A bit teasingly, almost as a kind of forewarning by which to justify Jaipur India the poaching they would commit on his land, when Jaipur India they would meet that amiable old man they would ask him: “Good evening compare, have the figs begun yet?” And he, visibly annoyed, Jaipur India without stopping and without looking at them, knowing full well what Jaipur India those sons of a gun were about to do, would continue walking repeating several times: “The figs have begun, the figs have begun.”
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His rather irritated words would be submerged by the group’s laughter, until then held back with some difficulty, as all of them proceeded towards the fig trees, now unattended.
In the past, when he still lived in the village and witnessed the departures and the emptying out, he would be caught by a sort of bewilderment. He felt lost. “What will I do? How will we pass the time?” he would ask, and would dream of leaving without even knowing where to go, or what his destination was to be. He didn’t leave because of necessity but because the emptiness of the village and the flux of people going away saddened him.
Now he chose to return to the village a bit before the day of the feast, when the crowds were still there and the great throng of migrants had arrived from all parts of the world. He would linger more than a week so that, with all possible ease, he could pay his respects to the people he hadn’t been able to meet and to understand what the village had really become. Summer plays tricks on people: It confuses them. Everyone acts as if they had something to be cheerful about, or to be mad, happy, nostalgic. They take on the role of the person who has left or of the person who has stayed behind, or of the person who returns because he or she has no choice or who remains because he or she has no choice.