A lady phoned her friend at 6 am and a sleepy female voice answered. Realizing that she had the wrong number, she apologized and hung up. When she redialed, the same voice told her she still had the wrong number. As the lady started to apologize profusely, the woman interrupted her. “Please don’t apologize,” she said. “I’m sitting by the window with a cup of coffee enjoying a truly beautiful sunrise. If you hadn’t awakened me, I would have missed it.”
Once, towards early morn, I awoke for a drink of cool water. As I sipped from the tumbler, I wandered to the balcony to sit there for a while. The view outside was still and serene. It was nearing dawn; I could see the first hint of arriving light, a faint pinkish hue. As I waited to welcome the sunrise, I felt a warmth curl around my heart.
Imagine, if you can, God’s fingers fluffing up the clouds, using them to smudge the sky with shimmering colors. Then he sends the first ray from his fiery fireball streaking through, like a dart of vivid fire. And the morning mist melts slowly, leaving behind a cool ambience, something one can only savor in the company of a brewing hot cup of coffee.
The proverbial cock, perched high on the fence, lets out an ear-piercing ‘Cocka-doodle-doo’ heralding the arrival of the sleepy-eyed sun. Contemptuous of the sleeping populace, he struts along the fence, eyeing the idol-worshipping brood of hens but making no attempt to choose one for himself.
In the distance, one can hear the approaching baker sounding his horn as he makes his run. The bicycle, the horn, the baker’s basket are symbolic of a susegaad Goa.
I sit now in my balcao, looking out for my morning paper. There he is, the newspaper vendor on his scooter, at last! He tosses the roll onto my front porch deftly and leaves. I rush eagerly, pick it up and curl cozily into my rocking chair. The morning breeze teases my tendrils as I lap up the events of yesterday, shocked and scandalized, amused and disillusioned all at the same time. I discard my paper in disdain and go back to enjoying my morning.
The sun peeks at me as I look all around, waving to the children on their way to school. A lady friend wishes me ‘Good Morning’ as she passes on her way to work. Servants walk by; so do the laborers. In the house opposite mine, I spot an elderly woman watering the tulsi plant as she prays to it. There is great serenity on her face. A little infant awakens and bawls to be carried by his mother. She soothes him as she strolls to and fro in her balcao. Her aged mother sweeps the courtyard outside with slow laborious strokes of the ‘kanto’ broom.
On the tree close by, a squirrel leaps from branch to branch in chase of another, its long bushy tail swishing from side to side as if it were painting a scenery. Butterflies flit from flower to flower, kissing the petals and sucking nectar from within. A mammoth bumble-bee drones a ‘Buzzzzzz’ as it supervises their work, just like an air-borne fighter plane.
My neighbor emerges from his house to water the plants. As he makes his way around the garden, I admire the lush bougainvilleas, the petite but erratic abolis, the fragrant and exotic rose bushes and the sunflower stalks with their faces raised to the sun in adulation. He picks a bunch of the prettiest blooms for his dining table, waves a ‘How do you do?’ and disappears inside.
I can now smell the burning of dried leaves in the distance. Perhaps the cook has kept her koso to boil water for a bath or the handi to boil rice? The pungent smoke-laden aroma entices and excites me as does the whiff of the ripened jackfruits in my neighbor’s courtyard.
Now the morning is in full gusto; the sun getting fiercer by the minute as if it is slowly losing its cool. Time to retreat into my cool abode and, maybe, switch on the air-conditioner. I pick up the offending paper, satisfying cup and my susegaad self, bid a feisty ‘Au Revoir’ to my glorious morning and make my exit.