Who decides whose bread it is? Perhaps that’s the inspiration behind the Hindi idiom – ‘Daane daane pe likha hai khaane waale ka naam’. 🙂
Enjoy Morning Meanderings Season 2 with your hot cuppa and cookies. ☕🍪😊
Once again a heavy fog had descended, and nothing could be seen, but I could hear disembodied chirps. Jaipur had the spectral air of an abandoned town. Should I dare to venture forth into the fog?
But wasn’t there a fog everywhere? We were breathing in a foggy world.
All the time plodding through a fog, not knowing what lay at the next corner. So, banishing all fears, and barricading myself against all apprehensions, I gingerly stepped into the foggy unknown.
Yes, it really was the unknown. I could only make out the silhouettes of trees and some pallid outlines of buildings and the peck-peck-peck of an invisible woodpecker.
Soon the sun decided to pierce the fog, drenching me in much-needed warmth. The sunrays splashed gold on the birds ensconced on twigs and branches, the spiders weaving webs, grasshoppers hopping around suddenly found themselves with gold littered wings, singing songs of hope. But the woodpecker stopped pecking and flew away, perhaps wrathful of the intrusive rays of the sun.
Nature tells me that hope is a song to be sung relentlessly, with a full-throated gusto. Otherwise, it tends to get lost. My buoyant heart could smell hope in the air – swishing, chirping in staccato bursts of joy. I hummed along.
I saw an old woman dexterously picking firewood, and lighting a small bonfire.
What a welcome sight it was! She saw me looking at the bonfire and beckoned me, with both hands.
“Haath senk lo, Madamji.” (Please warm your hands )
I pounced at this opportunity, so did a litter of pups materialising from behind the bushes.
It was such a heartwarming sight to see the tiny ones stealing some warmth from the bonfire. Soon a suited booted dog also emerged from the house nearby, and stood next to the pups.
“Oscar!” His owner shouted for him to come, but he refused to budge from the warmth of the bonfire and the warmth of his canine friends.
Then I witnessed a scene, which if anyone else would have narrated to me, I would have dismissed it to be a flight of the person’s fertile imagination.
“What are you doing? You were supposed to give the roti to a cow, not to a calf!”
A highly irate woman was shouting to her ten-year-old son, and she snatched the roti from the calf’s mouth.
“Kya ker rahey ho mummy? Roti kyon cheen rahey ho?” (What happened, mummy? What are you snatching the chapati?) The ten-year-old asked, bewildered.
“Arrey, it was to be given to a cow. Bachhra to maa ka doodh peeta hai, roti gaye ko deni thi. Ab aur banani padegi.” (The calf drinks the mother’s milk. The chapati was meant for the cow. Now I will have to make more.) All she had retrieved was a tiny morsel, the roti had disappeared into the calf’s mouth faster than the speed of light.
Then she glared at her son and huffed towards her house, while I walked away. To roughen the edges of his mother’s reprimand, the boy continued petting the calf.
With my mind’ s eye I saw the angry woman in her kitchen, now making rotis for the cow, grumbling away, her earlier efforts now lining the calf’s stomach. The boy and the calf were now fully drenched in the bright benevolence of the sun.
The fog had disappeared. Things appeared brighter. More promising too.
Ah, there she was! The woman heading towards the cow, tightly clutching a crisp roti in her hand.
“Moo,” the cow said, heading towards her and before the woman could offer it to her, the famished cow snatched the roti from the woman’s hand, and gobbled it up. Perhaps being a “vegetarian”, it stopped itself in time or it would have gobbled up the hand too in the haste of getting to the roti.
Her good deed of the day done, the relieved woman now looked brighter than the beaming sun, inspecting her hand just to make sure all the fingers were in place.
Watching all this unfold before my eyes, I was reminded of the title of Mani Kaul’s 1970 film, Uski Roti, now considered a classic of Indian new wave cinema. Or maybe in today’s world it should be Kiski Roti? (Whose Bread?) Who decides that? Perhaps that’s the inspiration behind the Hindi idiom – ‘Daane daane pe likha hai khaane waale ka naam’. 🙂
The cow once again mooed, this time in bovine gratitude, heading towards the second course of her meal – a discarded polythene bag.
I heard the ten-year-old shooing her away from temptation and saw him picking up the polythene bag and putting it in the dumpster.
Good boy! I gave him an invisible pat on his back and headed home munching on the food for thought just provided. It was as if he felt the pat. He smiled in my direction and waved. I waved too.
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