…a cake, a cucmber, a cashewnut cream sundae or any kind of edible substance which has a chance of being consumed in parts seems to show ferromagnetic repulsion to any kind of human touch (contact is a broad word…covers five senses). Other senses, however, become all the more strong. Ears start hearing cries from that slice, begging to be eaten, regardless of the number of ears and their position vector, taking location of eatable as origin.
So why do we not eat that perfectly palatable piece of pastry (nice alliteration, eh?) or any other food when all of its ‘friends and family’ are being digested? Are we scared that it might seek vengence, after what we did to its kin? Or is that we wish to display some kind of charade about our ‘manners’ or ‘consideration’ or ‘courtesy’ toward society?
In any case, that piece of cucumber is still untouched. Lying lonely in that salad bowl, thinking, “What did I ever do? Do I deserve be disowned by these hungry humans, who feast on all kinds of rich and tasty food and put it out of its misery, and then leave me to the scavengers roaming about the thrash can?” Its cries fall on deaf ears (idiom – which means – heard but ignored) though, yes the numerous, randomly oriented ears which heard its cries initially.
Poor thing. I can’t take it anymore. I’ll put and end to all of its suffering right now. “Does anyone want to eat that slice of cake? Or may I have it?” I was asked where my ‘manners’ and ‘consideration’ and ‘courtesy’ were.
Six in the morning, there is a deafening silence in the vicinity of my five year old residence. Why should it not be so one might ask. Considering even the city that never sleeps sleeps for a healthy six hours, silence is the only noise that the pleasant pre-sunrise pressure variations carry. However (we utterly dislike this word, don’t we?), such is not the case on scattered patches of land over the suburbs. The silence is indeed surprising. I feel like I’m out of Mumbai in some kind of an agrarian ‘gaon’. But then I get that sweet smell of fresh dung, religiously carried by that same cool breeze. I realise the ‘doodhwaalas’ are out on their daily distribution rounds. I am still here. Phew.
I wake up at eleven in the morning. My ‘vacations’ are on. I hear an aluminium can bang on the floor. It was already time for that afternoon session of milking. One by one. Can by can. “Aye! Ghaas ki gatharia laavo. Eka thoda bhar ke devo.” This was what a friend interpreted a few days back. I don’t know too many languages. All I understand is, “Chal!” I couldn’t stick around to watch that (did I tell you he was alone?) particular doodhwaala go around milking more than two hundred ‘gau-mata’s.
Scratched myself. Brushed my teeth and had my daily dose of cold coffee. Peeped out again. It was time for a bath. NO, not me. The buffaloes (‘gau’ refers to cows – still the doodhwaale call them gau-mata) were being driven – rather – escorted to a huge well. Can’t see the well. Don’t know what happens there, but somehow the buffaloes appear a darker shade of grey instead of the usual dual theme of light grey and chrome. Meanwhile, whatever is happening in the ‘tabela’, there is this one person sweeping all of the organic fertilizers toward a set of parallel gutters that run accross the floor of the tabela. Reason? Ask him. His name is Hariya.
Nature couldn’t resist the temptation to test Hariya’s patience. Down came drops of respite (fairly large drops with a very high frequency). Of course, I am clean now. I had a bath. But so did the buffaloes. Do they enjoy the rains? I think so. They have a custom made retractable sun roof on their shed. Some even prefer to stay away from the shade. They love to just surrender to the elements. ‘Enjoying’ the two hour pour, they show no worries of disease, neither animals nor man (the disease pertains to animals exclusively).
Nature is humane. Rains stop. Doodhwaalas follow Nature’s humanity. Every animal (‘beast’ is inappropriate, buffaloes are as gentle as pollen) is served a bunch of hay. Deserts of fresh green grass follow. I had ice-cream – thanks mom !
Everyday is cleanliness day under Hariya’s regime. The animals laze around after their heavy snack. Patiently tolerate Hariya. Try to disturb the neighborhood by loud grunts. Don’t worry, we love them. We will not send them to Goregaon or Vasai. We don’t want roads or houses. We need milk.
Evening milking session. They are co-operative as ever. Is that smell that of tadka on dal? Dinner time. And I go to sleep.
P.S.: If u speak or read buffalo, drop me a line.
“Then which song can you play?” After playing a couple of 4/4’s (8 notes, for the musically deprived), he looks up to his classmate. Pretends to think and says, “I can play Sweet Home Alabama.” “Whose song is that?”, he is asked. Pretending, again, to be surprised, throws back the same question prefixing a “You dont know…”
Suddenly he is a rockstar in those new surroundings. Everyone looks up to him as a role model. Most people have genuine respect for him. They want to learn to play guitar more than anything in this world.
What is completely ignored is that he still does not know the chords for a popular song. He does not even try to come up with some familiar bunch of notes. Musically deficient? Not at all. He knows it too.
He thinks he wants to learn. He thinks he can be great in a year. He thinks he practises well enough. He exists in a well. Others exist below his dwelling in that very well.
Months of playing intros and famous riffs…he is an instant God of sorts…an inspiration to everyone…who want him to teach them. But he isnt half as good – rather not good at all. Not because he is non-intelligent or unskilled. He simply isn’t hungry enough. He is good according to everyone. But everone sees the shiny surface of an empty barrel. It makes noise too. What’s in it? Emptyness. Deep, you say? Ironically, shallow.
He excused himself from greatness. He chose anonymity in popularity.He can play fourteen scales. He still dosen’t know the chords.