A new beginning…

wedding

The nuptial night.

The erring rains.

His broken ankles made it a slow journey. Body cramps and abdominal pain made it lethargic for him to walk the two kilometres he initially traversed with his tractor. The scorching heat made the sweat ooze out of his frail body frame. He tried to soothe his parched throat by reaching out his tongue to the sweat that streamed through small trajectories on his wrinkled face.

The scavengers flew over his head, squawked and feasted on the carcases of his buffaloes. The smell of dead meat and old cow dung reflected in the air by the sun rays. What appeared to be his flourishing field was now a dead and barren desolated area. He had nurtured the piece of land that he had inherited as ancestral property as his child. He had seen it like his child growing from an infant to a toddler to an adolescent to a young man to an old swag.

Until four years ago, the rains sung melodies in his village. The showers bestowed prosperity on his fields and household. The showers sounded like the clinking of bangles and clanking of anklets making his and other children dance in the muddy puddles. He thought he had the riches for his generations. He flamboyantly celebrated festivals in the village. Every day was Baisakhi and every night was Diwali. His harvest of crops resembled an ever-blooming garden.

However, the happy days were short-lived. Last few years, the rains had been erratic. The rainwater harvesting project was yet to receive funding approvals. Until that time, his field was at the mercy of the rain gods.  He wished he could recite raag malhaar  like Tansen to ring in in the rains at his command. The village was scorched. His crops only needed a minuscule of rain for him and his family to survive and manage his loan repayments. Alas, for the second consecutive year, the rains played a truant.

Three years ago, unseasonal rain and hailstorm caused a significant loss of harvest.  The rain swamped away everyone’s home to make it’s own. The rain sang melancholy and screamed as it outflowed gulping down the villages in its path. His savings dwindled, and debts were ever increasing. Even the money spent on Godmen to bring in rains turned to be a vain attempt.

Only if the rains were seasonal and regular.

Global warming, increasing summer heat dried up the dams. Coupled with drought, his farm was converted into a worthless wasteland. The banks refused to give further loans. Cunning bank officers asked the Panchayat  (aka village council) to intervene. The head of the Panchayat colluded with the banks to ensure that bribes were paid to get loans, sometimes the bank officers asked for bribes on their own.Moneylenders charged extremely high rates of interest. Moreover, the conditionalities attached to loans were such that it proved impossible to avail loans once repayments on the previous loan defaulted.

He was blinded by the devilish force of prosperity and wealth so much that he never planned for any such adversities. Like an invisible dragon with dreaded teeth of terror and poison of hate, the rain had started to engulf him and his family.

Only if the rains were seasonal and regular.

Bottles of pesticide were beginning to gather mould. What was their use when there were no crops to protect? That morning, he shared a bottle with his family and chose to walk to his field. He couldn’t see his wife and kids suffer.

The thoughts of happy days reverberated in his mind as he reached his field, which now resembled a graveyard. He slumped to the ground. His brittle knees couldn’t bear his weight anymore. He landed on the field with the support of one hand. His palm scratched against the rocks to peel off his white kurta and brown skin.

The pain in his abdomen grew stronger and vacillated in his body. The blood that he vomited mixed with the dust. Finally, convulsions took over, and he transformed into the next feast for the vultures. Meanwhile, the anticoagulants had made his wife and kids lay in his home asphyxiated with a mouthful of froth.

Hopefully, the compensation guaranteed on his death will pay off the loans to banks and money lenders.

Only if the rains were seasonal and regular.