It is a very hot afternoon with blinding sunlight and a bright blue sky. Parched fields, many of them overrun with dunes, radiate heat. Under a stand of banyan and bo trees, men smoke, play cards, and discuss the drought. Not far is the village pond, now shrunk in size, where teenagers bathe their buffaloes and take a swim. Camels lazily feed on tiny leaves of babul, their ploughs idle.
In the main street a long queue of women waits in front of the hydrant for the one-hour supply. They are dressed in long blouses over long skirts, their thin cotton shawls speckled with yellow, orange and red. Heavy silver jewelry, with a touch of ivory and gold, glitters around their ankles, arms and neck.
in adobe shadows
toy carts and rag dolls
There is a buzz down the line as water begins to flow. Women leave for home; balancing full earthen pots on their heads with the help of a thick cloth ring. As the hour comes to a close, a fight breaks out between the woman filling her third pot and the one behind her. It starts with an argument, moves on to shrieked abuses and ends in hair pulling. The supply shuts down and the two furious women leave empty-handed.
late summer dusk -
spreads faster than night
The next day, people gather in two groups. Meetings and lengthy discussions take place. Tempers flare as the temperature rises, and the situation becomes tense. The warring parties arm themselves with sticks and sickles to take over the faucet.
dark clouds -
the embers in hookahs
published in 'Frog Pond, 2004'