It’s the time of June and the leaves are green. She’s 23 now, standing tall by the French windows in a long blue skirt.
She thinks about the Acacia trees back home and the faint light in the hallroom. A cowshed, where a slim snake had meandered on the wall when the cows were out in the grass so green.
Her mother told her, the home was a darling with some young friends and cousins from neighbourhood as her Aunt, father’s sister, cooked the best dishes. She heard stories about her Aunts’ who were in the house before she was born; of how they went for a walk together in their floret nighties, watching the Panicgrass blow in the direction of wind. And sit in the shade by the paddy fields to watch the evening sun.
Her girlhood was all about climbing the hills for Jamuns and Carandas. And for rainfall.
So when it is a month of June and the leaves are green, she’s young again with memories from a six year old.
The house is full of books, with red oxide floors climbing to the yellow toned wall. A yard in the front that grows cashew fruits, which I pick after a rainfall, with a light and white cover in hand. At the far end tree is a swing flying like a feather in the air, made of mother’s yellow cotton Saree. And when we soar high in it, Sathya Uncle, mother’s younger brother who is home tonight says ‘Listen, be careful! That branch appears to be chancy’ from where he stands on the threshold of the door.
There are Zinnias and Dahlias, marshalled up in pink and yellow, through which are roses in different shades of red; fenced with parts of bricks from here and there.
Somewhere in the corner of a land is a well, brimming with silver during the season of rain. Once there was a pint sized snake in it, floating dead on the surface with its body flipped. We were told by our mother, as we returned home from the school in the evening that, Ajja is home. ‘Why, where?’ both my brother and I raised our eyebrows in excitement as Palthaje Ajja rarely stepped onto our farm.
We run out to the well. I look for the snake my mother described me of, in the waters that looked just as it had always been, with purple flowers of a kind and full of leaves round the unoccupied walls of it.
‘They are up in the mound’ I hear my mom’s words through the parallel grids of the kitchen window.
We climb up the mud road filled with stones, to the gate of many squares. Clanking it open, we scurry across the narrow trail to stop at where, sat the men who looked more familiar than ever.
Palthaje Ajja stands and watches as the men, our farm workers I make jokes with, break the soil out with their farming tools to bury the lifeless snake that was found in the well. And I see it as Seethrama, one of the workers, curled it with a stick; it bore patches of black dots in sizes against the white elastic body.
By the time the men finished, together we walk down to home with Ajja ahead of us. The sun has climbed down behind the house of Koti Poojari, far across the fields covered with rows of coconut trees. From the roof of their small bathroom rose clouds of mist by the wood fire, while my brother and I played hopscotch on the yard under the evening sky.