Archive for February, 2010

Chennai Diaries

February 18, 2010

I am back in my homeland to escape the severe cold of Chicago. It is more humid this February than last year and the almond tree shed its red leaves in a hurry . The sweeper hardly had time to get the leaves out of the way so the nearby dogs would not pee on the piles long enough to leave a permanent ammonia stink as I walk past it. Now the tree is filled with the succulent, green leaves with sprigs of white  and light green flowers that will soon change to the almond pods. These pods look like green peaches and I can see a few as I get to the fourth floor verandah and see the higher branches of this massive tree.

Under the tree ,a whole family lives, ironing clothes for the neighborhood.  I have to restate that.  They do not live there, but settle down for the day, from, say, nine in the morning, till six in the evening. with their bundle of clothes. My mother and sister give them clothes for ironing and the young woman comes in with a big smile and carries the heavy bundle cheerfully back to her perch under the tree. She is the mother of the two sons who do most of the ironing along with her husband. She looks older than she really could be, perhaps beacuse she is out in the sun all day and her face looks weather beaten.  Right now the temperature is hovering in the late eighties and early nineties.  How will they feel when Chennai gets really hot in April, May?