The Notes of a Bucolic Romancer

We are definitely up for climatic upheavals. The Siberian forests are burning. Forest fires blaze for weeks in North America as well. These forest fires, within a span of few weeks, have unleashed as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as entire India does, from all sources, in a year. Mother Nature is continuously sounding the alarm signal but we have taken it for granted. So here we are busy in petty fights over business, weapons, nationalities, alliances, religion, caste, politics, race and ethnicities. Meanwhile, the degradation of our natural resources goes unchallenged.

Many rulers have gone to New York to attend the UN General Assembly session. It’s a very nice outing at the most, especially after almost two years of incarceration when they took virtual diplomatic pot-shots from the confines of their offices and residences. My advice is please don’t get too excited. Take it as a nice holiday break only. This world is far better with ‘at-ease’ rulers. The moment they get agitated, it’s we the poor subjects who bear the consequences.

The ruling Talibs of Afghanistan are feeling let down because their representative can’t enjoy a trip to the big place. I think they have a big space to manoeuvre their way into the international body. It needs a very little step. Appoint a woman UN representative for Afghanistan. Then watch who has the guts to deny you entry into the UN. But probably they are even more scared of the free, independent, educated Muslim women than the idol-worshipping kafirs.

China is just round the corner of again getting angry at the United States. ‘Why do they have the entire UN headquarter to themselves? We also have nice cities and ready to host the UN sessions,’ the irritated spokesman is just about to say any day. If they don’t say this, I would compliment them for their patience and understanding.

You just cannot enjoy the show on other’s premises, nicely smirking over the fence. The spectacles spread like wild fire, especially if the spectacle-couriers are around. There are plenty in the village now, by the way. Have you ever seen a good monkey? The term doesn’t apply to their species. At least among the rhesus monkeys you can go to the earth’s end to find a well-behaved one. You will return empty handed. So the spectacles that I have been gleefully not only watching but writing about also creep to my premises.

There has been a very busy rainy season this year. Even the ever-thirsty farmers are folding hands under the clouds to spare the paddy that has been sloshed to the nostrils. ‘It will drown and die!’ they plead. Water is everywhere, it’s there in puddles in the streets, in the huge village pond, in the canals flowing around the village, in paddy fields, you just name it and there will be some water.

So who is still crazy for water? It’s the big alpha rhesus rascal. His pride and vanity has been propped so high, after producing many dozens of tiny rascals, that it now feels itself entitled to bathe and drink A-grade water. It’s a huge monkey with plenty of strength in its hands. The broken water tank lid on the roof is enough testimony to his strength. My neighbour witnessed the spectacle today just like I had witnessed his best white shirt being turned into a retirement piece. ‘After breaking the cover, he stooped down to drink some water and then jumped into it to bathe,’ he repeated the delayed telecast of the incidence.

There I stood helplessly watching the scene of crime. At the other end of the terrace, the bather shook off its fur to get into action for some more acts of the same kind. Hadn’t he growled the other day, ‘I will see you some other day!’ I should have remembered.

A lot of work awaits me now. The tank has to be cleaned and the cover fixed. So thinking better of saving my energies, I get to the task. What is the use of getting involved with such hooligans? They are absolutely free to be ever-busy in petty as well as big crimes.

I feel like giving in and work with a sad visage. I don’t even have the spirit left to shoo away the offender’s kid, a tiny chit of a monkey who must have clapped as its father showed him how to bathe in clean waters. The rascal junior took away the sole guava, which I had seen early in the morning, well hidden among the leaves and promising a good tasteful bite. The rhesus brat rolled away with its eatable ball.

My pride is wounded. Why carry pride at all if it gets wounded? I reflect over this and decide to be more humble.

The peacock looks lithe and smart. It moves easily and takes a longer flight to land on the terrace. It has shed its plume. The burden of love, the huge load of shiny feathers to woo ladies, gone and here it is roaming around carelessly. It seems to be enjoying the real fun of life. Gone is that tension and agitated sense of purpose. When it’s dancing with its load, it does just for the pea-hens. Now it moves around of its own.

Love seems to be pretty burdensome as judged from this episode. There should be a passion for life in totality. Love is just a nice part of living joyfully. And don’t be crazy about anything or anyone in particular. I think a reasonable amount of self-love does wonders to one’s quality of life. It’s the bedrock of all other expressions of love, be it relationships, arts, hobbies, careers, everything in fact.

The jingling notes in the silverbill nest are higher now. It means the hatchlings are plumper. The barn-kitten has fallen in love with the jingling music above in the branches. It’s another matter that he wants to taste the music as well. I hope his neck doesn’t get a sprain due to the continuous upward ogling. The doormat-kitten has turned lazier by several notches. There is a high risk that if I take away the bowl, he will howl himself to death. He survives by continuously looking at it. What a focus?

The neighbourhood simpleton goes lumbering like a kind elephant in the street. We call him Bo. There is no rhyme and reason why he is christened as such. He is big in body and very light in head. A wonderful state to be in! He looks so relaxed! His sole target seems to become the one who smoked the most number of beedies in life. So most of the time he comes along as a rolling, rumbling steam engine puffing out smoke with the exception that he doesn’t give sparks. He has no fire, he is so cool. O yes, I remember now. He gets some odd sparks sometimes.

There is another simpleton at the other end of the village. Our simpleton gives angry sparks the moment he sees the rival in our locality. He runs after him, remembering that the encroacher does the same if he goes to their locality. A war of turfs, I suppose. They have divided the village in two parts and rule over their respective territories according to their simple, easy, relaxed guidebook of life.

Bo is a class of his own. He can continue eating without realizing that one’s stomach has limits. His massive legs sometimes carry scars of injuries. He just rolls up his pyjama. That much he does, of course. The rest of the issue is handled by Mother Nature as his scars heal like elephant wounds despite the entire spoilsport played by the fleas and all.

He walks with his hands crossed, not on his chest, but on his back. He is not interested to take on anything upfront by crossing hands across his chest as most of the non-simple types do. He simply lazily lumbers ahead and will see through you as if you are a ghost and he hasn’t seen you. Greet him in the sweetest or the shrillest manner. It’s the same to him. He is unaffected. But he has blessed me with some rare greetings a few times as we crossed each other in the street. ‘Kya haal hai!’ he would say and move on without waiting for any return of expression. Well, he is in a league of his own, just because we don’t know much about their version of perception of the world, we call them simpletons. But who knows, maybe they are more joyful than most of us.

Bo is seen coming down the street. Wait, he gives his rare fiery spark! Is the rival from the other quarter around? He surely is around, just that it’s the red-bottomed and pink-balled rhesus alpha male. Bo takes him as a rival in his territory and throws a big piece of brick at the target. The ruffian simian jumps over and vanishes away. The brick smartly hits the streetlight fixed at the corner of a house. The monkey has ensured that the tiny square will go dark for a few days at least. Bo doesn’t give any reaction as I look first at him and then at the broken light and repeat the same a few times. ‘Kya haal hai?’ he graces me with his greeting. ‘Bahut badhiya,’ I say. I seem congratulating him on his perfect aim at the streetlight. But then he has already moved on. I am happy that big Bo has taken the monkey king as a rival. His bottom will be swollen and redder any day.