It is 44 degrees Celsius here today. Some respite after yesterday’s storm and a spot of rain. We’ve gone up to 47 degrees this season, so we know what’s worse. I hear bird songs from inside my well-insulated, air-conditioned existence and crave to go out and look at these happy-sounding creatures. And take pictures of them for you, maybe. For them, there’s no sweat, no heatstroke, no dreading the time outside of air-conditioning. Though they make nests that sometimes break in storms, look for food and water (which is thankfully aplenty in this region even in summer, unlike the cosmopolitan cities, where birds are known to have died for the lack of water), and chirp in the heat, they largely seem happy. Almost smiling.
I am huge with expectation of the now long-awaited arrival. Our bundle of joy, as the cliche puts it. I see the kid as this tiny kitten I have as wallpaper on my desktop. Somehow, it and its mother seem very much like us, me and the expected baby. The wait is getting onerous, what with the heat and the unwieldy body and the frightening thoughts of pain and discomfort during the arrival. I am not the first expectant mother, and I won’t be the last. Many more have been through this agony before me, and yet, only my pain seems to be of any importance to me. How very selfish, wouldn’t you say?
I like telling you about where I am and how my life is in these last few days of pregnancy, hence these teeny updates. The reason for this poem, however, is something else.
Baba bhaiya, the one I wrote about a few days back, is gone. He, and those that he loved, are free of the trauma of his unrelenting invader and disease. As I write this, his son must be coming back from the cremation ground after having set light to his father’s pyre on his own birthday. Such are the vagaries of life. Bhaiya’s old parents, dessicated souls, must’ve gone from their home to his to see their dead son — for the second time in one year. The first time was a week back, when they were told of his condition. They were stoic, I am told. To go and meet your almost comatose son — all devastated with sickness and attempts of revival — must be an unmentionably withering feeling, though.
A cousin who’s posted there in a cantonment in the same city has been going often to the hospital since the larger family came to know. He was telling me a few days back about the terrible feeling of having to look at a man, who’s designed gliders and world-class aero-models, being unable to write and comprehend an alphabet. Vagaries of life? I do not know. But one cannot keep dwelling on these things. They are to be felt, withered over, and then planted a seed on. And then watered, until there’s a tree for the birds to sit on and nest in.
Those days we spent
In Future’s arms, happy.
Future’s here, promising
Misty lights in her eager boughs.
They won’t end, shifts from arm to arm.
But ‘haps the mist will drift off gently?
With a rustle of leaves here on my love tree.