These days…

The roads were empty,
the fences of houses quiet with
no rhythmic turning of the latch.
An occasional cuckoo
threw a chord into rustling leaves,
like a painter a thick dab of colour on his canvas,
Recklessly.

My Yelahanka, until yesterday, welcomed me
into a well, called ‘these-days’!
In it, the water was still, all things quiet.
The roads,
bereft of purpose,
of the sound of jingling coins
in their masters’ pockets, them sauntering,
were empty.
The fences around their houses,
distant and detached.

Yelahanka’s back alleys,
except perhaps for a few pigeons
collecting dry twigs for their nests,
were quiet.
A lonely boy of ten walked to his pal’s house
with a crayon box and a white sheet in his left hand,
a wilted flower, in his right.
The apathy too evident,
fallen from the tree, played by bored boys,
the flower knew of its moment
of desolation in the now and here.

The garbage-collecting-women
this morning,
carted away bins of three colours
on the pebbled path,
sounded like a bunch of children shouting slogans
at a newly hoisted flag.

The world was quiet again but for
an occasional meow of a kitten—
one of this summer.
I’d check if the Alphonso mangoes had ripened.

Walking under a peepul tree
that looked different each day
with streaks of red and green
smeared all over its shoots,
I thought I was caught in
an unspoken glare of a spurned woman,
rustling uneasily,
above a stubbornly shining empty road.

A black and white photo
the world was until now.

But today, the rustling ceases,
the cukoo looks for its hideaway,
young boys unlock their bikes
and swim into the slithering
shadows of sounds.
This morning, there’s no curfew!

It’s a different day in Yelahanka.

*

Kiranmayi Indraganti

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