Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: INSECT

DANCING IN THE RAIN

DANCING IN THE RAIN

Petrichor is that earthly smell which emanates when parched earth receives the first drops of rain. I just love “Mitti ki sondhi khushboo”. I remember a grass root called “Khas” which was used in the desert coolers. It used to emit a very unique earthy smell too. I also remember smell of tea in a Kulhar or Sakora at a railway station. The taste of the tea used to be transformed by this small earthen pot.

Rains have brought much relief from the heat and humidity. Here when it rains, it rains like hell. Not like Cats and Dogs but like Elephants and Rhinos. The brown and burnt terrain has suddenly turned lush green. I have yet to see so many shades of green. With the sky overcast, these shades vary & add beauty to the landscape. It is 10 am now and it as dark as 7.30 pm. “Kaali ghata cha gayi hai”.

The chicks of nesting birds have flown. Ponds are overflowing; Ducks and Cormorants are flocking in them. Frogs and toads have gotten busy fluffing their wind bags and croaking sweet melodies. I have yet to see one worth a kiss though. Earthworms have left their holes and are easy pickings for Mynah’s. They devour them like noodles. Ants have now got wings & are flying in swarms. Street lights are clogged and the frogs are having a “barakhana”.

Waterfalls have come alive and are in gusto, sprinkling and spraying water on passersby. All sorts of contraptions besides the conventional umbrella and raincoats are out. White cement bags slit from one side are a common site. Ladies wearing polythene bags instead of shower caps appear funny. Motorcycles with handle covers and seat covers, kids with school bags under wraps are a common scene in this part of the country. A kind of “wetty” feeling is in the air.

You open a packet of namkeen it will go soggy in a minute. The crunchiness just doesn’t stay. Biscuits many drop off from your hand before dipping them in tea, just exaggerating. The only saving grace is the garma garam pakoras which my wife makes for me after office.

The man who cannot just do his job is our poor dhobi. How hard he may try and how hot he may iron the dresses, they are going to stay soggy. The bed feels soggy, the sofa feels soggy & the towel too feels soggy. I just can’t stand that typical stink which creeps in from somewhere in wet towels and baniyans. Clothes now take three to four days to dry. Imagine if you have to wear soggy underwear.

Soon algae will start greening everything. Mushrooms have already started sprouting all over, not the edible ones but the decorative woody kind. Flowers pots are on a musical chairs spree as one has to keep shifting them. In our place plants actually drown. For plant lovers like me, our green house has been converted into a makeshift shelter, with all of them huddled together to face the wrath of rain. Small embankments to divert water, besides water blocks to stop flooding are being made. Digging and freshening of drains is in progress. Tough times I must say.

I somehow love rains. The pitter-patter is such a soothing sound punctuated by the roar of thunder and a crack of lightening. It shakes your soul out in a way. As I drove my bike with my daughter through villages and farms yesterday, it was very soothing to see light green grassy patches. On closer look we found them to be paddy seedlings. Oxen standing in the fields with their ploughs hooked up. They too have their raincoats made out of fertilizer bags. Their horns brightly painted and tinker bells making music as we saw them obediently reacting to every whistle, shoo, shout and sound of the farmer. I wish the farmers luck. May they have a bumper crop and may million hungry mouths be fed.

My only issue is why all this water is flowing down to sea without being harvested. Villagers fight for this precious resource in lean months. People blockade our company gates if water is rationed. Villages which had two hundred people twenty years back now have two thousand. I do not see any government water pipeline or even an effort to mitigate their water woes. Funds come and go down the drain it seems.

Be that as it may. Next three months are going to be wet, wetter and wettest. Getting drenched is a ritual as work will never stop. Schools here do not have a rainy day holiday. I like one thing about the honesty of local people that no one runs away with your umbrella or your slippers.

Rain is a blessing indeed and my garam piyali of chai has arrived. Let me stand in the corridor and appreciate the rhythm of falling rain. Is anyone coming to dance with me? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

 

 

 

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

 

Imagine you are sitting on your dining table just about to have your lunch and a fly comes and sits on the rim of your water glass. I will tell you my reaction. I slowly move my hand as close to the fly and like you hit the striker of carom I snap my finger. Eighty five percent chances are I get my kill. In case she is smart and buzzes off, it gets me irritated and I demand my peace time armoury to be opened and the oldest and most dependable weapon called the fly swat be brought into the battle field. Trace out the line of flight of that irritating character, close in and one shot it is dead. I am now a master in taking aerial shots too. Lunch can wait.

This is what happens to the armed forces when they spot a militant or a terrorist in Kashmir. The irritant has to be eliminated and then only will they think of anything else.

Imagine you are dead tired and just about to knock off to sleep and in your ear you hear that whine of a mosquito playing the latest melody. At least my sleep goes for a six. I keep “odomos” handy. People who don’t like odomos switch on “Good night”. I get hold of a fly swat and trace it out till the time it is splattered on the wall. One has to face the wrath of his wife later as many decorative pieces have seen the dustbin in this makkhi-machhar ka chakkar.

Be that as it may. Don’t we try and understand the idiosyncrasies of our vehicles and run them anyhow. The steering and clutch free play differs for each vehicle. For an expert it takes one ride to understand those nuances. Modiji & his team took four years to understand this dhakka start vehicle.

There used to be one more reason to drive a vehicle which is called “ego”. How on earth can my vehicle stop? In times when there used to be vehicles with old carburetors it was common. When a 1 Ton did the “shuck-shuck” drill standing in the middle of the market with the bonnet up, a man sitting with his hand cupping the carburetor used to be a scene. Maroing a handle used to be total “Beizzati”. Dhakka used to be Maha Beizzati. Every method on earth had to be tried to start that gari for a fauji worth his salt. Was it the same condition in J&K or was it politics of a different kind?

Reminded me of my courtship days many moons back when after great difficulty I could convince my father in law to grant permission to take his daughter for a movie. Well, as an officer and a gentleman, I wore the best dress and best perfume and because I was on temporary duty at Jodhpur I borrowed a Yezdi bike from an officer in whose regimental mess I was putting up. He told me the bike is OK but sometimes it overflows, so switch off the petrol once you park it.

I don’t remember the name of the movie leave alone the “working party” in it as I was in love. The movie got over and I went to the underground parking to fetch the bike. I tried starting it but the damn thing won’t start. My “would be” was waiting outside so I pushed the bike up. I realised that in my excitement I had forgotten to switch the petrol off. I tilted the damn thing and tried starting, it won’t start. I opened the tool box, got out the “Plug paana”, wrestled with the spark plug and kicked it khali many times so that the excess petrol evaporates. I requested my sweetheart to take and auto and go home. Both of us were quite embarrassed for the tamasha on the main road. Jodhpur being a small place word had spread. Father in law had sent a search and rescue mission already.

Now I was all alone. Ego stepped in; I opened up the top of carburetor and found the float valve was stuck. I freed it and reassembled the contraption. One kick and it started. It had taken me almost an hour though. First thing was to reach my darlings home. I didn’t switch off the bike just blew the horn and the whole mohalla came out. She stood in the veranda and so did my father in law. I waved my left hand without leaving the throttle hand. They waved back and off I went to my mess. My hands and dress were stinking of petrol but that didn’t matter. I went to the bar had two neat and got back to my bed and slept off. Victory was at my feet.

This story has nothing to do with flies, mosquitoes, militants and J&K but it definitely has a relation with irritants, egos and ways and means to keep the house free of insects besides keeping your engine purring. Got it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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