Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bhairavi for my balcony

It’s still too early for the glow I’m looking for. But in the coolness before full sunrise, the air itself is green, cloaked with the washed-clean fragrance of our trees. I place the jar of biscuits on the balcony table, arrange the book and the phone and the ashtray, draw back the chair and freeze in sudden realisation.
I am becoming my father.
This is exactly what he does when he’s here. The deliberate arrangement of things on the table, placing the chair at a precise angle, one ankle hooked over the opposite knee as he waits for his tea. I’m even drinking tea these days instead of my usual dark fresh-brew. But my father drinks Darjeeling, just so. Not thick milky pau patti.
And he has never in his life worn psychedelic parachute-silk boxers.

On one branch of my krishnachura, the bark has acquired a metallic sheen, more bronze than gold. The sun is breaking free of the horizon’s haze. Seven shades of green come to life over the balcony railing. A tiny bird flutters out of the champa tree, confused by a falling leaf. The sunlight is papery, wrapping itself round the first wisps of smoke from the laundryman’s earthen stove in the next lane. The morning smells fresher, yet more languid than the soggy bouquet of the monsoons. Autumn in Calcutta.
The climbing sun glints into my eyes, batters on the morning coolness, warms my neck until a slow trickle of sweat signals the end of dawn. A bicycle bell drops into the pool of birdsong, I can almost see its ripples in slow motion. Then a rolled-up cylinder of newspapers arcs onto the balcony and lands with a satisfying thwack. My tea arrives.
The day holds promise.


Phantasmagoria said...

Since you will have a fit if I tell you I approve, can I say I appreciate? Yes?


Chenthil said...

Give me jaundice if it can make one write like this.

Anonymous said...

Listen, where DO you live in Calcutta? You make it sound like the fucking Cotswolds!

SimblySonu said...

Written in the vein of a true romantic - with an eye for detail and ritual. I like these quieter posts of yours more than when you're trying to weight in on some issue. You have a knack for describing moments.

km said...

A bicycle bell drops into the pool of birdsong, I can almost see its ripples in slow motion.

Those psychedelic boxers are doing something magical to your prose, JAP :)

austere said...


But did you mean "Bhairav"? This is too beautiful to have the "pulling at the heart strings" quality of the other raga.

S said...

i know, it was beautiful as usual this autumn. bangalore, where i live, has awesome weather about 9 months of the year, so one kinda gets bored of it. but calcutta's 4 months of special weather makes me feel joyous everytime i step out.

thanks for saying it so well.

Churu Churu said...

thank you for a sleepy morning lullaby.

Progga said...


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Ph, honoured, I'm sure.

Chenthil, such a well-turned compliment.

Shrabonti, did I mention any hills?

Sonu, thank you, but I'm afraid I SHALL rant sometimes.

Krishna, unfortunately the boxers are the only psychedelic action I'll get for a long while.


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Austere, I meant Bhairavi. Always believed it's THE dawn raaga.

S, Churu, Progga, my pleasure.


Anonymous said...

Wow, JAP! You should do these posts more often.