The March of the Monsoons (BH:D305)

June 5, 2012

Woke up to a loud crashing sound this morning. 4:25am. Assumed the tarpaulin temporary structure erected outside near the kitchen to boil water for the baby and new mom had collapsed. Like all assumptions, it was no way near the reality.

A Jackfruit branch heavy with 5 super-size fruits had torn off the main trunk. It  hung precariously from the electricity cables coming into the house. Watchman pressed into operation. Wearing rubber slippers he goes about hacking the branches till the main branch is light enough to be lifted off and grounded. The front of the house looks like a orgy of goats who have food fetish.

While riding to campus, small talk with the young driver. He works part time in the bread factory near by. If 7 hours from 5pm to 12 midnight can be called part time.
"How much do you pack in that time?"
"We are six guys. We go around 2500 packets. Usually the production that happens during the day is according to the orders received. So that number is no fixed."
"How much do you get paid?"
"300 as daily wages and extra for each pack."
"At what rate?"
"33 paise per packet"

Easy calculation to see that he makes more money from that job that his day job.

"How far have you studied?"
"B.A...in Malayalam"
"University College"
"Do you have the degree?"
"No, didn't clear one final year paper."
"Which one?"
"Are you planning to write it?"
"It's been three years. My father is not well enough to work. So I have to support the family."

Breadwinner, the word floated to mind. Not a good joke.

I have been noticing small trucks and carrier autorickshaws laden with jackfruits on this road mostly because we get stuck behind them in slow moving traffic. I try hard not to let this visual bring back the image of aunties pushing their way into marriage feast hall. I wondered aloud where all these jackfruits were taken.
"The bakeries in the city supply them to the homes in this area. Housewives get Rs. 10 for cleaning up one fruit and chopping it up ready to be made into jackfruit chips."

When Malayalees encounter the frequent classic example of the much studied unscientific phenomenon of 'Synchronicity', they usually remark, "Paranju naakku vayilottu itilla" which literally translates to "As soon as I had put my tongue back in the mouth after saying" meaning something happened unexpectedly right after it was mentioned.

I don't know  why we continue to insist that we speak with our tongues coming out of the mouth. And I wonder if there is an equivalent saying about thoughts and thinking. You know like 'as soon as I had put the thought back into my memory' or 'as soon as I had put the conscious mind back into the unconscious.' Anyways, as soon as I had finished reflecting how hot and stuffy the afternoon is, Sharath B shared a tweet with a link to Reuters saying that monsoon has arrived to southern Kerala.

Sure enough I was sitting in southern Kerala. I can see the green carpet stretching over the plains surrounding the southern tip of the Western Ghats through the window. Sure enough there was no rain.

But then...there...at the farthest edge of the horizon...at the optically technical infinity....it was all grey.

The sky painter's blue brush had run dry and dull at those limits. They were coming slow and steady. The winds of Hippalus that brought with them cultural multitudes to the shores of this land.

Glacial pace of the life affirming pregnant grey. It will be night before it gets here.

Chalamy's birthday today. Been part of that cake cutting for many years. But only while flipping through the Deccan Chroncile while waiting at the Cafe Coffee Day did I come to know that he shares his birthday with Rambha!

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