Sunday, 25 May 2014

Musings; or Abstruse Thoughts on Hot Summer Evenings

Summer. Glorious, breezy, the summer air heavy with the sweet smell of honeysuckle, the slow drone of a male worker bee eager to do all he could to please his queen. The days drowsy and languid with the promise of pleasant days ahead, time to relax, freshen up with a cold bath, washing off the grime of life.



Summer. The time of a hot, humid weather, the shirt sticking to your back as you dash frantically to work, the irritating buzz of flies, the water tepid and arm and an ever-increasing workload. And of course, nothing goes right and no one is pleased. Be it your
boss, or your wife/husband, teacher, kids, friends or maybe the person sitting next to you on the bus.
It was a warm summer evening, and I use the term warm loosely. You’re sitting at your desk, the fan slowly moving through the heavy, humid air. You wish for rain. Not a chance. The clouds are not kind at all. Like life. A pile of work sits in front of you- due tomorrow. An evil of procrastination, but of course not intentional. Life is busy around you. Through the open windows of your apartment, busy city life sounds invade your personal space. The wailing of a kid, the screeching of a bitter house-wife, the cheers of young boys watching sports, teenage girls texting and the occasional Bengali song on serials. You’re immune to them. They don’t disturb you. Why should they? You have grown up with them; your own frustrated groans have contributed to them. You feverishly work on your laptop, thinking enviously of whatever new gadget your better-paid colleague has recently bought.
Electricity goes out. You curse.

The battery blinks. Out of charge. You quickly save your work before the screen goes black. Disaster managed a proud moment. You are struck by the silence around you. The sounds that have been a constant companion to you, all silenced by the simple act of electricity failing. You go the balcony. It’s a major power cut they tell you. No chance of power being returned tonight.

Well, nothing you can do. No way of finishing your work tonight.

After having moaned about the existence of no free time at all, you are suddenly disconcerted by the unexpected gift of a free evening. You think of all the things you have been meaning to do for ever, and suddenly you can’t think of anything.
A bit unsettled, you climb up to the terrace. The moon is full and a soft and gentle silver light floods the terrace. You are struck by the simplicity and the beauty of it all. You lean against the terrace and you notice the tree across your building. Heavy with flowers, the air is fragrant. You close your eyes and breathe deeply. A light breeze gently moves your hair, trailing its fingers over your forehead.
You can feel the tension draining out of your shoulders. You look around and then notice the rose bush, budding with flowers. May be it had been planted by the screeching house-wife. Maybe she still hoped, still loved despite life having made her wary and hard. Just like the rose bush with its beautiful flowers and sharp thorns. What a parallel. The tunes of a song float through the air, the haunting melody stirring up memories of all the hobbies you have given up to participate in the rat race. All the lost dreams and small pleasures.
You realise that maybe life isn’t bad as all that. That you can still live the way you wanted to, finding these small pockets of unexpected happiness, filling you with a fresh spirit of hope, giving a bit of courage and draining away a bit of the aging.
You smile. Maybe tomorrow you can do what you have wanted to do for so long. Maybe tomorrow you can summon up the courage to ask her. Maybe tomorrow she’ll smile for you. Maybe.

As you make your way back inside, the moon smiles down on the empty terrace and the tree smiles and waves its branches in agreement.

The song still plays... “Amar o porano jaha chay....”
Ah, summer.

-Julia Banerjee

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