Turning Forty


Turning forty amidst the concussion healer, skunks and a rain maker
August 14, 2014 at 5:00pm
It is a happy time. Catwoman turned forty today.

Her mother, the concussion healer and her father, the date lover a.k.a the rain maker have left the arid sands and are re-living it all again through whatsapp albums while sipping hot tea and tucking into spicy ‘mixture’ while rain pours noisily over corrugated aluminium and slants its way through the windows whenever the wind blows a tad stronger. This must be the scene as I imagine it, looking out into the golden glint of glass covered buildings and the rainless masses of white clouds pausing above them from my tiny balcony that has shrunk even further this summer though the sight of it causes a tropical rainforest to bloom in my heart filled with the sounds and smells of the wild.

A few croutons, a golden pothos and a lanky, scraggly pepper plant- that was all it held before the green-thumbed duo arrived bringing the smells and feel of a rainy land with them. Now there is barely space on the balcony to plant a foot there without being seized by curling tendrils of a host of vegetable seedlings. A milkweed plant, a date palm!! growing in a yoghurt tub, hogweed, portulaca, pumpkins etc all are milling around like it is a fairground-there are creepers going up, climbers jaunting down and innumerable other unidentified plants happily waving their leaves and tiny branches about, quite oblivious to the fact that they have limited life spans being reared in the tiniest imaginable balcony in one of the hottest summers ever on the seventeenth floor of a highrise. Nothing often comes as a surprise when you are the offspring of wonderful people who live life to the fullest, stretch each day to its last-est second and dream of only better ones ahead. The day they landed here is the day we went for a drive into the desert and the rain man true to his reputation brought on a bout of monsoon-like showers in the desert complete with thunder and lightning on one of the hottest days of the year. Coming back after a most enjoyable and cool(pun intended) desert safari, we realised the burning city hadn’t received even a drop of it. One doesn’t need a virtual world when the real one is unpredictable and a whole lot of fun. Turning forty a few days earlier than the English date (since the malayalam one came earlier)turned out to be a restful, happy, contented time with Mom handling the cooking decisions and me meekly following orders in preparing the inevitable feast that no mallu (even a cat woman) can escape without feeling guilty of depriving their parents of a sumptuous Ada Prathaman(Jaggery-coconut milk dessert). Summer just flew and with it the long early morning walks where one of the two frequently got lost being distracted by the huge, low-hanging bunches of golden-yellow ripe dates hanging all along the Corniche. Mom and me walked away talking of comparisions and contrasts between the lands and at the end of the hour realised that Dad was nowhere to be found. Two more rounds of the Corniche and we found him furiously marching towards us, mad that we hadn’t stopped for him when he stopped to pluck some dates. This happened quite frequently in different parts of the city and at different times for these heady date palms were everywhere and Dad can’t believe that no one is picking up the fallen ones- he collects them reverently and eats them like they are ambrosia morsels.Now they have gone back to the land where they belong leaving summery memories, some young plants, a rotund catwoman, her two kittens and a well fed Tom behind in this land which we probably deserve. Thank you. Each one of you for being a part of the 40th celebrations, filling the vacuum they left behind with your love, kind words, wishes and blessings. Every message helped heal the desolation atleast a bit.

The concussion healer and the skunks? That is a story for another day. 🙂
©Reena Prasad

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