In spite of all this...

I am enjoying my extended Easter holidays at home, back in Kerala. I am also working from home, so to speak. Today when I told a friend about this, she asked me why am I based out of Bangalore when my job allows me to work from any place, as long as I am connected to the web. She said she would have packed her bags in no time if she had a job offer like this, to settle down in her village in Punjab. I told her the reason is the lure of leading an irresponsible, reckless and carefree life, away from the watchful eyes of the people who recognize and cares for you. She laughed at the remark and decided not to argue on the point or lack of it.

Later in the evening as I thought more about her question, I realized that it IS probably the only real reason for leaving such a serene, peaceful and beautiful place like my native, for a chaotic and pretentious city like Bangalore. I just walked inside the house, after an hour of fooling around with the dog in the rain. Walking in the rain is quite an impossible task in Bangalore, without a few raised eyebrows or even 911 calls. I have been in trouble in the past, for walking in the rain, in the city. I sat there in the front porch watching the rain and listening to the backup orchestra. The water hen family which lives by the stream started the chorus and the frogs soon joined in. The chimes on the willow tree did play a tune or two while the rain drops handled the percussion with the thunder. Imagine having a cup of black coffee in one hand, some hot snacks in the other, and watch the rain falling down. Throw in a little Sephardic music (Yasmin Levy, I say) if you may, and you can't be very far from Niravana!

For the past few days I always woke up to the local birds symphony. Trust me when I say this, it is quite a divine experience waking up to these shrill voices. I could identify at least half a dozen birds from their calls, right from the comfort of my bed, something I was quite surprised and happy about. There were Cuckoos, Coucals, Treepies, Drongos, Barbets, Water hens and Mynahs, all contributing a line or two for their version of 'We are the world'. The crows were always around and the Babblers come visiting a little later in the morning, like a restless gang of bikers. I have always seen them in groups of ten or fifteen, living up to their name and busy flying from one tree to the next. With the sun comes the Green Bee-eaters, Wagtails, Bulbuls, Sun birds, Weavers, Oriental Magpies and an occasional Minivet or Oriole. Owls, Red woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Barn Doves and Blue-ringed Parakeets also come visiting quite often. Once a while we get to see Hares, Mongooses and Monitor lizards here, in addition to the omnipresent squirrels.

We have two tenants living in our house. They neither asked for permission to stay nor are they paying any rent. On the roof of the first floor veranda stays a House Martin family. Their beautiful, neat and sturdy mud bungalow has been there for the last few years. This is more like a Winter residence for them; they come every year for a few months, repair the house, lay eggs, raise the young ones and the whole family flies away one fine morning. The Jasmine creeper next to the ground floor porch is the preferred spot for the Javan Muniyas to make their nest. Even they are not permanent residents. They make tidy and intricate houses with dried leaves and grass; just sturdy enough for one season. They are one big joint family with five to six members working on the house or caring for the young ones at any time. Though a few inches in size, the muniyas always make their presence felt with the continuous chirping.

There are always some fruit or other available, which is one of the reasons why more than 20 different types of birds are seen around all the time. Even after feeding all the Treepies, bulbuls, crows and squirrels, there are papayas available all the time. The Barbets and bats seem to be having enough and more to eat that the guavas are all left alone. Bananas and pineapple are available in plenty and so are the 'Bell Apples'. Now is also the season for tasty jack fruits. In short, there is enough for somebody to go on an exclusive fruit diet for a month and still gain weight! Climbing a guava tree, finding a comfortable branch to sit, plucking the guavas and eating them then and there - it is far more fun than what it sounds. None of the kids or parents worry that the unwashed guavas, with all the bird poop and dust on it, might cause allergies or stomach ulcers.

In spite of all these I prefer breathing the smoke-infested city air, enjoy being herded into shopping malls on the weekends like cattle, and writing useless blogs complaining about the things I am missing. Charles Kingsley knew this already when he said "We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

Sometimes things that seem small and mortal are in reality immense and divine, but can only be experienced in small and mortal increments !

1 comment:

james jerry said...

Hey you know what? we all know where is the right place for us but have made ourselves believe that what we are doing is the best thing coz its the in thing otherwise we all would be called uncool.
Anyways any day for your place in Arrakulam. You tempt me to leave all and just float.Let me check out with Infie if she will provide for me?

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