Evening brings you to the magic circle of its sound:
the chirping of chicks, hens clucking,
the little stream jumping down the rocks,
the alarm in the koel's call,
the muffled footsteps of young girls
the clang of my grandmother's wooden sandals
as she shuffles up the incline,
the ringing bells from the altar,
the repetition of holy names,
and the deep call of the boatman
that echoes from the hilltops.
Sweet, warm smells from the bakery waft up
and we are served sugared green tea
with cinnamon, cardamom and almonds
sitting on rugs in the verandah facing the altar.
The lake begins to prepare for repose
as the last shikaras slide on the surface
punctuated by the dull sounds of the oars.
On rainy evenings the water sloshes down
along new channels from down the hill's slope
and spouts out of a thousand little crevices on the surface
bringing the boil from the secret chambers of the mountain.
And I wobble on my wooden sandals
over deep mud
to get the corn for our chickens
shivering as the cold wind gathers
under my loose shirt.
In the sacred spring the fishes
and the crows linger forlornly
on the ancient stones.
Birds, fishes, animals on the slope
have no regrets
they fear only for their survival,
we are burdened by our old memories.