The yawners and their yawns, the back-slapping workers getting ready for a day of back-breaking work – every morning is a new rising.
The hot weather again seemed to have come back. I felt a hot waft of wind crashing against my cheek, the moment I stepped out of my house. The labourers were up and about, one man sitting on a cot, was looking around sleepily, yawning a yawn of satisfied sleep, rubbing his face vigorously with both hands. The man sitting next to him on the cot, infected by his yawn, himself gave vent to such a gigantic one that I was afraid that he would dislocate his jaw. But he did not. Come to think of it, I really don’t know what happened to his jaw, as I had walked on.
Leaving the yawners to their yawns, I moved forward to greet the unfolding of another dawn. Nothing had changed, the birds were all a-twitter, the polythene bags were still doing their weird dance that they relentlessly do under the ministrations of the early morning breeze and the labourers were merrily involved in their banter and back-slapping bonhomie.
The back could either be slapped or broken – so bracing themselves for the breaking of backs, they luxuriated a little in the affectionate slapping of backs, fortifying themselves for another long day of back- breaking labour.
But the puddles had dried up and the coots were no longer around. I would always wonder how they appeared immediately when the puddles appeared, and disappeared with the disappearance of the puddles. Not one coot was around, but the mama lapwing and her chick were skittering around – round and round the dried up puddle, probably hoping for its magical resurrection.
Dharmendra’s deserted shack was no longer deserted, but a family of loud-mouthed rustics seemed to have moved in. An old man sat on a string charpoy, pouring forth a series of reminiscences, peppered with funny tidbits, recollecting which, he himself burst into hearty chuckles. He craned his neck, listening to some sounds and then unlimbered himself and headed towards the road to see what the hullaballoo was all about. Being new entrants to the scene, they had absolutely no idea that this ruckus was the routine, not the exception.
So the old man stood transfixed at the periphery of the scene, while the bantering bonhomie among the laborers continued unabated. I turned back to look in the direction of the labourers and found that they were making fun of the skinny one whose wife had upturned a bucket of water on him just a couple of days back.
“Just now we almost believed you were dead, you were lying there so silently.”
“And then he suddenly snored – almost like a bull roaring!”
These words fell into my ears and a roar of laughter followed. I moved on from the scene, to another interesting scene just a few feet away where a group of men stood huddled under a tree, looking absolutely crestfallen.
“This is very bad.” One, who looked as if he would break into sobs any moment, mumbled.
“What?” queried another.
“The Rajasthan government has banned the use of gutka from 2 October 2019.” Everyone was shaking his head dolefully from side to side as though the end of the world was just round the corner.
Was that the reason that they were thrusting the gutka into their ravenous mouths with such frantic haste? Was it the reason that I seemed to meet everyone chomping on gutka?
So munch on, Crunch on
Take your nuncheon
breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon.
Robert Browning whispered in my ears, and I walked on.
With a rising inflection in each sentence, the grumblers ranted on, and the frisky clouds stopped in their feisty ramble to see what was afoot. Realising that this was nothing but an everyday occurrence, they lost all interest and dissolved into nothingness.
I had no interest in dissolving into nothingness, as yet, so I hastened home, mulling over the whims and fancies which keep the world going. But one thing was clear. Every morning is a rising, to face a new day, a new chapter. With yawn or without yawn, that is the question.
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