Summer was a noisy poem, full of sounds.
The dimwitted pigeons hiding in the shade of the neem,
yodeling away, nonchalantly looking down
at my toothless granny, who
like Oliver Twist was always asking for more-
more of water melons, musk melons
more of ice cream,
slurp – slurp – slurp
more of mangoes,
more of cold coffee; creamy and frothy.
More of soft drinks
plop – plop -fizz – fizz
merging with the drip- drop of water
from the perennially leaking tap in the sink.
“Don’t waste water!” papa’s reprimand
rising above the whirring of the cooler
meant to hit his pampered daughter.
Crunch and whirl, whirl and crunch!
The hand wielded ice-cream machine
labored away in those hot summer nights,
and granny just loved glugging
scoops and scoops of it down her parched throat.
What absolute bliss on hot days of May!
Oh how hard she tried to douse those raging
memories of the home she left behind in Kashmir,
wistfully recalling those flower-filled Mughal gardens,
those shikara rides,
the verdant green chinar leaves,
which, chameleon like, would change color,
with the approach of autumn.
The jacaranda, gulmohar and amaltas
lured her with their vibrant hues,
but those flowers of her homeland
continued to burn bright in her memory.
Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep,
slowly as the cooler hummed,
the birds in the tree chummed up to each other.
Ah, more sounds pounding our eardrums.
It was the feisty summer rain!
Dot- a –dot- a -dot,
tattooing the windowpanes with liquid emotions
flick a flack fleck
plop –plop- plop, hitting the roof
and then a song
its lyrical cadence drenching our young hearts.
Croak – croak – croak, the frogs choked on their croaks,
lightning crackled and thunder rumbled. We sneaked out.
As we entered the house furtively after our audacious escapade
our boots gave us away.
Squelch- squelch- squelch,
they squelched away our secrets.
There was a flood
of shouts about rules flouted.
An absolute rout!
Unfazed by our pouts
the flamboyant gulmohar trees outside
rustled up a song and dance, swaying in the breeze.
Where are now those songs of the trees?
Where the sparrow’s happy chirps?
Where those scoops of home-made ice-cream,
over which granny drooled and which miraculously
cooled her parched
Now, the heat persists, but alas
summer has ceased to be a noisy poem.
Dr Santosh Bakaya