August has been a busy month at the farm. Four fields had to be cleared and the remaining bananas harvested. We made three trips to the HOPCOMS yard next to Lalbagh to sell bananas. By the middle of August we got a decent rate. Once the fields were cleared we sowed togri, huruli and avarrekai. Easy winter crops. I wanted to plant tomatoes and beans but Nagaraj said the peacocks woud eat them up anyway, so what was the point. He cited the banana losses to the elephants and neighbour Rame Gowda's vegetable losses to the peacocks as proof of his superior farming intelligence. And I conceded defeat.

Then we had 31 children from Mallya Aditi School come by to work on Lewis Carrol. We brought in stilts and Brinda Jacob Janvrin to choreograph the Garden of Living Flowers and the Mad-Hatter's Tea Party. Navaz Hormusjee called the night before the children arrived to ask if it was dry enough to sleep in tents and I said "Yes, it's been dry as a bone. No rains." Famous last words. Soon after the children arrived, by late afternoon, the rains hit us. It was beautiful, no doubt, but I was a goner. Fearful thoughts of wet tents, soaking sleeping bags, scorpions, snakes looking for shelter from the storm...is what occupied me. But children being children, were wonderful. As we sat on the verandah and looked out at the tents they transformed into an installation of torchlight and children-shadows.

Finally, the issue of Prudence - the Basset Hound-English Pointer mix breed puppy. She was to be a farm watch dog. (Ha! says Kuki, the only way she'll keep intruders away is if they die laughing. The best thing to do is give Nagaraj a deerstalker and a shotgun and they'd make quite the comedy team. Both with doleful eyes and demeanour.) But I wasn't to be thwarted in my efforts. So we took the dogs to the farm to test Prudence's skills. She wasn't bad, little survivor that she is, and even made it up the hill. But she was so exhausted that she slept all of the next day. Perhaps things will change. I think Nagaraj is quite looking forward to having her follow him around.

Thus passes August. Month of transition, month of rest. Lull-before-the-storm month. I saw the trucks on Magadi Road, filled with neon Ganeshas heralding...what? A new way? Water pollution? Anxiety?
But for now, I love the rain at the farm and have no truck with dark clouds.

Dark August by Derek Walcott

So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won't come out.

Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

She is in her room, fondling old things,
my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls
like a crash of plates from the sky,
She does not come out.

Don't you know I love you but am hopeless
at fixing the rain ? But I am learning slowly
to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
the air with gossiping mosquitoes,
and to sip the medicine of bitterness,
so that when you emerge, my sister,
parting the beads of the rain,
with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,
all will not be as it was, but it will be true
(you see they will not let me love
as I want), because, my sister, then
I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones,
The black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you.

The School In August by Philip Larkin

The cloakroom pegs are empty now,
And locked the classroom door,
The hollow desks are lined with dust,
And slow across the floor
A sunbeam creeps between the chairs
Till the sun shines no more.

Who did their hair before this glass?
Who scratched 'Elaine loves Jill'
One drowsy summer sewing-class
With scissors on the sill?
Who practised this piano
Whose notes are now so still?

Ah, notices are taken down,
And scorebooks stowed away,
And seniors grow tomorrow
From the juniors today,
And even swimming groups can fade,
Games mistresses turn grey.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your blog, when I wake up too early, or cannot sleep at night, you cheer my heart with the poems you select. i love your dreamy retreat & farm. Thank you my daughter for all the things you do to keep everyone smiling, I love you with all my heart.