It was just another day in the village (a short story)

I wrote and posted this in August of 2012. Just found it and thought of re-posting it. It is from the memory of my childhood. Enjoy!!

Thick coconut groves interspersed with mango trees, cashews and jackfruit filled the landscape. Fox, mongoose, and a wide variety of birds, insects, and reptiles lived in the dense darkness of these landscapes safely, undisturbed by humankind. The hot wind blew singing songs of enchanted land, smelling of fragrant wild flowers and sounding of temple bells. Sun shone bright and radiant up in the sky. The open expanse of the green paddy fields with its narrow pathways running through them echoed infinite depths of silence. Streams flowed shamelessly through the woods. It was summer, and life was in full bloom.

 The paddy fields were full of women knee deep in the mushy waters, happy and loud. They were dressed in bare minimum clothes – colored blouses on top, multiple wraps of long cotton cloth around their waists tied into a knot, and their heads were covered with cotton towels to escape the heat of summer. Their dark bare stomachs and long arms stood out against the whiteness of their waistclothes. They were bent down into the fields picking out weeds. Some of them were busy conversing about the latest gossip in town, the others were laughing out loud at some joke and then there were some who were singing folk songs in unison. Joy was around.
 
            There she was, the little girl – hopping, humming, and walking through the little pathway. She looked happy and content. Her arms swayed shamelessly around. She was visiting her grandparents for summer.  Most of the year, she lived in the city lost in the concrete jungles of big tall buildings, roads, noise and so many people. Everyone was busy there. No one had time for a little girl. She loved it here. Everything spoke to her, including the grass in the field. She was happy here. The little girl’s feet unknowingly moved to the rhythms of the singing women as she tried to balance her walk on the narrow pathway. She didn’t notice the women and the women her.
 
            And then out of the blue, one of the women saw her. She waved out to the little girl and asked her to come closer. The little girl was shy. By now, the other women were also up straight and looking at the girl with smiles on their faces. The girl shyly walked towards them. One of the women asked her, “Hey little girl, you are not from here, are you?” The little shook her head in a “no”.
            “Who’s child are you?” one of the woman asked. “Where do you live?” asked another. The little girl pointed to a house in the distance and spoke in a low voice, “I am Balamani’s daughter. We are visiting for summer”.
 
            By now, the women had gathered around the girl, their feet wading in the waters of the field. Many women nodded in recognition of her house. They knew her family and also, her grandparents. They looked at her in admiration, and started to speak all at once:
 
“Oh! You are Balamani’s daughter! Are you?”
“She is Parvathi Amma’s granddaughter”
“You are such a beauty. Isn’t she a beauty?”
“Oh! Look at her dark eyes!”
“She looks like Bhagawathi herself has descended on the land!”
“Balamani is so lucky! The Goddess has come to her home”
 
As the women spoke and commented, the girl’s eyes opened in deep wonder. She looked amazed at these women. She had seen them often but never paid much attention. Now they looked so beautiful and content. And as she looked deep into their eyes, she began to expand and expand and expand. Her awareness grew by leaps and bounds. She looked more beautiful and radiant like the morning sun, fresh and crisp. She was shy and yet, there was a deep strength that arose from within. Something in her had changed. She was becoming. And then, it happened.
           
            She became Her.
            She was the paddy field that the women were standing on.
            She was the wind that was blowing through their hair.
            She was the bird that was flying overhead.
            She was the coconut tree swaying in the wind.
            She was the mongoose, peeking out of the bush to see what was happening!
            She was the Earth looking back at the women.
            She was the Goddess gazing into Her own reflection.
            She was Beautifully Powerful and 
                          Powerfully Beautiful was she!
 
And then, the very next moment, she was the shy little girl again. Embarrassed and laughing, she turned around and ran back towards her house. Deep in her heart she had awoken. 
She knew that she was powerful because she was a girl. 
She was in love with these women. 
She was in love with the earth more than she ever was. 
She was in love with life.  
 
The women smiled to each other as they saw her run away, and got back to their work. It was just another day in the village.
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