The sky has been flawlessly clean and cottony cumulus clouds that rose beyond the hills until a few days ago have faded into obscurity rendering the sky azure and pastel blue. From the window, and through the grills, meshed, I see treetops, lustrously green, motionless and stoic; no wind from the distant mountains greet us. The air is sultry, warm, and grey pigeons and little brown sparrows seek water in the earthen shallow pots that a couple of families have placed upon their terraces and their gardens. An erstwhile lush green lawn, over the course of a few days, has shed its balmy hue to reveal a grey brown surface of the earth, parched and dry. However, pink bougainvillea flowers bloom vociferously and look dramatically vivid against the deep blue sky and the ancient arches of a school, across the road, its walls painted in a colour of iron oxide, brown or red, shine forth in the summer heat. Summer is finally upon us!
With tropical storms hitting the western and eastern coasts of the subcontinent in succession, a delayed summer now seeks to exert its hot revenge upon us. Revenge? Perhaps not, for summer is being her summery, happy self but an underlying sense of sadness silently floats underneath the chirrupy veil of summer-a world under lockdown and one where uncertainty reigns, a pandemic raging through cities, towns and villages. Every day begins with staring at the rising number of cases, number of deaths, restrictions, finding out that a friend, a family member is unwell, reading about the exodus and sufferance of the most vulnerable strata of the society, of sweltering pyres, of the dead floating upon the holiest river of the country, and of suffering members of a family marooned by the society. I wish I could shut my head, my thoughts for a second, for a minute and feign a happiness. I ask everybody and myself about the extraordinary times that we are living, much like the story of an apocalyptic movie. However, the warm summer day outside refuses to give any hint of the testing times. Mother Nature is splendidly gallivanting amidst her children while we, her other children, appears, are being punished for something naughty. Does she want us to learn, not think of ourselves as beyond her wonders, and not consider ourselves as beings who think we have the esteem power to do as we please? Will we ever learn to live in harmony with every other entity, linked that we are to everything in Nature?
Oh, how I wish I could run out into the vastness of the surrounding greenery, the hills, stroll without a care by the river, breathe heavily filling my lungs, my senses with the sweet smell of summer! How I wish I could run off to a quiet beach, with my loved one by my side, watch the waves crash upon the pristine shore rather than succumbing to the pandemic waves, each surge higher than the previous. How I wish I could listen to the sound of a fluttering wind, a crashing waterfall than the sound of ambulance sirens that shrill and echo day in and day out! Sighing I stare at the vivid summer day outside and I ponder at the gross incapability of drenching our tired souls in the joy that reverberates across. I envy the birds, who fly without a care, I envy the rivers and brooks, that rush and bubble, meandering through mountains, through hills, across vast terrains, I envy the butterflies, cabbage white and orange yellow, fluttering about, busybodies that they are, the buzzing bees and I envy the faint whispering breeze, teasing and taunting the leaves, who laugh in merriment. I try to find happiness that shines outside but it is marred by the tumultuousness of the mind, of the statistics all around us, of the headlines that spell doom, of the dread every time the phone buzzes!
And I find myself holding onto that last strand of a dwindling faith, pressing a loved one for consolidation, for an agreement, as dreamy as it may sound. If only we had the ingenuity of fast forwarding into the future, a world sans any perturbation and despondence; if only there were a miracle that would magically erase it all; if only we could vehemently believe that an auspicious autumn will put an end to this summertime sadness.