Memory of Sounds

By | 1 February 2022
I remember the rattle of the dry leaves, crisp in summer wake, the moans of the gushy winds, making love to the reeds of bamboos over the streams of grassy meadows in the December winters. The thunders and leaps of rains deafening, reminding the monsoons of June. sounds of seasons different, marking the tiny village of Chellarcovil, where I lived, straining my ears, To the coos of birds many, flapping their wings long and wide meows of the household cats, ramping around in search of fish innards thrown, few hens, those survive the predative neighbors and animals other moos of the cows reminding milking and bleats of goats, suggesting food. A jeep selling fish, from fresh waters, sometimes bikes replace with their horns same occasional bicycles that bought Uncle Jon ice creams and Italian Delights. The northern survivors with blankets heavy and bright pink Panjumuttaiyis ringing bells! Ah! The sounds of that village where I drowned my childhood, remains vivid and alive brimming with details minute tickling my senses, sonorous.

Here, in the city streets of Chennai where I reside planting few seeds for future, I know few sounds branding the difference. Early mornings, a bicycle peddles, selling ‘idiyappams’, which my grandmother made effortlessly. He taking long breaths, between, idi and appam, gulping the grammar of merging. The tailor, with his machine on wheels, rolling over the roads, following a cry sound of ‘eup-eup’, he calls out to the mistresses of the apartments, for their mystic appearances. Then, few vendors who mend sofa, stove, the menders who follow the tailors, the buyers of silk, the worshippers of Sai Baba (Saturday special) marking their morning routines. So much of mending to be done in the morning, stitching the void open wounds of a homeland belonging. Afternoon and the balmy evenings witness no vendors much, occasional bicycle walas and northern survivors selling clothes, they don’t ring bells, they never shout either, like how us – the re-habited city dwellers move in quietness to our apartments. By late evening, the man on his bicycle returns with his idiyappams, closing the curtains of the day, for a sweet night’s sleep. All through summer, winter, monsoon like the warmth, that forgets to leave in this heat trapped city, these sounds stay, on roll, yearlong, reminding us what we miss! And to belong to either of the places, I failed, I know! to belong, the ultimate quest, to requite I guess.


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