.. the memory of loss...

Dusk is insidious - it gently eases the hot stifling day into darkness .

 In the small university town where I am headed , it is the most beautiful time of the day . The terrace of my house is a vantage point . I watch out for them each evening , from the distance  and then hear  the tinny tinkle of cowbells as the cows come closer  , raising clouds of red dust with their hooves - theirs  is a slow  steady rhythmic  tinkle , in keeping with their gait , followed by the hurried quick patter of tinkles as the goats follow and sometimes overtake the sturdy bovine crew .

If you go to the Laal Bandh down Shyambati way , in winter, you can see the migratory birds and as the sky grows darker  , they lift themselves up in a huge canopy, showering you with a patter of water drops as they shake their wings and fly towards the sanctuary to rest for the night .

The sky at dusk , Tota, is an amazing work of art , like the palette of a mad artist - swirls of  purple, violet,mauve shot through with crimson and pink and long streaks of faint gold . The last quavering calls of birds flying to their nests, the harsh cawing of a murder of crows as they hoot and catcall their way to their homes calling out to straysas they pass , to gather together as night falls - truly like a bunch of frantic ,young roistering men .

As I walk home , smoke curls up from the chulaas in the  Bihari settlement . Someone blows a conch shell and then suddenly the air is full of the sound of reverberating conch shells .

A bullock cart passes me and a melody rises from within ,from a flute being played by a Santhal boy perched on the rear of the cart . I stop and watch till they go round the bend of the road and the long drawn melody fades away .

It is close to dark now , the sky gathering close and the sliver of moon is faint  in the sky. I gather my sari around me and swing my cramped legs off the hard wooden seat .The memory of the long drawn quaver of the flute merges into the long whistle of the train engine as we hurtle over the bridge towards my station .

Come Tota , I say , we are nearly home....


dipali said...

So evocative!

sukanya bora said...

Missed your writing-glad you are back and how!! This was so lovely-especially the imagery you created with your words.

Poorna Banerjee said...

ki nostalgic ekta byapar holo, bujhle!

Thinking Cramps said...


Anonymous said...


Can I please get your email address. This is regarding the blog collaboration.

Thank you,

Hip Grandma said...

WOW! there is poetry in your words.Wish it could rub off on me. I could visualize the scene described by you. Wonderful Mallika! Keep them coming.

Unknown said...

nostalgia .

hillgrandmom said...

Ah so evocative.......Beautiful!

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Anonymous said...

Still feel the same. I can smell the smoke and hear the flute.