Friday, February 22, 2013

Ilamai enum poongatru

You’ve come back earlier from college and changed into your casual clothes. You are standing outside the gate to people watch and wait for the milkman so you can have your tea which your mother or sister will make. It’s around 4 pm, and the street is not exactly teeming with people. There are kids going back from their schools, chattering, laughing, swinging their bags and lunch boxes. The college goers consider it beneath their dignity to carry lunch from home. Not cool to be seen with packed lunch as it won’t make the right impression on the girls you never had the courage to talk to. Or ever will. By the time your job and bank balance gave you the confidence, you were all grown up, married, in another country as were the girls. That’s how it went. Presently the milkman comes on his bicycle, carrying a huge aluminium can on the carrier at the back, with thick ropes holding it in place. In front, around the handle bars, there are smaller cans and measuring cans. He gets down, leans the cycle against him to balance it, opens the tap on the can and pours milk into the steel vessel you hold under it. The fresh, cold milk fills up to the brim, sending a cool wave through the palms of you hand, contrasting with the warmth from the street which is still absorbing the heat from the settling sun. Then as you look up to turn around to go back in, there’s the girl you see quite regularly. Pretty, tall for her age, and looks the quiet type. You wait till she passes you by, then walk in, holding the cool vessel. The radio plays this song which you’ll remember for a long time.

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