Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Paths, we walk upon

It was one humid month in Calicut, when the oncoming of the monsoon rains was eagerly awaited by everyone. Afternoons, after an heavy lunch were often unbearably hot, when most of the elders in the house stretched themselves on the floor, fans running at full speed. But my city bred mind, which spent a majority of it`s life within a flat in Chennai could not rest easy. After all there was no one to stop you from roaming around, perhaps the hope of discovering some age old treasure dug under the house or near some pond. It is in childhood, that we often bring out the Ulysses in all of us, the urge to see and conquer the world around could not subside easily.

And so I walked long and far, past the Bhagavathi Temple, stopped to look at the closed temple premises from outside, the swords clothed in red, the silent grass which too seemed to be resting, No breeze, no sound from the trees, everything taking a silent siesta, or remaining quiet, so that they did not incur the wrath of the goddess, by waking her up. My mind was now in a dilemma as to whether to proceed or not. I hadn`t ventured so far earlier ever before, To go beyond the temple, without a grown up accompanying me was like taking the first step into what surely was a big bad dark world out there. Then the brave me shouted to the child in me, "You are in the fifth standard now, Come On.." and so I took my first step beyond the temple steps. A great moment, a moment signifying the coming of age..!

The road was empty, no one seemed to be around, the trees just kept whispering around me. I had decided I would have to walk as long as it wont get too late and mother wouldn`t know. Each step was a victory, an accomplishment. And then I saw it the house, painted in white, flower pots kept before it. It looked beautiful, it was somehow reassuring to the little adventurer, the tired traveller in the desert who had just seen an oasis. I kept walking towards it, To just pluck one of those beautiful flowers, and come home and show my sister, proof of the brave journey, her big brother had just made. I was sure she would be envious.

And then it happened..!

There was a rustling sound, and I saw this big colourful bird, like a giant hen, atleast three times bigger than one, rushing furiously at me, making this thundering cackling sound. I dont remember much, only that I`ve never run so fast, in my life before. The P.T. teacher at school would have been proud of me. I ran and ran, fell down twice, bruised both my knees. Time seemed to be going on and on, but at last I reached home. It`s only then that I realized I hadn`t even looked behind even once.

My mother was drowsily standing at the doorsteps. She saw me, gave me a good glance and gave a sigh.
"You must have been upto something I guess. Come let`s get a bath, and have those new wounds plastered. Ammamma has prepared snacks for you"

I smiled and followed her. The secret remained a secret, my first ever encounter with a Turkey.

Today years afterwards, I did get the chance to walk that great path again. The house wasn`t there, no flower pots. In it`s place there was a brand new bungalow. But I still could remember that turkey`s nasty look. My heart skipped a beat.!

Truly strange are the paths, we walk upon...