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Arifa Khan

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Member Since: Apr, 2009

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A Valley of Hearts - My Beautiful Hometown Kadiri
by Arifa Khan

Saturday, May 09, 2009
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My Beautiful Hometown Kadiri

The lazy sun half awake and half asleep, rubbing its sleepy eyes one golden misty morning

Rising from the soft pillow of a hill, peeped into my hometown Kadiri, nestled in a valley of hills

Lo behold, a sparrow's chatter, a chanticleer's crow, some men rinsing, and some leaving their modest dwelling

Off they are before the sun wakes up and blazes a nascent orange ray, some to a mosque to pray and some to ring the temple bells!

Womenfolk done with their ablutions, bring out their kitchen utensils and light their hearth

Preparing school boxes for the kids, before men return from their morning prayer

The Sun stretching its arms, rises from its heavenly bed, to dance with the eager earth

Milk men knocking on each door to drop the daily milk can, greet households and many a wayfarer

By now, up and about, the Sun a refulgent red, delights many a worshipper

Here a musician dipping in the lake's cold water, training his vocal chords

There a disciple doing Surya Namaskaras, to restrain his mind and soak in the star's lustre

Daily laborers hurrying to their landlords, and teachers eager to impart a morning lesson to their keen wards

Streets now bustling about, men gather around hotels for a coffee sip and their daily dose of gossip

Children at school pledging their daily oath, and singing "Jana Gana Mana", my majestic national anthem

Markets busy with sellers of wares and hagglers, and women balancing a basket of produce on their slender hip

Men feeding spicy stories of the day to one another, and housewives going about their daily chores in tandem...

The sun is rotund now, a flaming yellow of molten gold

Rustic sights strewn around - bullock carts ferrying the loads, and of horses untied and fed from grass bundles

Tractors of municipal water with forceful spouts arriving in streets, causing a commotion to unfold

A pastoral delight for an urbanite oblivious to such an idyllic sight, of Kadiri’s peerless quiet – of men moving about town by bicycle pedals

The sun having aligned all the sun-flowers eastward, now sends the fortunate scurrying for their afternoon siesta

School-girls heading homeward on foot along the highway, unfolding before them many a hacienda, and a rainbow like vista!

But, the heat scorching a laborer’s bare back, drying the cow dung spread on the poor man’s meager hut, and trickling as drops of sweat down a rickshaw-puller’s brow

Looming over the shoulder of a basket woman, resting her basket at every door hoping to entice a buyer, flailing her arms to wave away a crow

The sun now plays hide and seek with twilight, birds sing their chirpy song, sparrows chatter and start flying to their nest

A twinkling light here, a twinkling light there, women come to the verandah for their evening chat

Aromas from every hut and house gently wade across to the nostril, and decibels go up in the air from the Musician’s street

A posse of adolescent girls dressed in silk, with kumkum on their head, and flowers for the deity in hand, strut along the Temple street

Ah my town's quaint topography, littered with a street for every craft, each with its unique sheen

A Musician's street where every evening to Sa Re Ga Ma, the instruments spring to life

A bangle street with rows of iridescent bangles stacked atop each other on the way to the temple

A goldsmith's street thronged by women, burqa-clad or kumkum-smeared, vying to copy each other's fancy design

There's the Butcher's row with that unmistakably assailing odor of meat

The Temple street lined with carts of fried pakodas and panipuri - puffed bread filled with tangy water

The Mosque street, Potters street, Welders street, Beedi-rollers, Barbers' and Bamboo weavers street

And the Tower Clock Road, an address sought-after and a hub for all commerce

My historic town has also many a claim to fame, each replete with a stark legend

The banyan tree "Thimmamma Marrimanu" sprawling about five acres to grace the Guinness

The naked poet Yogi Vemana's immortal "Viswadabhi Rama Vinura Vema" verses - ageless wisdom encapsulated

Abode to Lord Narasimha's temple, a natural forest “Batrepalle” - habitat to many an endangered species, and "Kadiri malle", the wild Jasmine – a one of a kind exotic species

Not to forget its notorious reputation – as a town of gallant lovers; Nothing on earth dare tear apart, such a love no matter how fierce the force

Eternal home of "Chandar and Mohiyar" – the inter-caste pair worshipped by loveless couples till date - legend has it that the lovers' corpses refused to separate even in death

Timeless proclamations such as <"Till death do us apart", by their legendary love rendered vacuous!

Obsessive are lovers born of the soil, at the altar of unaccepted love many have sacrificed even their breath.

Festive is my town's spirit with a season to celebrate every occasion; Much fanfare, fireworks and many a fancy ritual

A giant ornate temple pulled across town by thousands of frenzied devotees by ropes thick as temple columns, on "Teru" - The Car Festival

Children dressed in colourful new robes accompany men folk to "Eidgaah" on splendid Ramadan and Bakrid, to offer their solemn prayers

Dussehra - a visual delight - ten different Hindu forms of the Lord, each with his consort, on a flamboyant parade take ten evening processions

Frolic in the grove "Bagh Tamasha", when families pack their wares and off they go to a Mango Orchard

Swinging high on trees, girls in ponytails tied in rainbow like ribbons, running helter skelter, get lost for a day, Oh such untold fun!

Horse carts lining the roads leading to the grove, bearing man, woman, cooking stocks - for poor horses alas such a heavy load!

In splendid florescent color the grove springs to life, and pulsates with many a joyful shriek and tune

Summer, Winter or the Monsoon, of seasons in Kadiri, my recollections are vivid

Snake charmers luring children on the street with a cobra swaying to the flute

Whip-lashersin hardened sinews whipping themselves in frenzy, to make their daily ends meet

An lucky frog tied to the rope and paraded on a searing summer day, to please the rain gods and beseech the rain

Summer belonged to the terrace, women kneading exotic semolina from wet dough, drying friable snacks in the sun

Retiring to terrace at dusk, and chasing birds and preposterous monkeys in daylight; Of half-day school, oh how I loved the season!

Making circles on ground with chalk and jumping about, boys playing marbles on the street, such simple joys unknown to adult reason!

Plying yogurt drink with mustard and coriander in black earthen pots pushed on buttermilk carts, and palm fruits on baskets – wow how delectable the summer selection!

Winter belonged to the blankets, grannies shivering and undoing husk from wet exotic nuts and lentil

Such treasures for a child – grandmas’ bouts of laughter, recounting each funny tale, old friends diving together into a colorful memory lane

Dense fog - a beautiful winter shroud for the sleepy town, surrounded on each side by a pretty hill

And hunting trips to adjacent forests where game came out in moonlight to graze in the chill

Come monsoon, time to bathe in Battrepalle’s majestic waterfalls

Picnic at the flooding lakes, catch the tiniest fish with hands and squeal with delight

The odd pleasures my small town offered, far from the bustling crowds, zoos or big malls

Dancing on the terrace to drizzles of rain, but of course, in rain no flying the kite!


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