Thursday, February 16, 2006



The bells on the cows. Thats where it begins. Slow and almost silent... can be missed easily. Placid cows chewing the lush green grass, shaking their heads to ward off the occasional flea. Thats when the bells chime. Thats when the cowherd looks up.


Its a bell after all, a ding here a dong there. Ding dong perhaps is too loud for the bell on the cows. They are much more hushed and inobtrusive. And yet, that is luring enough for the cowherd...and his flute. A soft note coming out of the flute. The cowherd's breath turning into early morning music, wafting with that strange cold and warm dawn breeze that frequents forgotten hamlets. Mesmerizing the performer, audience and the backdrop alike. The coconut trees sway to that lilting melody. The paddy stalks wave their heads as well. The whole scenery moves back and forth resonating with the music - the music of the cowherd's flute playing up against the backdrop of the cow's bells.


The flute pauses, sighing, searching for a companion. A wanton longing takes shape now - you can see it, with your ears...the notes clinging to the flute and stretching their languid fingers to the scenery...beseeching the unseen companion. They speak words of shameless desire with a grace that cannot be matched. Their call is desperate and yet princely. The cowherd's eyes look towards the horizon as the magic weaves on him as well.


And there in the horizon, a lone heron spreads its wings. Its pristine white wings set against the placid blue skies evoke images of a tranquil God sitting with a benevolent smile on His face. The bird against the sky...a strange union...ethereal.


Just as the heron sets its foot nimbly between the arched horns of the cow, a farmer sets his foot on a distant field. Is it harvest time? Or is the land being tilled? You can't make out at this distance...not when you are hypnotized by music and magic together. Its just a farmer, with his long sinewy arms lined with pearls of sweat making love to his field. You don't know if he is kissing her or is being kissed. Close your eyes and let them be, let them all be - the cow with its bell, the cowherd with his flute, the heron from the skies, the farmer and his field. Let them all be.


Now open your eyes. Its a magnificient painting. The skies smiling down, the sun gracing the scene, the cow chewing cud ignorant of the sun, the bell that chimes occasionally, the heron sitting placidly on the cow, the cowherd with his flute and closed eyes lost in his own magic, the farmer with his field lost in mad passion, the young paddy stalks that blush seeing this, the breeze that seems to stroll along the fields, the canal that runs gently murumuring its dissent at being ignored by the poet...and the serene spirit of dawn soothing everything around this forgotten piece of creation.


Close your eyes. Open them. It is dawn here.

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