Monday, June 23, 2014

That was no cat on a hot tin roof

I was halfway through a sentence talking with folks at my favorite aunt's home when I ran for it.  No, not to the bathroom.  And, no, I did not see a cockroach.

I ran because a light rain started falling, the sound of which was amplified by the tin roof awning.

Not until one has experienced the intense Indian summers will one be able to understand and appreciate the emotive capacity that rains have in the old country.  And then the glorious scent of the water on the parched land--a scent that is an intoxicant to the parched soul.  It is no wonder that the first raindrops in movies tend to be dramatic because they really are in real life too.

I ran down the stairs and onto the open space.  The raindrops were heavenly.  While the bicyclists on the road were hurrying to find shelter under the nearest tree, I, with the luxury of not working for a few days, rushed from the shelter to the rain.

But, this was no summer rain. No lightning. No thunder.  It was but a passing cloud.  The drizzle ended.  It was a momentary rush of adrenaline like when we chance upon brightly painted nails on female feet that catch our attention.

I went back inside to continue the conversation.

"I cannot believe that my feet swelled up by the time I landed in Chennai" I said.  "My body knows that I am getting older."

I suppose there is a first for everything.  If there can be a memory of a first kiss, then why not a memory of the first foot-swelling too.  After all, life is not always about kisses and roses, but is about the aches and ailments too.  

My aunt, who has known me from the moment I was born, surely must be having a tough time reconciling the infant and toddler versions of me with the balding and greying--and now feet-swelling--me.  In turn, I find it difficult to deal with the aging of people who have loved me all these years.

If we are lucky enough to survive the obstacles along the way, we progress to an old age.  But, while immersed in our navel-gazing, we often forget that the old and cranky 90-year old was also once an infant, a toddler, a school-boy, a young lover, a zealous worker, a doting parent.  Swollen feet comes with this package, right Bill?
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
I hope I

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