We choose what to do on Wednesday! Naseeruddin Shah chose to ‘act’ like a ‘Common Man’ one fine ‘Wednesday’.
It was one of these Wednesdays almost half a century back China successfully first tested its Hydrogen bomb.
And there are many Wednesdays, we all choose to do something else! Piu Mahapatra rewinds to the hot April Wednesday when raining jamuns brought glee.
Even the hottest days of April ushered the morning sun with their coolest drafts. Wednesdays were for prayers!
The stout Eucalyptus trees prayed for Sujata, the tall, bony sculpture made by Ramkinkar Baij. She had stood there patiently for years and had seen the green saplings being planted fondly by Nandalal. With each passing year, they have caught up and grown taller than her.
They prayed for each other.
They prayed in harmony.
Pandemonium of parrots covered the trees that were orange with blooms. The shape of the flowers resembled the beaks of their flying friends. Honey was sucked from one and then to the next till their crimson beaks were covered with nectars and changed to saffron. They looked like an extension of the trees which fed them and on which they nest. I am sure they thanked each other on, and on the Wednesdays.
The ‘jamun’ were plump and velvety purple. They were the wild ones with seeds bigger than the flesh. They fell flat all around the base of the tree in a complete circle inviting the army of black ants to a picnic that never seemed to end. Young boys and girls sat under the tree, quietly trying to capture the tree on the white sheets spread on the thin portable plywood boards.
The tree became complex the more they tried to visualise it in parts. If the leaves were perfectly drawn, the branches became a riddle. And when that could somehow be solved, the tree lost its identity. The young boys with moustaches as thin and naïve as their age, looked at the girls with hope. The fragile sitting figures clad in yellow sarees rolled their plaits casually, completely lost in their own battle on figuring out the identity. The trees looked identical on their white sheets. The trees looked like any other tree. The wind swayed the branches and the juiciest fruits fell all over their works.
The touch of purple was probably what the sketches needed. The young boys and girls looked up startled to find the tree smiling back at them. Content, the boys and the girls would happily suck the fallen fruits with glee.
The tree blessed them and prayed for them. And they, hopefully all of them, counted their blessings quietly in a circle.
Prayers were said quietly every day.
So, on Wednesdays, when the morning breeze was still cool and dry, and we in our white ‘saree’ and they in their spotless ‘panjabi’ walked in a row towards the glass temple, we sang together.
We all sang the same song in harmony.
We prayed through our song as the yellow ‘Amaltaash’ flowers softly floated and blessed us as we walked towards the temple without the figure of God.
We sang the same song, every Wednesday, in free spirits, with abundant love, and shameless surrender!
(Artwork: Piu Mahapatra)
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