It is not yet nine o’clock on a Sunday morning, so the little bird keeps singing. It is a complicated crowd of sounds, but the birdie belts it out effortlessly, every few seconds. Like a herald entrusted with the most important job in the world, it warbles earnestly, “The day has begun, and all its delights are once again in front of us! Wake up, wake up!”
Children instinctively heed its calls. From the living room of my parents’ 6th floor flat, I hear squeals ring through the air, as down below, in the society’s playground, kiddie cops catch kiddie thieves. Another set of voices is busy explaining the rules of a new made-up game. Swings creak happily.
Besides the children, I am aware that my mother is also up and about. Freshly bathed, she is in front of her gods, immersed in her private morning conversation with them. I smell a mix of jasmine and Mysore sandalwood when the incense wafts out of the prayer room towards me. She rings a small bell from time to time, as if one discussion point is over and a pact has been sealed between her and the gods. I peer over. She is trying to place a fresh marigold on Krishna’s head, but it keeps falling over. In a scolding voice, she talks to him and the flower, sit there, she commands, don’t be difficult, I have many things to do today. My daughter is visiting, I can’t spend all day with you.