Entertainment is all around us, in small measure and big dollops. Even a simple game of cards can turn into a wrestling match in no time.
Morning Meanderings is a musings column by Dr Santosh Bakaya. Enjoy her jottings with a hot cup of tea. 🙂
It had been raining for a couple of days, and the morning sky still looked pathetically perplexed, perched precariously on the thorns of a Hamletian dilemma. The woman in a vibrant ghagra choli outside her shack, ignited a fire, her husband gave a helping hand, exchanging small talk. Both looked apprehensively at the sky where grey clouds threatened to burst open any moment. Was it about to rain?
The man sitting on a string cot a few feet away from them gave vent to a yawn fit enough to dislocate his jaw and render him unfit. The couple exchanged amused looks, once again looking up at the sky, where the grey clouds had almost taken over the sky, shouldering away the white, candy floss clouds.
Rubbing his eyes, a tiny boy stumbled towards them, still groggy with sleep and hurled himself into his mother’s lap. The kiosk under the Neem tree – silent and heavily locked – looked like an enigma waiting to be unraveled.
The clouds rumbled and in a spurt of energy, the woman handing the child to his father, ran towards the clothesline, yanked away the clothes hanging there, and took them inside the house, while the child tottered after her, bawling to be picked up.
The bedraggled and tattered clouds huddled together only to be pierced by the glowing darts of dawn.
The world around me suddenly sprang to life, palpitating for sheer joy. In a sudden coup d’état, the sun had taken over.
I watched awe struck as yet another sunrise colored the world, ranging in hues from brilliant scarlet to saffron gold. Soon the mother came out with the child in her arms, and pointed towards the east where the gorgeous flaming disk had covered the sky in a flood tide of light. The child put a finger in his mouth and chortled in delight. His way of welcoming another sun filled morn.
Even the yawner sitting on the cot suddenly smiled, cocking his eye at the radiant face of the sky. The rain could wait.
And it waited, as a bony laborer ran across the road, clad only in a threadbare towel, and seeing me, stopped in his tracks, embarrassed. Figuring his discomfiture, I turned back, to find a sad looking cow, looking in my direction. A lone pigeon sat on the telephone wire, soaking in the warmth of the sun. I walked on, all my senses alert, feeling the sunrays playing with my disheveled hair, and looked around curiously at the scenes unfolding all around me, when some voices fell into my ears.
“This head of mine has nothing but trumps in it,” it was the yawner speaking in a loud voice, his yawns in abeyance. I turned back to find that a group of men had converged near the water pump, and the yawner was shuffling a pack of cards.
“I always have the winning hand and, you know, I have always been a crack shot. As a kid, I could hit a squirrel right in the eye, with my catapult.”
Just then a spunky squirrel crossing the road, stopped in its tracks, looking around warily, as if bracing itself for the impending catastrophe, and then scampered away into the bushes nearby.
A hatchet faced, hulk of a man, sporting a massive moustache, which he kept twirling every now and then, suddenly appeared on the scene, walked up to him, rolling his sleeves, and snatched the pack of cards from him.
“You card sharp! Let me shuffle the cards.”
The yawner sprang up from the cot, as though kicked awake. Drawing himself to his full height, he fixed him with an ominous stare.
“What did you just say, huh? You called me a cheat!”
“That I did – because you are one,” said the hulk.
For several seconds they stood facing each other, mouthing expletives. I don’t know why, Bob Dylan started singing in my ears.
‘Big Jim was no one’s fool , he owned the town’s only diamond mine
He made his usual entrance looking so dandy and fine .’
“You don’t know me and my power,” Big Jim, oops, I mean, the hulk rumbled, gritting his teeth with the arrogance of one owning all the diamond mines of the town. The yawner’s threatening words scurried back into his mouth, and he tried to scuttle away into the safety of his shack, but before he could do it, the hulk caught him by the scruff of his neck, and both stumbled on to the cot, arms and legs, all a tangled mess. The cot strings, already frayed, snapped under their double weight.
Hearing all the hullabaloo, some more labourers dashed out from their shacks, half-clad, ill-clad, stubbled and a tad troubled. Seeing the duo fighting, they prodded them on with some sort of a malevolent ingenuity, which soon tapered into cheerful applause.
Although, the scene promised still more entertainment, I had chores to attend to, so I hastened home.
I looked back to find the man with the moustache was pulling the yawner from the depths into which he had fallen, his lips drawn back in a savage grin, and his moustache twitching like beetle’s whiskers. The yawner’s face was suffused in hues of sheepishness, and the sun was smiling away indulgently at the poor man’s means of rich entertainment.
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