Coming Home

The wind had picked up momentum, the trees swayed violently in the overcast skies. It was the start of the monsoon, all the elements of nature allowed themselves to submit to an entity larger than themselves. In this case to the onslaught of the first monsoon shower. Like a bottled genii let loose after centuries the monsoon wind rushed in every direction – trying to be everywhere at the same time. Rain fell and the sky was charged with the interplay of thunder and lightening that marked this June afternoon.

It was as if the whole world bowed done to the fury of the elements. Along with rain there were inch long hail stones that fell from the sky. Hail , thunder reverberating and occasional flashes of lightening reached a crescendo just as the heat had got to its highest peak.

Unbearable heat and then relief – a hail storm –it was the beasts of burden – those that were closest to nature that were not sure what was happening to ‘their’ world. They scattered helter skelter in panic, as golf ball sized hail stones started hitting the ground around them. The bulls pulling heavy loads in the bullock carts started running off the roads confused, seeking shelter from the onslaught of the skies. Hail followed by a heavy downpour giving life to a thousand rivulets simultaneously , brown and grey serpents appearing from no where – having a life of their own. It was over as suddenly as it began.

Then there was silence. The wind stopped and suddenly the sky cleared – brighter then ever before. The ground radiated and glistened in its clean avatar. Not only had it been washed and drained but the down pour had given the red laterite soil a sense of freshness and renewal. The smell of rain on the parched hot earth pervaded the whole area.

The villagers were happy. The monsoon had come in time. The prayers had been answered, this hot parched land had been blessed once more, the miracle of millions of tons of water coming from the faraway Indian Ocean had repeated once more. Now life was assured for one more cycle….There had been many pujas performed and prayers made to the Lord Ganesha. The benevolent God would ensure a good monsoon and bestowed a bountiful crop on all those who prayed in the temple and gave large offerings to the village priests. They prayed to Ganesha, the god of fortune and good tidings to bless their homes, livelihood and their existence.

Tendulkar had spent many years in Europe. World War 2 was eminent and he no longer wanted to stay in Germany. He had lived in Germany almost 17 years . But never for a single moment did he forget his country or his people. He was able to adapt easily to the European life style. The year was 1938, very few Indians traveled or lived abroad . It was his intention to study in Germany for a few years and return to India one day and to set up an industry. He had come back home to India with the dream of starting a business venture. Either the start of a factory be it cement or aluminum. The creation of something which was going to have an impact on hundreds of lives here after . The creation of something from just an idea to reality.

Tendulkar visited his village after many years. He had been away too long! The villagers were not sure whether he had been in the nearby town, although they were told that he had visited countries across the seas. Both equally inaccessible to the villager. The villagers first looked at him with suspicion and thawed considerably after his warm interaction and affectionate demeanor.

He told them “I have traveled across the seven seas but my heart has longed to be back where I belong. I have never stopped being one of you ! “ . They were fascinated with the black automobile he had brought back. He allowed the villagers to touch it and feel it. No one had seen an automobile before and when it entered the village the young children ran after it enveloped in a trail of red dust. Some were lucky …….they even get to ride in it.

Tendulkar introduced the farmers in the village to scientific farming encouraging them to use the latest cropping patterns. An agricultural scientist had been summoned to advise and guide the villagers on how they could improve their crops by using fertilizer along with the manure. The villagers trusted Tendulkar and therefore listened with childlike simplicity to what the agricultural scientist had to say.

“Tendulkar is one of us isn’t he?” …..

“………also born in the village?”

“Did n’t his Father and Mother live here? “

“He even went to school for a few years here in the village before he left and went away.”

“Now he has come back and he wants to help us.”

The leaders of the village would assemble at his house and listen to him. They trusted him and he had showed them how to coax mother earth to share her bounty with them. Now there was success and the farmers had a bumper crop of groundnuts and sugarcane – more bountiful then anything they had ever seen. They come to his house with baskets of fresh ground nuts and pails of fresh sugarcane juice and fresh vegetables, to thank him for his support!


Posted in Short Stories | Coming Home