In September-October Bengali houses are dusted, broomed, cleaned. Clothes in cupboards are put in the sun. They get warm through the day and in the afternoon, the lady of the house brings them inside from the terrace, fold them neatly and put them back in the cupboard. Same treatment to the blankets and cushions.
The weather outside is warm, the sky is blue after the monsoons. White specks of clouds float all over the sky. If you go farther into the countryside, by the river, you would see kash flowers in all their glory, swaying their heads in the riverside breeze. Durga puja is coming.
This would by second Durga Puja away from home since I came to Bangalore. Needless to say, Durga Puja signify times of great celebration to the Bengali mind. When I was in Bengal, my awareness and appreciation of Bengali culture was minimal. Now, I remember the smallest rituals my parents maintained.
On Diwali, my mother would have us get jackfruit leaves. On the jackfruit leaves, earthen lamps were lit with oil and wick. Every Diwali evening, my brother would light tiny electric lamps in wires, and I would set candles throughout our balcony. This time I would go home just after Diwali. The air would be full with a chill. The houses in my neighbourhood would still sport the little lamps – remnants of Diwali celebration.
Life in Bangalore is different. You wake up. If it’s a weekday, you get ready for office. You go to work, take calls, do the daily chore, come home jaded, either have dinner or do something on your phone and then sleep. On a weekend, you don’t go to office, but go somewhere else, see some movie, cook something nice and go to sleep. I wish I could break the routine. That’s something I liked about last week. I was sick with fever, had trouble getting up and had to take leave. It felt good to be home on a weekday, when the house was silent. I dreaded the time when everyone would be back and the house would be chirping again.
A lonely September afternoon is a very personal thing. You can simply watch the trees from the balcony, watch the squirrels play in the trees, read a book and watch at the vast blue sky. Not a worry in life.
Wish I could add some meaning in my life – do something different.