Sunrise over Kodigehalli

Kausalya supraja Ramapoorva sandhya ...

From someone's home, the speakers blare M. S. Subbulakshmi's recital of Venkatesa Suprabhatam. I'm walking on my way to a barber in Kodigehalli. The Sun's orb is visible over the skyline, white and glorious as it pierces the fog. A spider's web gleams with dew, and the sun seems trapped in it. The eternal and the ephemeral are for a moment, one.

I pass through fields of freshly harvested ragi; and the smell of the dew, of grain and the earth fills the nostrils with hope. Far off, across the fields, lies the exurb of Kodigehalli, framing the lower margin of the firmament with irregular, low-rising terraces of its houses.

The sun rises higher in the heavens, dispelling the fog. On the opposite corner of the sky, the moon wanes. His once silvery disc is now dulled, and he retreats westward, as if in shame. I see the railway crossing now, and soon a train emerges from the distance. Its engine whistling, the blue-liveried express hurtles on its way. An ancient romantic sight lived by every true-blooded Indian.

I cross the railway, and enter Kodigehalli. Hard mud roads that have weathered many seasons. Fresh wood-and-dung smoke in the compounds of the houses, as hot water is heated for baths. Chickens scamper across the street, and of course, the cow is there. A bus meanders by, swallowing the road, and threatening pedestrians. Commuters, sitting inside or hanging by the windows, hail familiar faces outside.

The tea-shop is open for business, doling out hot, sweet and dark milky tea to the menfolk, gathered around a Kannada newspaper. A few stray dogs linger, on the lookout for yesterday's leftovers. The barber's business is brisk. I have to wait my turn, on a chair with its upholstery coming off, while I try to read a Kannada fim glossy. The radio blares. Kannada film music is playing on it, some classics of the yesteryears. For one of them the barber stops to listen in joy, and then his face falls when the next song is from some new film. He doesn't like synthesizer music, and triggers a massive debate among his customers.

I step out of the barber's, to look for a place to eat. Hot bisi bele bhath for breakfast, with a tumbler of rich Coorg coffee (without chicory). Then back to my room, have a bath, and then to office.


Braveheart said…
What is 'bisi bele bhath'? I guess bhat means rice, which it does in hindi too. The rest, I don't know. Lovged the latter half!

-- Akshaya

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