Afternoons downstairs are way bearable, breathable than it is in the rest of the house. I am sitting in the hallway, stiff, staring at the mirror hung above the wash basin across the corridor, my legs spread apart, waiting for being called on for any help whatsoever in the kitchen. Joe tries to pull me to the courtyard by its friendlier looks, but I am too tired to buy that. “Joe, go away”. It doesn’t. Our tiny Tia tries to hang kitchen towels in the courtyard. She jumps hard, fails twice. “Abar!” (“again”) I shout. One last leap- Tia stands taller now.
Rugs are rolled out for the rest of all. D feels between her fingers the bright lime green handknit fabric that one of our cousins had parceled for Mashi (maternal aunt). Joes tugs it off the place. “Joe?”
Joe sits by Tin’s seat after sniffing antagonism here.
I can see no one is calling me yet. Great! Some self-dependent people.
Tia and Madhu emerge from the kitchen with rice mechanically, with a fixed expression on their faces. They are transfixed to their assigned job. Didu (maternal grandmother) totters from the kitchen and sits firmly on the bench facing against the courtyard. The frayed out leaves of the huge eucalyptus at the corner look like green arms with prominent fingers calling me out to the courtyard. Under the bluish gray sky, beside sipping cool home-made lemon juice dashed with mint leaves, stealing pickled green mangoes from the kitchen-store, the summer-pleasure that sitting at the centre of the courtyard gives is just incomparable.
The towels fly frantically now. The string swings madly. Bougainvilleas fly away from the bush-frame, lying in carpet of pink and yellow..
I’m typing on my phone wildly. A sudden outburst of laughter shakes me: R’s same old debate begins to contradict him like a boomerang. Losing on what it used to be earlier, with a bearing of an intellectual element, it has begun to amuse only children now. Mashi-Didu-ma – the girl-gang enjoys its meal more now when the air feels less cloistered, when it starts to get thinner and comfortable, when drizzles have just begun to spray in into the hallway. The daughters seem to steal back to their older times in Didu‘s time machine.
Palbable memories. 🙂
The sky grows darker, trying to prove the hour wrong.
The best thing about the summer vacations at Mashi‘s place is the rain. And its closeness to the soil. Its closeness to me.
“Let’s go outside Joe?”