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Gems of ‘Gaadha Saptshati’ (1)

Rain used to come to the village like a sage, as a well-wisher bent upon bringing all good things along with him, walking slowly, measuring his own steps.  Under the darkness of the clouds floating above, the entire landscape would appear as if shadowing itself out in preparation to take the royal bath, the yearly showers.  The touch of the wind would change all of a sudden, amid the chirping of the birds the initial sprinkle will fall and benedict the soil.

In exhilaration, the earth would make repeated exhales and people would smell the soil in anticipation of the impending downpour.  The sage had entered the homes by now and in all probability, he would not leave the village for another week or ten days minimum.

‘Musuru’ is the Telugu word, which means many things in the village life. Firstly, it means the ‘sage’ I have described above. Then it means a spell of continued rain, not full rain but only in drizzles of some force at times in between.  It means muddy roads and muddy feet, it means smeared wet clothes, it means swollen river, it means dampened thatched huts, it means earthworms and it means wet firewood that does not catch fire easily and make women toil to make them burn.  It means lots of leisure for men in village. For this ‘Gaadha saptashati’ man named Bhimasami it also meant poetry as he watched his wife struggle to make the firewood catch fire on a similar rainy day. The ‘muse’ took upon him, seized his imagination and the following ‘gaadha’ emanated:

‘ramdaNakamma NivuNiea / maa joorasu rattapaaDala suandham/
Muhamaaruam piamto / dhoomaai sihi Na pajjala e’                      (2-24)

  ‘Oh my beloved and expert in cooking food
Stop blowing into the firewood so hard;
To swallow the fragrance of your breath some time more
The Fire-God, Agni, delays the firewood catch fire.’

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