It was a pleasant sunday afternoon. Sleeping lazily after a nice heavy meal, I was awaken by shouts of children playing cricket in the street. Waking up, I walked to the window and looked out. As he saw me at the window, the batsman exchanged smiles with me and continued on his game.
Sunday afternoons are the best time to watch 'gully cricket' in streets, where boys gather with a bat and a tennis ball to play the game of cricket.
Relaxing myself in a chair near the window, and resting my weary legs on the window frame I watched the batsman take position to face the next ball. As the ball paced towards him, the batsman cleared it square to a clean perfect shot. ;)
Madhavan ‘master’ is a local school teacher for the last three decades. Being one of the first literate of the sleepy backward village, he was looked upon with great respect.
A man with simple life, people recognised him with a clean white cotton shirt, and an equally white lungi. With a black handbag in his left hand and a long black umberalla (during monsoons) in the right, the man was a graceful sight to watch.
Every morning master would walk to his nearby school through fields, plantations, and muddy roads swinging his umbrella now and then. He has been using it ever since he became a teacher. In fact he was the first proud owner of an umbrella in the village.
The villagers at that time used to carry the traditional woven palm-leafed umbrella with a long wooden handle. Others simply used a broad banana leaf over their head. And some wrapped their heads with plastic covers. But master was the only one with a modern umbrella. People watched him with awe when he entered the street with the long, black wonder.
But today, the times changed. The sleepy village is now a bustling town, and every child in the school has his own umbrella. Some black, some colourful. Some attached with articles like whistles and torch lights. Even the size of the umbrella decreased drastically from walking stick size to pocket size.
But still master walked with his long black umbrella, … with hardly any watchers. .....