His Stoic Endurance

K Radhakumar
A week of hot dry weather
Was followed by another, and then another.
It was beyond the local peasantry
Why there was no rain in the rainy season.
There was a bad harvest last year;
If there fields were not ploughed
And sown with rice now
There would be famine in the country
And thousands would face starvation next year.
‘Why don’t the Government come in on the situation
And declare a state of drought and do something?’,
The village elders pondered aloud.
The problem was discussed at length
In the village council on two occasions
And there was no simple solution to it.
The peasant farmers had been worried sick.

A light rain began to fall
In the early hours of yesterday morning.
The thirsty plants and fields wept for joy;
Days of hot weather came to an end.
The dry earth welcomed its arrival
And they were all smiles.

By evening the rain poured down;
The plants were dripping with water
And the country lanes wore a deserted look.
Rain was forecast for the next few days
And there was heavy rain all night.
It sent back echoes of
The croaking of toads from the country ponds.
The heavy rain filled the ditches and irrigation canals
Every nook and cranny of the country with water
And then the country river was in flood.
From drought to flood in quick succession!
Ah, the plight of the peasant farmers!

They were no strangers
To the joys and sorrows of adult life;
They had spent many long winters
And faced many hardships.
They had hardened their hearts
To pain and suffering
And their attitudes to life had hardened.
Cultured enough they were not to ask for
God’s intervention in their daily trifles.