Endless Tales of Corona - 9

Chapter 9 - A Brief Debrief

-         Gladson M E

Later in the day, the setting sun sowed golden brown upon the canopy. The gentle flow of the beautiful stream running beside the house attracted Matthew and Nikhil.

As they rested, both the friends had flashes of memories from the past few days. Nikhil remembered one of their mutual friends, Amal Shetty who rode to North India on his bike. Amal had mentioned how during such trips, he and his friends used to have debrief sessions (which they called ‘Avalokanam’) each day. Nikhil and Matthew thought they could try doing avalokanam and swiftly started their conversation. Steffi joined a little while later.

Warli painting on music and dance

They talked and talked, at one point they felt they had clearly gone way off the track from what they had intended and now they were talking about some massage therapy in Auroville which was cheaper in the month of May, when it was off season. By this time, they realized their avalokanam was not working and they may need Amal’s help. They took a pause that very moment!

Matthew, a very energetic self-learned percussionist and an expert in snare drums, had a flare for spontaneous music. If whistling was a competition item, Nikhil would have got an Olympic medal in it. Matthew knew what to do, he quickly gathered some bamboo logs of different lengths and arranged them in front of him, he assumed a small bamboo stick as his percussion mallet and started playing rhythm looking at Nikhil if he had understood what song it was [this look is common among all self-learned enthusiasts like Matthew] ‘Dhadak Dhadak Dhakada Dhadak’ he went on. Nikhil clearly did not get the tune. He knew what needed to be done at such situations – he started whistling a song. Matthew had a blissful moment […that was close Nikhil!!]. Rudha contributed with timely rhythmic claps and they created an unusual onetime fusion the world had never heard off.

Little they knew what their music would invite.

In the bushes were a pair of beautiful round eyes looking at them. Nikhil saw her and invited her to the band. She seemed hesitant. She had two pebbles which she had collected from the stream. Percussionist and the whistler for a moment had no clue what she was up to. The next moment the sweet little damsel raised one pebble and hit it to the other, she was making a rhythm. Her wooden bangles too moved when she hit the stones together, the ‘Bamboo-Whistle-Clap-Stone-Bangles’ band took off once again. Some other tribal girls and boys also joined them with various ‘instruments’. The jam session went on till the sun had gone down and full moon had slipped in.

Suddenly, the boys and girls actioned everyone to stop, everything went on standstill and a deafening silence followed.

The kids were trying to listen to something, something from very far. Nikhil, Matthew and Steffi too tuned their ears to listen hard. They saw Rudha getting ready to do something and walking towards the tribal kids.

The voice from far away heard like a pack of fox howling. Rudha and the kids stood in a circle with hands on each other’s shoulders, facing the ground. The kids waved gesturing Nikhil and others to join too. What happened next was a strange ritual that nobody could have witnessed: the youngest girl in the group made a soft sound, others one by one with increasing age order began to imitate. Steffi and the others too joined when it was their turn. After everyone’s turn was over, all of them looked face to face and took a deep breath and blew to the sky, ‘Foooooooohhhhhh’. Matthew and the others could hear similar multiple ‘foooohhhhhh’s’ from different part of the jungle.

Soon all the kids went away. Rudha asked, “How was it? This is a tribal ritual done when they hear foxes howling. Foxes set the time for the ritual and the youngest member of any group decides what to do. Wherever they are, they stop doing whatever they are doing and stand a moment in silence, to be thankful of how each of them took care of each other. The ‘fooooh’ is a message to the sky and the jungle that they care for them too”.

Steffi felt very bad to have plotted to attack and injure a tribal guy, earlier. “We think we live an independent, I-manage-my-life-alone attitude, how ironic,” said Steffi to Matthew.

Rudha went inside, Nikhil and the others were very hungry. They just sat outside with only ‘hope’ and no ‘work’ for food. Crickets, owls, and all sorts of jungle creatures were busy with their version of the orchestra. Soon, Rudha came out with a bowl in her hand. It was filled with a semi-solid, mouthwatering, seemingly eatable stuff. Each of them got a coconut shell to be used as a cup to eat. A spoon was made by stitching together a sweet-smelling leaf. The porridge was ready for consumption, Nikhil could not wait any longer. He right away gobbled his first serving. Everyone took their part of the communion. With tasty food to savour there was a sudden silence. With their mouths busy with tasty food, nobody made any comments.

Rudha had finished half of what she had taken while all others were just stuck with what they had in their mouth. Nikhil managed to swallow and moved closer to the others and whispered something. Rudha asked “what happened guys, tell me” Matthew said, “Nikhil badly misses his mother’s food”. All of them burst into laughter.

They slept hoping for a new morning loaded with more adventure.

- To be continued -

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About the writer - With passion and dedication, Gladson believes that bringing about a change in any ordinary lives isnt  impossible. He is fond of music and finds peace with it.

Endless Tales of Corona - 9 Endless Tales of Corona - 9 Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 17:38 Rating: 5

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