You know how when you go to Goa or Kovalam or walk across the sands in Digha or Rishikonda, you can close your eyes against the sun and sand and still know where you are by the ceaseless sound of wind combing through the papery needles of casuarina leaves?
Well, if you do, then you know what most nights feel like in a house on the shoulder of a hill in a suburb by the sea at the bottom of Australia. The wind is constant, whether it is cooling us in summer or trying to blow us down in winter. It rushes up the hill from the sea, ruffling the tame little river on its way and picking up eucalyptus leaves and scents as it rolls over the trees.
Last night the house decided to play at this with the wind. Or it was sleep playing tricks with me; either way, the high moaning was joined by a deeper groan every so often and it was quite a performance. I lay in bed wondering whether it was keeping my mother awake and hoping it wouldn’t rain when it was time for the university goer to leave home around seven. Every now and then there was a thud somewhere and the ‘jugalbandi’ or duet even had rain tapping against the window to keep time.
This morning, I find the university student gone, the shift worker back home and the grandmother asleep after a restless night. Life goes on, fuelled by coffee and kindness in the form of a back rub offer. Life is good.