It had rained all afternoon, during the walk to the illusory Kodoor river in Changanassery. A true tropical downpour. The sky had been grey for quite some time before I left home. In fact that’s why I left home. Remnants of a starved Bengali in me probably that feels euphoric about dark clouds.
By the time I reached the Kollam Theni highway after a 12 minute walk, it was pouring. Menacingly. Then it rained in various forms for the rest of the afternoon. Slowing down to a drizzle, gaining speed, clouds making way for sunlight, coming to a stop altogether to regain momentum after a couple of minutes. The water coming down in straight sheets and then slanting slightly because of the wind.
But the next day, the weather was just right when we set out to Eara Village to witness a paddy sunset and pick up some tadi on the way back.
It was around 4 that Hari pulled out the Red Datsun go from it’s appointed garage space and on to the road again. Pabla and I hopped in and we were off.
The next thing I remember is the car zipping through a thin strip of pitched road running amidst unending stretches of paddies on both sides. Sunlight pouring down from the sky on the left, endless blue skies all around and water logged fields.
The paddies are strange. They look like one can walk on them but really you can’t. Instead you have the ballom to navigate this amphibian terrain. A thin wooden canoe that can bear the weight of one man who then propels himself forward, backward or sideways with the help of a long bamboo stick.
The paddies are home to ducks. Flock of ducks to be precise. Hundreds of them, white and brown and constantly quaking in their adolescent tones. Most of them stand halfheartedly on the banks in a diagonal slant and the moment you inch closer to click a picture they slide into the water one, plop, two, plop three, five, tens, twenties, all of them plopping into the water and paddling away with all their might. A perpetually shifting formation under the setting sun.
This isn’t the only live performance at Eara village. A sunset over the paddies is itself quite a spectacle and I consider myself to be quite lucky to have spent that one evening aimlessly sitting and watching the sky reflected on that expanse of half land half water.
Keep aside a good two hours to watch this orchestra of colours – all imaginable shades of greys, blues, reds and yellows.
Across the paddy I see a cluster of houses, pink walls with brown doors, shielded from direct view by the shady leaves of banana trees. A couple of buffaloes tied to the corner are being fed. A man emerges from indoors and empties a big container before the buffaloes and they get busy eating.
I get busy with the camera and then just patiently endure the unchecked wind blowing in from all directions messing my hair under the pink no purple no orange skies. The skies are never the same. Not for a minute.