside. These were classy performance, from animals to clowns to cyclists, jugglers, trapeze artists and acrobats. There was an appalling lack of applause.

    Mom had argued, last night, that circus people were not making too much of money. It was up to us to encourage them and keep this tradition alive. So, we cheered, and clapped. Dad said, hear, hear, which embarrassed me like anything. It would have been magical had people also joined in to thundering claps of appreciation.
    My parents visit the circus every year it comes to town. It is childhood memories for them, happiness shared between them about the times then, years ago. The circus leaves in the last week of April, and we reach home for the annual summer holidays only in May, which means we never get to see it.

    Not that I was interested. The son is still in kindergarten, and the thought of carrying him, with all the diaper paraphernalia, little boxes of snacks etc was too much for this momma, who couldn’t wait to thrust both her kids into the hands of her parents and escape into oblivion.
the one picture i took. it was before the announcements 

    There were instances of loud applause, especially during this dance routine in the air on two flowing white curtains. Sure, they had seen the routine before in one of them dance reality shows on television. They also had the programmes nicely spaced, with animal and bird antics coming up at neat intervals keeping the kids entertained when they got bored by the stuff that grown-ups would enjoy.

    The last time I saw the circus was in the tenth standard with my two cousin brothers and my maternal grandfather. In those days, there were lions and tigers and ringmasters with whips. Not so anymore. Still, by God, I was happy I got to see the circus. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"if there were no schools to take the children away for most of the time, the insane asylums would be full of mothers." - Edgar W Howe




two more weeks for school to start. am dreading the tight schedules, the running for the school bus, preparing everything beforehand, to be ready, assignments... i agree to this quote only on weekends. as of now, i will just live each day langurously.

Friday, May 18, 2012

natural bounty

pomello peanut relish
coarsely crush warm, roasted peanuts
toss in pomellos, finely chopped coriander leaves,
green chillies and tamarind pulp

the flowers, sweet smelling, and so many


in my neck of the woods
the fruits

sitting on the 'fence friday'

in our backyard.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

sometimes, the interlude in our lives is real enough.
 a lifetime. 
saps you of the will, 
or, energy to step back into the life we lead. 
it takes time. 
and, at times cannot be shaken off, 
a little bit lingering in our memories, 
in our choices, our tastes,  
adding its own cadence 
to the rhythm that was.