< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019

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Hema Ravi
Chennai, India


A passing car lifts a cloud of dust and the old woman sitting on the bench sneezes loudly. Her hat flies off and falls on a clump of dry grass. A child comes running, picks it up and passes it to her as the startled crows return to the gul-mohar tree. Shallow cement water bowls, placed along the sidewalk for neighborhood birds and mongrels, now hold only puddles burning with sun. A water tanker passes and sweat-covered faces smile. In every parched eye, a glimmer of hope reigns as they glance at the distant horizon.

sudden summer rain
toothless old woman
does a jig

Author's Note: In 2019, while several cities in India were ravaged by incessant rains and floods, the city of Chennai faced one of its worst water crises. It was the latest in a series of natural disasters that had plagued the city. A deluge in 2014 was followed in 2016 by "Vardah," a cyclonic storm that uprooted thousands of trees. The deficit rainfall for two subsequent years led to this pathetic situation: The city's water sources ran dry.