Hema Ravi (Women and Spring)

Photo Courtesy: N. Ravi

(Female Koel eating date plums in Gandhinagar, Adyar, Chennai)



Fly on the Wall…


Spring’s arrived earlier, the morning air’s warmer.

Warily bidding goodbye to the chill, people prepare

for prayers, travel, and spring cleaning –

Hema Ravi

The festive season is just around the corner.


Vibrant red, yellow, and magenta flowers

dot the urban landscape. In the garden,

a riot of colors – purple-pink, yellow,

white and scarlet-colored beauties greet

the butterflies, the bees, and the hasty passerby.

Clusters of tiny yellow-white flowers engulf

tender green leaves atop dense branches;

a few appear knobby too– Mangoes!


On the street, women adorned in vibrant reds,

greens and yellows choose the best quality

‘vadu-manga’* and ‘mahali kizhangu.’*

It’s also the best time for making

‘vadams’* and ‘papads’* –

perennial favorites of a multitude of people.


As the gentle sun comes up, the orchestration gets intense–

the persistent ‘coo-coo’ of the male Koel followed

by a shrill ‘kwik-kwik-kwik’ from the female in

reply: Yes, getting ready to invade, and lay our eggs!!

The ‘barks’ ‘screeches’ ‘snorts’ of squirrels, the competing

 ‘croaks,’ ‘squawks, chirps, clicks, ‘whistles’ and 'growls'

of mynahs, the raucous ‘caws’ and classic ‘coos’

of the ubiquitous crows and pigeons now dominant.


Everyone’s running hither and thither, all except me,

which is why, I’ve ample time to watch closely -

a female cuckoo noiselessly devouring

the date palms in the neighbor’s home…


Notes: *Vadu Mangai or the raw mango is an unripe variety of the mango – sweet, but pungent, often used for pickling. It is usually savoured with curd rice. in summers.  Similarly, ‘vadams’ aka wafers are prepared in large quantities, sun-dried, and stored for use throughout the year

Mahali is a root vegetable. In English, it is the Decalepis root. The mahali kizhangu has great medicinal value and it is a great appetizer and blood purifier.


Bio: Hema Ravi is a poet, author, reviewer, editor (Efflorescence), event organizer, independent researcher, and resource person for English language development courses.

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