Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Assembly

     Shashtri looked out and spotted Durga Devi looking celestial and jubilant in a purple and red silk sari. Her knee length hair was neatly decorated with orange chrysanthemums. Her bindi resembled the setting sun. A very masculine Sreenivas stood next to her. His physique could frighten any being in the vicinity. Then there was the very prosperous Madhanlal who wore gold and diamond rings on all his ten fingers.  
    
     Badri in his usual white dhoti kurta and his wife Roopa in a simple silk cotton orange sari with gold border, were there too. They looked disheveled by the 112 km drive they had. undertaken. Natrajan and his friend Vikram in their starched and ironed white shirts with khaki pants were restless for they were already late for school.
 
     Roopa’s desperate eyes fell on Jeevatha in her little pink polka frock, dancing, singing and playing hide and seek between Padma’s sari pleats. The little angel looked at her mother who seemed to be in a trance. She was thirsty but knew this was not the right time to disturb her mother. Bhima was there too, holding on to his car keys as if he was holding his baby’s tiny fingers

     Durga Devi a kuchipudi dancer received a letter confirming her participation in the prestigious Khajuraho Dance festival scheduled the next month in Madhya Pradesh. She is happy she will dance along with the best dancers in the country. For Sreenivas this was a part of his routine. He wakes up before the sun, takes a dip in the chilly fast-reducing lake, does his yoga, and comes here before heading back home where his ten egg whites and two glasses of goat’s milk wait to be consumed. His 5-year-old body building school produces the strongest men and women in the 18 panchayats around his village.

     Madhanlal is always after money. This time the poor farmer Velu suffered the parasite’s pangs. He thought he could repay the debt during harvest but the monsoons had a different plan. Madhanlal held the documents of Velu’s little piece of land in his hand. This is his last stop before heading towards the registrar’s office. Badri and Roopa were married for 2 years now. They were titled the perfect couple for the first year, after which the inquisitive neighbors found a reason to defy the title and wagged their corrupt tongues. They spent a lot of time arguing over whose fault it was that they remained childless. The couple had reached a stage of doing anything to keep those tongues at rest. 

     Nataraj spent time with his books everyday. Vikram thought about his books only when the exam dates were announced. These opposites were the best of friends. Nataraj and Vikram spent the whole night at the formers house preparing. Maths is tricky. Girija teacher loves to pick problems from some foreign-authored book. Jeevitha was wondering why her mother was taking so long. She had to go back and play with Bommakutty. She loved to braid Boma’s hair. Her precious Boma has been a source of envy and she cannot stay away from her for so long. She planned to ask her mother to buy her a kulfi stick and some hair clips on her way home. Padma wondered where her life was heading. She was confused. After her husband lost his job at the mill, his bad company has caused so much of trauma. Today she wanted support and answers to all her problems. After all, she has a little girl.                

     The vehicle reflected its fluorescence and so did Bhima. Being a proud owner of a Green Ford Figo isn’t a joke. The commission for processing the foreign loan had taken more time than he expected which kept him away from owning his dream. However, all’s well that ends well. Just when he got his driving license from D-Man’s driving school, he received the long pending amount. There wasn’t a moment to loose. The man had to have his machine. The moment he took possession of the asset, he knew he had to be here. 

     Shashtri came out and acknowledged the crowd. His silver plate had a few strands of Malli, a handful of vibhuthi, a few coins and a lit mud lamp filled with gingelly oil and traces of ghee. Adorned in sandalwood paste and shimmering attire the one-tusked Elephant God Ganesha smiled at his heterogeneous devotees filled with homogeneous devotion, from his 207-year-old abode.Then there was peace.

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