Somewhere in the hills, some day past: The entire house is made of bamboo and wooden planks except the ceiling which is covered with a tin sheet. These cottages stand amidst a dense greenery of trees, bushes, flower hedges and thickets of bamboo. The trees are tall and numerous. The leaves on them are thin and small like green twigs and gathered at the top. The branches are so arched that from far the conifers look like a flagpole of some Buddhist monastery. The wind is cool in the shades and refreshing in the sunlight. The sunlight itself is fazed and provides a creamy yellow hue to everything that it touches. There’s a sawed off trunk in the middle of the grassy stretch.
I sit on the butt of the trunk watching a nearby tree shed it’s leaves as the wind stirs it now and then. The sunlight paints the tree’s leaves into numerous shades of yellow and green. And when the wind shakes them they start to glitter. Suddenly there is a stir in the nearby bush. I think it could be a monkey or even some wild animal considering the vast forest into which this semi-cultivated scenery descends. I can’t make out what it is. But there is a continuous sound of thumping. I get a bit anxious. There was a creature out there but what kind it was, I didn’t know. And unknowing mostly leads to uneasiness. But at the same time I didn’t want to stray away from this serenity that was all around. So I kept my ears open and eyes fixed on the bush, hoping that whatever it was will go away after finding a rhododendron or a worm or whatever it wanted. I kept looking at the bush.
After a few minutes, I found out that it was a woman cutting grass with a scythe and dumping them on the ground after bundling.
She was dressed in a blue sweater and a red skirt or saree with broad floral patterns on it. Her head was covered with a red scarf. I was so relieved to find that it was just a person behind the bush. Aren’t we all relieved when outside our gates, it’s a living breathing person and not a wolf or a sabre-toothed tiger or a wolverine? I hope so. The day we start fearing people behind our closed doors, that will be the day when we can remove all the pretences of civilisation. Oh wait! We already do that. At least in Syria, Kashmir, Palestine and a few other places this has been happening as I hear. They would rather let in a wild minx or monkey than a human.
Anyways, let’s not talk all that stuff. It’s long, boring, tragic and real. And nothing beautiful as the sight of a tiny woman cutting the grass on a big mountain with even bigger focus. She was so engrossed in cutting of the grass as if she was painting or composing a sonnet. There was a strange calm around her. Her scythe went to and fro, slashing the green fibres sharply out of the earth as if she was a piece of perfect clockwork. The shrinking of her brows, the vibration of her body and the swing of her hands were in rhythm with the movement of the scythe and the splitting of the grass. It was a touching scene: a live painting that called out for freezing it in the vaults of eternity. Maybe this is what Wordsworth had felt when he met his Solitary Reaper, this minus the beautiful tune that she sang.