At the back of people’s minds was he feeling that the great Sankranti festival was still far away. But lo! It arrived catching them unawares! The mist that descended with evenfall wouldn’t disappear even till late forenoon the next day. Gauwally which was in a dale looked like something submerged in a tank of rice-gruel. The earth which had been a delightful riot of greenery was now a dull brown. Plants and trees which had started turning brown seemed to be heaving a sigh of resignation as though aware of the disaster that was about to hit them. Lands that were full of vigorous green grass now wore a barren look. The gigantic jaala tree that was situated on the tank-bund however wouldn’t succumb to any kind of cold. Lily-white flowers would grow all over it by the time the Sankranti festival came by, the tree itself transformed into a delightful, small, hillock of white flowers. The tree was indeed one of the wonders of Gauwally. The flower of the jaala was a must for all the threshing fields of Gauwally. No matter how many flowers you picked, the tree would never stand bare. Malegowda had also got a pile of the flowers.
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