Two adorable toddlers play near their roadside shack as their mother cooks lunch on a makeshift chulha – each life has its own way of finding joy.
Morning Meanderings is a musings column by Dr Santosh Bakaya. Enjoy her jottings with a hot cup of tea. 🙂
It was only 5. 30 am, but waves of heat seemed to engulf me from all sides. Yesterday’s temperature was 43 degree Celsius, the newspapers said. It must be hotter today, I thought, as I took a few cautious steps on the road, which was covered with pieces of broken
tiles, wood shavings and tiny mounds of sand and concrete on which the mongrels lounged with the air of kings perched on their precious thrones.
Another high rise building was coming up right in front of our house, and small temporary shacks had also been built to house the labourers, most of them from Jharkhand. There was a new family today.
I was absolutely riveted by the couple of toddlers playing next to their mother who had already started preparing lunch. I stopped near them. In fact, one of the purposes of my morning walk has always been to pick these moments of pure joy, tinged with the gold of the rising sun, ordinary moments which later insinuate themselves into my ramblings or mad meanderings.
“What are you making?” I stopped near the woman who had lit the fire and put the pan on the fire.
“Masoor ki daal.”
“And aloo, baingan,” she added with a smile.
“Someday I am going to have lunch with you,” I said, finding the ginger-garlic smell tantalizing.
Fascinated by the antics of the toddlers, I smiled at them, and they looked curiously at me. The elder one was a girl, not more than two years old, and the younger one a boy, less than one. The boy tried to snatch the bowl from the girl, and in the process, the liquid in the bowl fell to the ground.
And the mother started yelling at them.
“They are kids, why are you shouting at them?”
“Yeh harami hai”.
Shocked, I whirled in the direction of this new voice, to find a man who had just emerged from the shack, sleepy-eyed, and now stood with a smile on his face, looking lovingly at his kids, his expression belying the expletive he had just uttered.
I walked on, my mind in turmoil, if only I could scoop them in my arms, put them under a shower, make them put on clean clothes, feed them good and proper – if only I could do that every day… If only…
There is a meadow a little further away, many a time I had noticed a trio of ‘neel gai’ grazing there. Today, the group was right on the middle of the road, looking around quizzically.
On seeing a funny sort of a character, they stopped in their tracks, craned their necks in my direction, did not like what they saw, and walked on towards greener pastures. For who would like to give a second look to a morning walker, who still had sleep kinks in her eyes, and was walking as though in a trance.
I have been told that if someone ignores you, you should also ignore them, so with a toss of my head, I banished them from my mind. But those two toddlers did not leave my mind. What fate awaited them in this wicked world?
The girl and the boy fighting over a bowl of milk-less tea, slurping it away as if it was a delicacy – I felt a lump in my throat and suddenly things appeared hazy around. Something was wrong with my eyes. Watery eye syndrome, I am sure.
Pic courtesy: Santosh Bakaya
More to read in Morning Meanderings
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