“Coo-ooo, Coo-ooo, Coo-ooo……..Coo, Coo, Coo, Coo, Coo!!!!”
That was the sound I woke up to today. It was a blessed Koel, generations of whose family have made a home in the Gulmohur tree that grows just outside my bedroom window.
As you can see from the opening lines, my years of association with the Koel’s family have helped me master the cadence and the crescendo of its coo-ing. 🙂
This year the Koel was late, and I realised this only when I woke up to its coo-ing today. Normally, it starts its coo-ing as early as March, this year it made an appearance late in April.
One thing that has not changed is the time it starts coo-ing; a bright and early 4 AM!
Koel and its coo-ing is not the only thing I love about summer.
There are the lovely flowers that bloom all around. Yes, even in a concrete jungle like Mumbai, there are hundreds of flowering trees and shrubs. My favourite flower of all time is malli (jasmine). The lovely fragrance of jasmine always draws me to the flower vendors in the market. I simply have to buy fresh flowers all the time.
I do have a Jasmine plant growing in a flower-pot at home. I get a few dozen flowers from it every few days. 🙂
Unfortunately, this is not a call one hears anymore. 😦
It is the call of the itinerant mango vendors who showed up in summer, carrying petis of Alphonso mangoes. Straight from Ratnagiri, if you believed them.
As children, we would wait for this call as it meant crates of mangoes at home soon. We ate mango for breakfast, mango for lunch, mango for dinner, and at all times in between; unadulterated (no milkshakes and aamras for us, no, no!).
Our home used to be redolent with the aroma of ripening mangoes all through summer. If I close my eyes, I can picture how we used to carefully part the layers of hay to get to golden-yellow-with-a-pink-blush mangoes, all warm from being so carefully cocooned.
Now-a-days, I get a few mangoes at a time, in a plastic bag, from the local fruit vendor’s stall. No fun… 😦
Then there are the raw mangoes. I remember my mother and aunts gathering at my maternal grandmother’s home and making all those delicious pickles. Avakai, maagai, thokkudu pachadi, vadu manga, chundo,….
How can I forget the appadaalu (papads) and vadiyalu? We kids were strictly forbidden from straying onto the terrace where all the goodies were dried. But then, who was to stop us? Eating half-dried vadiyalu and mango pieces had its own charm. Yummmmm!
And of course, the cool and delicious malai kulfi….
The best part about summer vacations is that I could stay at home, and read all day long. My mother’s work place had a fantastic library run by the employee’s welfare association. As summer approached, I would beg Amma to collect library cards of all those going on vacation or those who were not going to use them. That is how I got multiple books to read in a week.
The other ploy was to scour the second-hand booksellers looking for great books.
Buying second-hand books meant more books for the bucks I got as pocket money!
Today, I can buy all the books my heart desires, but I have so little time to read.
Oh, for those simpler days…..