This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club’s CBC VIBGYOR BLOG TAG where some of us will write a post on the colours of VIBGYOR each day starting 1st of September to the 7th of September.
The colour theme for today’s post is BROWN.
If I were to close my eyes and think of my instantaneous reaction to BROWN without giving a split-second thought, it would probably be yuck! However, when I sit back and think (my never-ending thoughts starting to drool after a while), I realize it is the one of the Most Commonly Overlooked colors in one’s daily life.
Read on the story of an old man, a father-in-law and a grandfather, who is completely disconnected from the urbanites’ way of life by choice (does that mean lesser OR more scope for associating with brown?).
It had rained last night. My other senses may deceive me as I become older, but definitely not my nose. I could smell the damp earth, which otherwise feels quite divided. When it rains the sand, the mud, and the soil particles bind together with the rain water so tightly that you feel the ground’s rare unity when you’re used to walking bare-naked-feet. This morning, as I woke up from my chaarpai, a structure of jute ropes supported by wooden legs on four sides, I knew it. Before I could even rest my feet on the damp earth I could smell the infectious wet soil, my Mother Earth, whom I knew so well by now.
My bahu heard me wake up. While she helped me fill water from the earthen matka, she asked me, “Babuji, chai banaun?” I nodded and brushed my teeth with this off-lately discovered weird object (where is the world headed to!?) with a stick-like structure to hold and short straws that stuck in between the teeth (“Daadu, these are called bristles, through which you can clean your tobacco-stained teeth and this…is a tooth brush”, my grandson told me.) Anyway, I found it weird; I was more comfortable with my twig-like dantmanjan which I could keep chewing for as long as I wanted. And ah, the smell of those twigs…
As my bahu handed me my chai, I caught up with my friends just like any other morning. They extended as far as I knew, as I would keep hearing them from varying lengths. “Good morning”, I said. All remained still. I tried again after a couple of minutes. One of them gave a slight nod, for I felt the breeze caress my face. The trees of varying types, heights, and breadths (whose existence were rooted primarily because of the muddy roots and secondarily due to the barks), were my usual companions in the mornings while I had my tea. After a quick chat, I bade them goodbye and sat to read my book for a while – the heavy chocolate-colored leather-bound book that my grandson had gifted. “Daadu, it’s your favorite color – chocolate-colored cover with cookie-colored pages.” He knew despite my old age, I used to turn into an absolute junkie when it came to chocolates and biscuits, especially Parle-G! (Just like the toothbrush, I guess cookie is the latest invention…whatever happened to biscuits??) The moment I opened the book, I knew this was it – the one that I was looking and waiting for, all this while. I was so happy and proud; I hugged my grandson tight and said, “Shabaash mere bachhe! Ja, isi baat par chocolate khakar aa”, and gave him a ten-rupee note.
As the produce of potatoes was in abundance around our area and also a solution for bahu’s convenience (ek din mein kitna kaam karegi bichaari?), my lunch and dinner predominantly used to comprise of two chapattis and unpeeled potatoes cooked after mincing into pieces. After a quick nap, I sit with my leather-bound book yet again while bahu makes me a cup of piping hot coffee before going off to attend her set of evening chores. I need a shot of caffeine every morning and evening, and prefer not diverting from it.
Dinner is usually the most subdued affair. After a quick supper of two chapattis and unpeeled potatoes, I like to dedicate the rest of my evenings (sometimes even early mornings without my realization) to my book. The book that my grandson gifted to me so dearly, inscribed in Braille.