coming back home every summer had become a default part of the yearly cycle. though she always wanted it to be everything else but it, nevertheless it was.
with the onset of scorching heat, she would find herself dragging the wheels of her suitcase on the dusty lane that lead home. some trees would have gained delicate new coppery leaves, and some would still be losing them; distant birds would be chattering sweet-shrill calls and she would inevitably find herself sitting on the veranda of the house whose walls had stood mute for a hundred odd years. just sitting there and waiting for it to get evening. and when it gets evening, she would wait for it to get morning. life in summer particularly felt like long waiting sequences interspersed with spells of sullen indifference.
and so like every year, she was clinking her cup on the saucer and telling herself, this is it. the sugar left an uneasy aftertaste. the one you try to scrape off your tongue by running your teeth on it.
for a certain while she wondered why nothing grew on the hill facing the house, and then took to her feet.
the earth had craked up like drought. the surviving creepers waited for the gardener's afternoon water-dash. the mild breeze filling her nostrils was dry enough to suck all the water off her lungs.
she walked barefeet, all around, in the channels that were dug out to water the plants, in the steps that housed marigold in winter, on the concrete around the banyan trunk, on the sand that has been brought to get the first storey done but had been forgotten eversince.
she walked until the dust getting into the cracks in her feet hurt and until she wet them in the water of the gardener's green hosepipe. she made mud out of it and soaked her feet in it and waited for it to dry.
later when the power went off, a darkness consumed the house. she sat by the window and stared out. and silence and darkness became the best of friends.