An En’tree’ting En’tree’

None of these! The abundantly dung-endowed, narrow, winding, mud tracks; quaint, brightly coloured houses with red-clay Mangalore-tiled roofs, each having their own coconut, betel nut, banana, mango, jackfruit, kokum, breadfruit trees, a courtyard with a cow dung floor and a tulsi vrindavan holding centre stage, compound walls of neatly stacked laterite stone with dried fern peeping through the gaps; the poder on his bicycle honking the squeeze horn signalling his arrival with freshly baked pao, undo, kakon, poie, katre, pokshie; tiny grocery shops decently stocked with the bare essentials; dingy eating houses offering sweet milky tea, buns, mirchi pakoras, alsono beans and potato gravy with pao; the nostalgic pop from the goti soda bottle; bustling temples lined with flower, coconut and trinket sellers, and a throng of sweaty foreign tourists and local devotees alike; the school gong reverberating the rumpus of village kids escaping prison; a sea of cattle making themselves at home wherever they please; a gang of emancipated, scrawny, barking dogs keen to meet and greet your heels; an army of gray langurs in serious contemplating on which fruit tree to next feast upon; lush undulating meadows being fed by hidden springs and perpetually speckled with grazing and mud-wallowing buffalo; paddy stalks standing at attention in the vast fields awaiting the next ploughing; terrace farms of cashew and coconut swaying in the gentle, welcome, cool morning breeze…no…none of these am I putting up a picture of in this post!

But what I will post here is a picture of this tree growing at the very entrance to the village, one which has been for the past several decades welcoming visitors in this, its own unique way – asking us all to partake and be a part of the unpretentious village life, and to leave only when our heart is brimming with fond memories!

– Narendra Nayak © 2018

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