Sitting at my desk, the wind carries with it the humdrum of life outside.
The chaotic little shrieks of children playing just after school hours reminds me of my happy childhood where I played for long hours outside, till my mother came calling for dinner.
The incessant blaring horns signal a traffic jam somewhere in the lanes behind home, leading me to imagine the frustrated looks and words exchanged by those caught in its midst.
This week late at night, as I sat at my desk furiously working the laptop while the energy outside started to mellow down, the slow chirp of crickets filtered in through my window transporting me to another time.
I have always wondered what made their sounds grow louder and louder and then fall way low, before they began the ritual again? Often finding myself mimic their chorus or try and break their rhythm.
The chirp of crickets reminds me of late nights in the outdoors, camping under the stars, surrounded by darkness, with only their sound for company.
But what it reminds me of the most is this tree that lay on the road that led to my art classes. It was a massive tree that I think housed hundreds of them or so I imagined back then.
The sound of crickets terrified me then, so much so, that this memory lies etched in mind from 30 years ago.
You see, I was convinced that when I walked under that tree, these loud, invisible creatures would all at once sweep down and attack me. So there I was, all of 8, standing at the edge where its branches started, holding my breath, gritting my teeth, clenching my fist, ready to make a dash to the other side where the tree ended.
Looking back, I am sure the crickets wondered why this little human increased her pace so furiously when walking under that tree.
This continued for the entire summer till art classes thankfully concluded and I no longer had to make that all too stressful walk under the tree.
What does their sound remind you of? Do you have memory associated with it?
Or any memory that gets ignited by a particular sound?
Do share if you do.
This week’s s poem by Gulzar again, about that tree…..his tree. Like so many trees, either lost to development or time.
Mod pe dekha hai?
Mod pe dekha hai wo boodha-sa ek ped kabhi ?
Mera waqif hai, bahut salon se mein use jaanata hoon
Jab mein chhota tha to ik aam udaane ke liye
Parli deewar se kandhon pe chadha tha uske
Jaane dukhti huee kis shaakh se jaa paanv lagaa
Dhaad se phenk diya tha muje neeche usne
Meine khunnas main bahut phenke the pathar us par
Meri shaadi pe mujhe yaad hai shaakhein dekar
Meri vedi ka hawan garm kiya tha usne
Aur jab haamla thi ‘Biba’ to dopahar main har din
Meri biwi ki taraf kairiyan phenki thi isi ne
Waqt ke saath sabhi phool, sabhi patti gaye
Tab bhi jal jaata tha jab Munne se kehti ‘Biba’
‘Haan,usi ped se aaya hai tu, Ped ka phal hai’
Ab bhi jal jaata hoon. jab mod se gujarte mein kabhi
Khaanskar kehta hai, ‘Kyo, Sar ke sabhi baal gaye?’
‘Subah se kaat rahe hain woh Kameti wale
Mod tak jaane ki himmat nahin hoti mujhko’
The Tree at The Corner
Translation by Pavan K Verma
Have you seen at the corner that ageing tree?
It is an acquaintance I have known for years.
When I was small, I had climbed on to its shoulders
From the adjacent wall to steal a mango
My feet touched on of its branches that was hurting
It threw me down with a thud
Angry, I threw many stones at it.
At my wedding I remember it gave its branches
To warm the fire of the havan
And when Biba was pregnant, it threw every afternoon
its raw mangoes at my wife
With time all its leaves and flowers disappeared
I would be jealous when Biba told the baby:
“You have come from that tree, you are his fruit”
Even today I feel angry when, as I pass the turning, he coughs
And says, ” Have you lost your hair”
Today since morning, the municipal authorities are cutting it to pieces
I do not have the courage to go up to the corner.
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