It was thought that the gods blew on creative people, who would then inhale the god's breath and have an idea. This is the premise of "inspiration": inhaling divine breath and ideas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bearer of news....

Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.
But I invite everyone to check back often to read and  comment on other contributions. This is, after all, a community for writers who clamor for feedback.
This week's words: 
Carnage; noun: The killing of a large number of people.

Jerk; noun: A quick, sharp sudden movement; a spasmodic muscle twitch; a contemptibly obnoxious person; verb: Move or cause to move with a jerk

Puncture; noun: A small hole in something, a tire or skin, made by a sharp object; verb: Make a puncture in (something); cause a sudden collapse of (mood or feeling).

The mid day sun shone brightly in the vast blue sky. Their skin appeared thickened and coarse, sparse garments covered their torso above knees. Feet appeared planted in the fertile black soil. They moved rhythmically planting and removing saplings. It seemed to me like all this was a dance. I cycled along the narrow mud path which separated two huge paddy fields. I was listening to the women singing and birds chirping. It all appeared so much orchestrated. It looked like a green carpet, the paddy field. Here and there I saw handmade cradles made of worn out sarees carefully tied to strong branches. It was a beautiful sight. Sweat dripped along my forehead constantly and it was difficult to wipe them, so I let it drop to the ground as if to kiss the bare earth. It was my first day here so I began to observe my surroundings very keenly. I cursed the heat but continued my journey along these fields towards an unknown destination.
I halted my bicycle in a sudden jerk (not used to muddy roads) under a banyan tree and walked with my bundle of letters towards the fields. A postcard was addressed to Chennamma who worked in the fields of Doddegowdru. Among the sea of bent heads, looking for Chennamma seemed a task. I went to a person who seemed to be the supervisor, a typical guy actually! Huge belly, dark skinned, a mole near the left lower orbital floor. I asked for Chennamma, he shouted her name loudly and a couple of heads rose up with curious eyes. From the dress I wore, they understood I was the bearer of news. All the six Chennammas, came running towards the supervisor but their eyes fixed upon me. The supervisor seemed confused and asked me ‘Which one?’ I looked at the address again, Chennamma, wife of Kitchappa’. I repeated her husband’s name and only woman began to blush. Even under the burning sun her expressions were so crystal clear, the very name of her husband filled her heart with so much delight. She rose her hand slightly and with bent eyes began drawing circles with her feet. The rest of the Chennammas began to leave silently and the supervisor led us to the shade of the banyan tree.
She was my first ‘client’ in Kudlooru. The shade of the banyan tree seemed like a pleasant change to the scorching sun. Both of us squatted on the grass which surprisingly was cool. She asked me to read the letter. I straightened my spectacles and took a closer look at the post card.  I restricted myself not only as a bearer of news but also as a counselor since many of my clients were both illiterate and naive. A few literate ones also consulted me in their affairs since they thought I had worldly wisdom. Villagers believe that travelers like me earn wisdom everywhere we go, the world being our school and life being our teacher. She asked me anxiously about the events described in the letter and I read them aloud but slowly making sure she is able to understand every word I speak. Every district had a slang, a different accent and usage of the same language.
Kitchappa described his life in simple words, health was good and work seemed fine. The city looked big with buildings and full of vehicles. He enquired about the health of his parents and reminded his wife in sweet words that his parents were old and might seem crude but they loved her a lot. He enquired about the children’s health and studies. His last few lines were about how his new city job could help clear loans. Chenamma wiped a tear from the corner of her eye and took the post card from my hand. She thanked me and began her enquiries ‘How is the city? I have seen in the television. Women are very pretty there, isn’t it? I hear they don’t take care of their own children and parents. Must be spending time doing all those colorful things to their faces and hair…’ This woman spoke so comfortably as though she knew me from ages. Yes I seemed to have earned her trust, this will help me later. I nodded as in a reply and said ‘They have to work too, like you people!’ She looked at me in complete shock, ‘Like me! You mean under the burning sun, on all fours and some mean men shouting at you all the while?’ She took a break and sighed and then carried on ‘I watch tv serials, either they are sitting on chairs watching a small tv or they are gossiping about the family all the while.’ I thought it was better to stay quiet. Women! Her supervisor called on ‘So, the whole afternoon you want to spend with that wretched postcard?’ Chenamma cursed the fellow and got up and went along leaving me and my bicycle alone. I turned back to look yet again at the sea of bent heads. Wrapped by hands of mother earth, they all looked like. I stopped for a second to enjoy once again this sight of selfless love. And do they even know that they are being held safely by mother earth’s hands? I prayed to the great mother whose omnipresence can be felt in these green fields.
I rode through the muddy path crossing the green fields into the temple street. Our culture so rich, so many gods at every turn of a street there is a Ganesha idol, decorated with fragrant flowers. The remover of obstacles. I got off my bicycle as I passed through the idol and removed my chappals. I folded my hands with great reverence and said a quick prayer. The next letter had to be delivered to the Temple priest of Sitaram temple. I had heard a lot of this temple and was eager to visit it. The opportunity presented itself today and my heart leapt with great joy. A white envelope from Chennai with an elaborate address, all in capitals was addressed to the temple priest. I dropped the envelope at the temple office and entered into the temple to have a good darshan. My mind seemed so peaceful after an encounter with Chennamma that now I was here to absorb holiness. The Sita Ram darshan was a feast to the eyes. I was lost in a different world for what seemed timeless.
My eyes opened and I was reminded by the bundle of letters that there was more work to do. I took the Lord’s blessings and was on my way back to the bicycle. The temple priest sat at the edge of steps with head bent low. He seemed to be disappointed and lost. An inner voice urged me to talk to him. The priest seemed to be around sixty years old and his eyes beamed with devotion. Respect rose from the bottom of my heart and I began to spoke him ‘Sir, are you in some deep trouble?’ He seemed shaken and lifted his eyes to look at me. In his right hand tightly folded was the letter I had given. He wiped his tears and cleared his throat and began to speak. 'This letter is from my son who passed away a month ago in a terrorist carnage....' He broke into tears again. Just listening to him punctured my heart. I placed my hands on his elderly shoulders and looked into the vast sky. Blue. Huge. without an end, without a beginning... I prayed the almighty to give him the strength to overcome his tragedy. Words at that time seemed meaningless...With the bundle of letters I walked back to my halted bicycle...          

  to be continued...


  1. there's a quiet rhythm that works its way into the way you narrate. i like. :)

  2. Only a dentist can describe the position of a mole like you have. :) Nice story.