Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The only green wave that is spreading across West Bengal is that of Mamata's victory. On Sunday, the local sports club- housed in a squat yellow building with a corrugated asbestos roof (which doubles up as a kindergarten in the morning)- celebrated the trounce of 34 years of Communist rule. A large Indian flag was strung up between two poles, a tree was draped in strings of green bulbs and a small plot of land across the road was taken over for a little party. All day long, the club played Rabindra Sangeet- the melodious celebration of life in Tagore's words- never mind that I understand very little Bengali, just standing there by the hibiscus tree in the afternoon and listening to mellifluous voices herald change was an experience in itself. The feeling of victory and relief was palpable- the change that Bengal has so long waited for is finally on the verge of happening.

The small rooms that house other unions/offices a few hundred metres away still have their members gathered around tables on rickety chairs in the evenings, stern portraits of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and BR Ambedkar eavesdropping on these discussions. The Congress will be in the government with the TMC, and there apparently is much to talk about.

The local 'square', after having thrown around some green powder in revelry, has returned to normalcy. It is business as usual for the vegetable-seller, the butcher, the stationer, the dry-cleaner, the restaurant and the various shopowners. (Yes, we are extremely self-sufficient here in our corner of the world.) The plump brown man with tiny eyes and the brown checked shirt, open at the collar, sits in front of his wall-mounted fan in the corner store. His shop stocks about everything from tamarind candy to croissants. In the dusty caverns of his dark, narrow store lie mounds of rice and pulses and detergent. He wraps up our purchases and nods with cheerful pessimism when we ask him how much longer the heat will last.

"Three months," he says with masochistic pleasure. "When the rains arrive, the heat will subside but the humidity will rise," he explains in his Hindi generously flavoured with Bengali, wiping away the beads of perspiration forming relentlessly on his forehead.

The thunderstorms have disappeared, and the weeds that grew profusely as a result of the sharp rainshowers are beginning to look jaded. Green is rapidly turning to brown, the asters have all been scorched to death.

All eyes on the skies. The monsoons are around the corner. Aren't they?

2 comments:

Ravi Atluri said...

It's already raining here! and Bangalore too, i guess ;)

Jaya said...

"Bangalore too"? Where are you?

We had a strong thunderstorm at midnight. I suppose someone heard me :).