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  • In Mumbai, the city, waking up really early in the morning holds out so much more to the day, to my day. It’s so much better to catch the city when it has just woken, it’s much warmer, less suspicious, people still have a sense of humour.

    It’s funny how different the early morning in an Ahmedabad is in comparison, the people are so at ease with their every day routines, the old women in the street rush to meet at a friend's house to sing a few hymns to their favorite deity, the door held ajar by a stool hastily put in place. A woman leans on the railing of her balcony, combing her hair, she watches me stand at the door of the house below, taking pictures, she smiles.

    The old women finish their singing and hand out some prasaad* to me, flashing a fast smile my way as they head back hurriedly to wherever it is they came from. I’ve often thought of picking one of these old grannies and spending the day following them around their curiously busy days. They remind me of my own grandmother's routine in Quilon, central Kerala, a morning with her would mean she’d go look into the cow broth set on the wood fire in the outer kitchen (a delicious smell of wet earth-dry coal and burnt wood wafted out all at once when you stirred that broth), go get her basket and climb up a few yards up our rubber tree hill to pick some herbs (I could never figure if they were for the hair oil or for the kitchen masala). She’d take a quick look at some of the dry coconut holders collecting gummy latex from the rubber trees, and then, right there, still leaning against a tree with one hand, she'd give this wordless, wide eyed look to the high tree tops waving in the morning breeze for a moment before leaving.

    I’d follow her back down as she went to see if the dry hay had been set out for the little calf and get back to the kitchen in time for the fisherwoman’s visit. I’ve always wondered what it was exactly she thought of when she looked up at those treetops.
    Sometimes she'd look down into the well in the courtyard with the exact same expression.


    For now, I have to settle with early mornings elsewhere, and the secret lives of so many other silently whispering souls.



    *prasaad : blessed sweet meats handed out just after an invocation of a deity, the pooja
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