And some birds chirp. Half heartedly. Half in fear, perhaps. Of some wisecrack setting off a Diwali cracker. At 5.30 in the morning, he has to be a wisecrack. Maybe something worse.
The mind wanders to the smaller towns and quieter villages. Occasionally yearning. The sounds of small town mornings are getting to be mirror the big cities.
However, the one sound that’s missed,that used to be so much a part of the wonder years, is the buzz around the ‘hand pump’. The pump still survives, and is very much in use. In many parts of the country.
It goes by the name of ‘Adi-pump’ ( loosely translated to convey : ‘The pump that you have to hit’).People gathered around it, taking turns to pump that long straight handle, up and down. Out would flow water.
Well, water was the obvious reason. Yet, the buzz about the pump was unmistakable. For it was the point of convergence. Of men. Women. Children. Worries. Desires. Jealousies. Love.
And all that went within the whorls of the human brain. Everything was on display. Something like the military showing off its ware at a Republic Day parade. The hand pump being a completely unrehearsed natural event !
Exchanged glances, the extra puffed chest, the ‘help’ of pumping an extra pot-full for the girl. The wail of the complaining wife. The empty boast of the loud husband. Family economics. National economics. Politics. Movies.
The shrill cry of laughter. The sharp spank. Drunk men. Loud women. Washing. The quiet ones. The shy ones. The cleanliness freaks. Gossip. Teasing. Preaching. Repartees. Kindness. Despair. Bonding.
Several strands of society converging. All pumping. When their turn came.
It used to be magical. Almost as though, the buzz was in the water that came out. And so, the metal clang used to be the wake up call. An interesting wake up call. The house needed the water. But more importantly, the local news came through the hand pump !
Some years earlier, the hand pump having an artistic arched handle was more common. Like this.
That’s the journey. It seems. First things are straightened out. And then, they are replaced. These days, there is electricity. Motor pumps. And a battalion to keep the arm at the end of the hand, from going beyond making the odd noise at the keyboard.
To all those that talk about the buzz in the community gone. Or cry shrill about our panting news anchors on TV, and the ‘awesome’ editorial content of newspapers. And to those that hit the snooze button of the alarm clock…
Perhaps its time to try the hand pump !
Oh yes. The water. That’s a bonus.