The Street

streetlife

The dawn rose and my eyes adjusted to the view, from bokeh to bright, as the sun sprinkled a golden filter across the street. Who were these people, so immersed in their preoccupations, chasing life, their hopes and anxieties all closed to me?
Do they have a special pocket in their briefcases, one in which they ensconce their dreams? Do they ever think about home, or are they happy to get by just like me, meeting new people, gleaning stories?
Who live in the thatched cottages on the mountaintop? Do they savour the sunrise and sunset as much as the tourists? Do they ever look out their windows and watch me on this bench where I sleep?
Who is the owner of the antique trinket shop? Does he know who carved the wooden camel so painstakingly?
What is the tale of this bustling anecdotal street?

I started from home with little more than an intrepid spirit and a guitar. Today, I have a bag full of memories; they can’t be distilled into a single photograph or diary entry. 

Between Daybreak and Sunset

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No day passed when she wouldn’t be

In the field, working

Without a care for a morning tea

Tilling and tending and reaping

Her hands moving with mastery.

 

Of eating and laughing with him, hummed she

Thinking of the pink aurora tapping

On the window for her to see

Rays flickering and soothing

Before they grew harsh quickly.

 

Dappled sunlight under the tree

Sitting across the patch, silencing

Occasionally her drudgery.

The tree was old, and it was green, holding

The promise of a reverie.

 

And so at dusk,

She knew not distress but she did know glee

When the sky was painted a blazing sea.

 

This piece is inspired by a trip to Kausani that I took last year, and dedicated to Mamta didi and her husband. Image is courtesy of unsplash.com

The Horegallu

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Photo courtesy of flickr.com

 The blisters on his hands were beginning to smart; his appearance bedraggled from the day’s hard labour. It was getting harder to continue by the minute. Then he saw it. A canopied Horegallu in the middle of the road, an earthen pot kept beside it. He hoped that a kind soul would have filled it with water, for he had waited long enough to slake his thirst. He sat down, glad that the pot wasn’t empty. The water was like a balm for his parched lips and a panacea for his sore throat. He exchanged hackneyed concerns about the weather with a fellow sojourner. The sun glistened the trail with a golden filter.  The same sun had been pouring fire a while ago.  He was going to embark upon the same path, with renewed strength and hope. He had decided to halt before the last straw could break the proverbial camel’s back. He was happy that he did.

A Horegallu is a stone-bench in villages, which tired travelers often use for resting. Inspired by an anecdote in the book The Old Man and His God by Sudha Murty.

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