The outside world was still soaked in tranquil darkness. Gnats hummed against the creaking blades of the fan in my room. Some couldn’t foray but some of them managed to evade the whiffs offered by the age-old fan only to be flailed by my hands aimlessly. I tossed and turned to slip back into the realm of never-ending comfort. Seconds later, the fan cajoled me and there it was – euphoria. An unconscious smile appeared from nowhere though I knew this mesmerizing snooze will be over once a peacock somewhere in the distant forest croons or when the milkman swiftly crosses the streets with the usual cacophonous jingle.
As I expected, the deep wakeless sleep was abruptly cut off. I tried to get my feet on the ground but a part of me was still floating in a dreamy stupor. By now, the morning was echoing with familiar intermittent noises. Scooters rattled on the roads carrying a grumbling rider and a wholesome meal in a Tiffin-carrier neatly strapped on the pillion. The honks of the zooming bus only added agony to early morning commuters. Prayer chants poured from every corner of the house. That along with the singing of the peacock, which stood out neatly among the merging sounds, evoked the living out of everyone. No matter what, every morning would be incomplete without prayer chants and the soft burning of the incense sticks that wandered till the heavens.
The smell of freshly brewed tea promptly began to waft into every room. And I pictured my mom standing by the stove with her wet hair bundled into a neat bun pouring tea into aluminium tumblers and saucers. My nose was teased enough and my tongue longed for the frothy touch of the masala tea. Shortly, Mom walked about hurriedly bringing in with her the tea and the emanating goodness of coconut and jasmine flavors that stemmed from her hair. The sips of tea still seemed incomplete. Ah yes, the balmy early morning breeze. On the balcony, the tea tasted better and every sip felt like eternal grace as the gentle wind brushed away the weariness. Outside, a mango tree tantalized a bunch of kids clothed in nothing but skimpy worn-out shorts. Their meagre jumps only allowed their fingers to graze the drooping branches. While a couple of monkeys nimbly plucked the ripe of the bunch before vanishing into the thicket on the other side. Brightly colored rice-powder designs dotted the entrance of almost all the houses on the street. A parade of school children lined the lanes of the road with faded colors of green, red and blue and the air was filled with their tattles. All this while, inside the kitchen, the rice batter was being greeted with a generous drop of butter. The aroma forced me inside.
The morning gave way to the lazy afternoon and soon came evening. The once mango-laden trees stood bare with few buds popping here and there. The children returned back home from school. Most of the children were unkempt, with their shirts hanging outside and their ties reaching new depths. The rice-powder patterns were slowly wearing away with ants taking a fair share into their homes. The cars and scooters lazily moved into their respective homes. The birds chirped till the sun became a dollop of yellowness between the sapphire sky and the plush green hills. The peacock crooned no more for it has found its mate.
The night showcased a myriad of happenings. People were adorned in their best especially the women who were clad in shimmering jewellery against iridescent silk sarees and the ever present string of jasmine that was clung to their hair. Most of the roads were blocked as every day a deity was honored with flowers, milk and the likes of it and drawn in a chariot on the streets. Traffic growled till the late hours. Shopkeepers flashed their goods till they got a lucrative bargain. Children scooted in and out of crowded areas pretending to bikes and cars.
The rodents began to scamper. Their scratchy noise heralded in the midnight hours. Owls sung to the midnight sky. The moon danced in and out of the isolated clouds. Household lights were turned off mindfully. Gates were bolted systematically and checked properly till an assurance that no robber would dare sneak in came over. Life almost diminished into the creeping darkness. The ever present gnats returned to complete their quest which was not very successful yesterday. The wobbling fan cradled me to sleep. I can’t wait for tomorrow.