The chimes sound. I look at the clock. it’s only five thirty.The milk man. I get up and staggert slowly and groggily on my journey towards the main door. The door is of teakwood, but still the terrible heatwave has warped it a bit and the aliuminium tower bolts are grating like my wobbly knees. I open the door, cross the front yard, collect the three chilled sachets, open the gate’s lock.The maid would arrive a little while later to cheerfully go about her chores, now and then sweetly crooning a melody fronm one of the recent hit movies. I wash the satchets,deposit them in the chilltray of the fridge, and go back to bed again.
I am in a big hall amidst a vast audience. An young girl and a lanky handsome dark guy are performing a salsa number. I recognise the girl, it is our maid. The next number is sizzling tango. The backdrop is the Eiffel Tower. Soon,the Eiffel Tower is fading out and there is a tall cowboy wearing levis and a sombrero and sporting a coiled rodeo rope on his shoulder looking out of an opening in the crown of a huge statue of a lady decked in a green saree and wearing the crown and holding a big torch Soon a colourful speck is visible on the horizon over the sea, which is getting bigger and bigger . Oh, it is a blue, yellow and red hot air balloon. The gondola is shaped like a bridal palanquin, decorated with colured and silver confetti. As the contraption comes nearer we could perceive an young bashful lady sitting in the gondola, head bent . Her left leg is flat on the softfloor of the gondola bent double at the knee, Theright leg is bent likewise, but is vertical in orientation and on the knee which is held in both her hands rests her chin in anticipation. As the balloon is passing near the lady-with-the-torch, the tanned cowboy lassoes and draws the gondola towards himself and jauntily steps into it. Soon enough the balloon moves farther away towards the west becomming smaller and smaller and fades away.
Now, the scene changes, the dark guy is sporting a peacock feather, inhis head band . His broad chest is bare and on his torso he sports a beautiful long garland of assorted flowers. He is draped in light yellow, almost offwhite silk dhotie as the lower garment. The upper garment which normally adorns astride the shoulder is tied around his midriff as a cummerbund.And he is holding a flute at his lips, through which he is spouting a rich melody. The maiden, attired as a sheperd girl is sitting on the soft bed of grass looking at the guy longingly with eyes half closed. There is a cow which is in a similar state of ecstacy, enjoying the divine music. The divine cowherd continues to weave melody after diviner melody and all the world around him is going into a stupour through which they do not wish to awaken.
I am jolted out of my stupour by a jarring whistle. Oh, it is the colony garbage collector plying his trickshaw alerting the inhabitants of his arrival. I smile at my early morning reverie and go out and open the gate to allow him to collect the garbage. The maid has alredy left and the missus’s movements are still somewhat restricted.
I switch on the Tv to view a round up of the headlines of the various news papers. “So the sun has dawned at last for huzoor! “, the missus is here with my first cup of coffee for the day. Evidently she is somewhat better and in good spirits.The pain has subsided, the maid has returned, and it is a Chaviti day, dear to her dear Ganesh, whom she has already propitiated for the day.I tell her of my mid summer day’s dream. She laughs, then taps my head lightly and goes on to ruffle my hair, a gesture so very reminiscent of my mother, and says fondly “You have a cranky imagination,” and adds, ” She is just a child, yet.” I have my doubts.
Soon, sweet strains of Raga Husaini reach my ears.The missus is singing a Tarangam of Narayana Tirtha, “Aalokaye sakhi, Bala Krishnam.” For those of my countrymen who have not come across the dance drama, Krishna Leela Tarangini and others across this wide networld, I give below a rough translation of the tarangam under subject, “Alokaye ..”
“My friend, behold the cute lad Krishna, He comes hither dancing and prancing blissfully.
The great Lord Narayana Who can grant us all, deliverance from suffering, is here disguised as the smart thief of butter. The ultimate embodiment of bliss, the Lord of the Universe, is here donning His beautiful dark-as- a-rain-cloud form of Krishna. His hands and feet are adorned with gingling golden anklets. tiny bells are tied around his midriff.and are sounding sweet. The pearl necklace he is wearing looks like the milky way has come down to serve the Lord. He is wearing a nose screw studded with a pearl.. Kausthubha, the big precious stone is dangling on his chest.This kid here, Krishna is indeed looking like a glowing Sun to dispel the murky immorality of the current times. Sages at the highest echelons of sagehood take pleasure in describing Him,perennially, and He is coming here playing His flute.This leader of the cowherds is arriving playing around with the groups of barn maidens. Nanda, Sunanda and others sing paens to him.that he is arriving to grant boons to the author, Narayana Tirtha.”
This song is from the extensive and beautiful dance-drama, Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini” , written in the late seventeeth century or the early eighteenth century in Sanskrit, by The sage-poet-composer-dancer, NarayanaTirtha. It is very difficult to bringout the lyrical beauty and the interweaving of gingling and ringing mellifluous words set to a tune easy and nice to dance to, in a translation.There is an interesting story about how and why Narayana Tirtha had ti renonce his family and take up monkhood. I will recount it in one of my future posts.