It was a Happy Morning this Sunday.
The day started with a spectacular sunrise. Rushing to the terrace, camera at the ready, I pointed and shot continuously for nearly ten minutes. I captured the view, but what of the many other things that lent color and flavor to those moments and made the sunrise so spectacular?
I wish I could have captured the chilliness of the stiff breeze. I wish I could have created an experiential awareness for you with my words to show you how the chill, brisk wind slid under the strands of my hair and made my scalp prick with goose-bumps. I wish there was some way I could show you the mad twittering of the birds which rose like a thick mist from a berry tree on the vacant plot next to my house. I wish i could have bottled the aroma of those berries which reached me two floors high.
This berry tree is heavily laden with fruit these days. Come morning and there is a huge collections of birds who come to feast on the goodness. Those who have their nests in their brambly thickness glare askance at the freeloaders. i shouldn’t wonder if many an altercation is born in the early hours. To me of course, it all melds together and appears magical musical.
I wish I could give you a taste of the freshness of the dawn. There was something very special about the dawn today. Perhaps because it isn’t as cold as it has been for the past few weeks. I could smell the vitality in the air. Spring is here, I thought to myself; the sap is rising and Life is already on the dance floor, having donned her dancing shoes.
He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.
~ Jack London
Having clicked a bunch of photos, I came downstairs to find that the kids were up. We debated about going for a drive (since I can drive now). On an impulse we decided to go to the wholesale produce market next to the ghat (river bank with stone steps going down to the edge of the water).
This vegetable market is special. This is where veggies grown by the banks of Narmada are sold. Grown on the silt the river brings in at monsoon, with minimal chemical use and irrigated with the Narmada’s own waters, these veggies taste like nothing on earth. They sell at a premium at the main vegetable wholesale market of Jabalpur. I am yet to come across a cucumber that was bitter, a bottle gourd that wasn’t super soft in it’s silkiness or a tomato which didn’t have a mouth-watering, tangy aroma.
The market was once exclusively a wholesalers market. You couldn’t buy anything less than a paseri (five ser– slightly less than five kilos). Recently though, they have begun to sell to retail customers too. Ever since I found that, I’ve been itching to go. Today was my chance.
The mandi (local market, usually wholesale) is held in a clean, concrete enclosure the size of a football field. Shiny spinach, fragrant fenugreek leaves, young and tender beans, glowing eggplants, aromatic coriander leaves and the sharply spicy green chillies that would make you spin if you so much as sniffed at them deeply. Cabbages, cauliflowers, capsicums, turnips and carrots… and yes… radishes almost as long as your arm! Such profusion! I wish I had taken my camera- or my phone!
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
Once done at the mandi, we went down to the ghat. At seven in the morning, the ghat was waking up. Those who make their home by the side of the road had all lighted their little wood fires and started cooking their first meal of the day. From a corner wafted the aroma of crushed garlic and green chillies being fried. It mingled with the whiff of wood smoke and the mossy scent emanating from the river. The multi-layered bouquet made me ravenous- and not just for food!
The river looked intensely blue and serene as always. Colorful decorated boats bobbed about as the water caressed them with soft plops as it swirled past them on its journey to the Arabian Sea. The Gurudwara on the far bank was pristine white. People had already started reaching there, crossing the river by boat. Everything was quiet. The Narmada flowed on with serene detachment.
I have drunken deep of joy,
And I will taste no other wine tonight.
~Percy B. Shelley
How long we sat there, quietly watching the river flow past, I don’t know. She mesmerizes me, this mother of mine. When I sit with her, time has no existence. Moments melt into each other and each of them feels as continuous as eternity. After many such eternities, we returned home- the kids and I.
Such a Happy Sunday Morning!
Happy Sunday Morning
Love how you’ve described everything around you, Dagny. The simplest things are often the most joyous, no?
P.S. The chillness of the breeze – yes, I feel it:) Through the magic in your words
And I wonder why I don’t do this more often. I live barely half a KM away from the ghat! <3
Well, better late than never, no? 🙂
More like better occasionally than never at all… 🙂
Or in this case, better ‘less’ than ‘none’ at all 🙂
You did show us quite a few of those things through your words, Dagny 🙂 But perhaps, the experience of it would be a thousand times better for you than it would be in our imagination. 😀
All you have to do is to come over and you needn’t rely on your imagination alone. Thank you!
Soon, I hope 😀 Will send you a telegram when I’m headed that way.
Telegram! Haha… irony by Gawd!
This post is a gem! An absolute gem. All those pictures you paint with your words…aaah….food for the soul, really. Only a sensitive soul like yours can describe all this experience in this way. Absolutely loved reading this! And while the whole thing reads like poetry, for me the line which really reflected your deep sensitivity to all that surrounds us is this – “Those who make their home by the side of the road….”
Beloo, only you catch the unsaid in my posts and I’m not surprised at all. You would. You read with such attention and love… you connect with me so well… that you would naturally grasp the unacknowledged in my thoughts. Thank you! You make me look and feel great! <3
And thank you for making my Monday morning start with such a ‘live’ Sunday morning post !
There is so much life in everything that you described. I envied you while reading this post. Didn’t know that such places existed in the middle of India. I thought such blessings were reserved only for the North and South of India !
And there is a vacant plot next to yours ? This Mumbai girl was taken aback in disbelief ! You are lucky once more, if gold diggers aren’t already trying to gobble up that piece of land trying to convert it into a money making venture, in terms of either a high-rise or a mall, as so commonly has been happening in Mumbai. I can’t recall any vacant land in Mumbai, nor such a divine heavenly sounding place such as a ‘ghat’ or a river. Such irony, to think that Mumbai was once an archipelago comprising of seven islands, to begin with 🙁
Taheseen, I think you should seriously think about visiting me someday soon. Jabalpur is a small town and it still has vacant plots… AND farms… in the middle of the main city. It is a green city. For us, the Narmada is a mother. We never enter her waters with our footwear on. All her ghats are spiritual centers… none more so than the ghat I live on… Gwarighat.
Mumbai… yes Mumbai has turned into a soul-less city. Metro it calls itself. Ha!
Need I tell you how thrilled I am to see you here? It’s been long… <3
It’s touching to know how you revere the Narmada. Indeed your post is inviting and you have spiked my interest in visiting Jabalpur, especially the area where you stay, closer to the ghat. Someday, inshaAllah.
I am also wondering though, while pitying the decline of Mumbai in every way, how did Jabalpur manage to remain nearly pristine with (and despite) it’s rich resources ? What stopped man from plundering the natural wealth of this place the way he has been doing elsewhere in ‘cities’. How different are people of Jabalpur from elsewhere in India ? Given this age of globalisation, when it is not difficult for man to reach anywhere, and with global influences penetrating every home especially through the idiot box, which is spreading it’s ideas along with vanity and greed, how has Jabalpur managed to retain it’s freshness ?
Taheseen, Jabalpur too has deteriorates. It seems fresh and unspoiled in comparison to other cities which are worse off. Jabalpur used to be a city of lakes…. huge lakes. Now there are barely 5-6 left…. from over 20. So things are bad for us too. 🙁
I see. It seems enjoying the scenery that you described made me myopic for some time, focusing only on what was shown 🙂
At least you have the ghats to enjoy though, and I hope you get to enjoy them even with your great grand-children 🙂 Please do make hay while the sun shines… if nothing else, at least you would have more stories to tell 🙂
After reading your post I looked up Jabalpur on wikipedia and read that Jabalpur has ‘hills with varied mineral content (which) are a popular destination for geologists and archaeologists.The city is surrounded by low, rocky, and barren hillocks.’ It may interest you to know that ‘jabal’ means hill/mountain in Arabic. The name maybe purely coincidental though.
You made it come alive Dagny – the sights, the sounds, the smells. Sounds like a wonderfully peaceful morning. That ghats need to be visited.
Thank you so much Tulika! Yes the ghats need to be visited. I don’t visit them often enough myself. I think I will make this a Sunday routine. Then at least I’ll go every week. 🙂
How I wish I too could capture the cool breeze, the feeling of joy when you watch the clouds burst in colors…
Loved the way you painted the whole marketplace with your words, the smeel of delicacies and the boats. A delightful read.
I am so pleased you could feel what I wanted to communicate. Thank you for giving me this feeling Rajlaxmi! 🙂
A simple feeling weaved in such a beautiful money filled with positive energy. Our emotions are our mojo:)
Our emotions are indeed our mojo… and our muse too sometimes. Thank you for coming by Vishal!
You know what, it felt like I was right there with you at every step. I could feel the breeze. I could hear the birds. I could smell the coriander leaves. I could smell the crushed garlic and chillies. I could also feel the water in the river. You’re simply awesome Dagny! Love you. Now I want to come to Jabalpur and meet you right away. 🙂
Oh what an endorsement Rekha! You’ve filled me to the brim with happiness! The ease with which you came along with me on this trip is testimony to your own sensitiveness. I do hope you will visit Jabalpur again and that this time we will surely meet. Thank you for making me feel so awesome! <3
What a lovely description of a perfectly normal, perfect morning! 🙂
Congratulations on your driving! Isn’t it very liberating?!
Thank you dear Roshni! Being in charge of your own wheels is surely liberating. I’m lovin’ it! 😀
Having lived in that city for a few years, I can perfectly visualise all that you have described and experience them too 🙂 The connect that you feel with Narmada is what I feel with Ganga, perhaps because I had lived right on her banks even if for just some weeks.
I could especially empathise with your observation about those who live on the roads. I had done a feature for my paper long long ago, about just the things you have talked about — the everyday life of a street dweller and the aroma of food they cook 🙂
Loved the imagery, the vivid portrayal of the sights and sounds and yes,the way it made my lips curl upward in a smile that soon turned into a wide grin 🙂
Zephyr, there can’t be a greater appreciation for me than to know that I took you from a smile to a wide grin! 😀 Thank you! <3
How beautiful this experience was through your eyes and words. So happy to have read that. Last Sunday was so hectic for me. I was craving some extra sleep. It’s been so long since I got up at dawn.
Try next Sunday to wake up in time to greet the rising Sun. There is something magical about that time. The anticipation… the breathlessness… the excitement. 😀
Brought back fond memories of time spent at Hrishikesh mesmerized by the Ganga. Thanks for this beautiful post.
Welcome Chitra! Ganga at Hrishikesh! The water so fresh and chill, the ghat alive with people who go about with their eyes turned inward. I visited Hrishikesh when I was a girl… but I remember it vividly. I think there is something about the rivers… 🙂
How do you do this? Make the ordinary come alive? And such, that I lust to be there in that moment with you. And then I think, would I see it the way she does? Would I savour it the way she writes?
Dagny, you make me question myself. And believe me, not a whole lotta people can do that. I don’t give them that privilege. 🙂
Shine on, like the lonestar that guides each traveller to a different destination. One that they sought to travel. Hugs.
Oh Vini! Your comment humbles me! What a lovely thing to say! You’ve made my day for many weeks to come. I am deeply touched… and very grateful for this love. Hugs! <3 <3 <3