Saturday, February 28, 2009


During the summer afternoons in the sleepy village of Mau, life slows down. Unbearable heat rises up in waves, enveloping all. Hot humid air from which only the homes protected by dripping jute provide protection. The sun beats down merciless and unyielding on the vast, arid, flat plains. Humanity retires from work, seeking respite in the intoxication of sleep. So it has been for centuries. So it was on that dusty afternoon.

Prasad lay under the dense banyan tree, half reclining,half sitting. Beside him lay a steel tumbler and an earthen pot containing the only kind of cool water known to him. In a distance only a restless crow cawed restlessly. As Prasad was slipping away in blessed drowsiness, the hot air wafted a heavy smell towards him. Dense and rotten. He cursed at this extra hand of work, conjecturing that he would probably have to dispose of a dead rodent. Usually, the hawks found in the vicinity would have done it for him, only his field was thick with unripened grain. Walking on for a few feet, he sighted something far larger than a rodent. Reaching the corpse, he surveyed it disinterestedly.

(to be continued)

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