The Return of the Native

It must have rained really well to make everyone feel so happy, relieved in fact, after two days of heavy downpour. It rained so heavily that even the earthworms thought it was the mythical rainy cataclysm and started crawling into the house, abandoning their hideouts in the garden.

Tiny frogs seem to have literally fallen from the skies if you consider their sheer numbers. They can beat even the ants in numbers as of now. Either the God brew their seeds in the pools of clouds and dropped them on our heads or the frog couples have been extra horny on the earth this season. Well, they have taken over the garden and the ones who want better accommodation have crawled into the rooms and are jumping and hopping with full entitlement to the property. We have to walk very carefully. We are as much of intruders to them as they are to us. In their little minds the house belongs as much to them as we have the notion of ownership in our slightly bigger minds.

Fed up with excess waters, all seem to say, request in fact, ‘No more water at the moment.’ The sky is still cloudy but one can see the sun making a dent in the cloudy fabric to reclaim its kingdom. It cannot allow the clouds to rule the skies for too long because they are good as visitors only, make them permanent citizens and there will be a big problem. Well, not for fish and aqua life but definitely for we humans.

The air is fresh, cool and windy. It feels like a massive air conditioning unit is blowing after the preceding hot and humid weeks. The weather had turned so sultry and humid as to put a frown even on the most joyful faces. It has been really baking hot, moist and clammy. Global warming is a reality and we need to come out of our comfort zones and do something about it. If we miss it, the next generation may not have too many options to avert the consequences.

The rains thus have been very lenient this season. Even the prickly trees are decorated with lush green leaves to appear more presentable. They are no longer the crooked-nailed and quarrelsome old grannies. They are now buxom happy women of substance. Drunk with rain and nutrition, the branches sway to the song of air.

The butterflies have extra air in the wings and loop, curve, dive and lift themselves with the sweet nectar of the rainy season. The dragonflies go with more linear determination against the wind like an adamant drone. All seem out there to play after the rains.

The birds have raised a pleasant ruckus. A tailorbird couple is hammering their prickly sequence of angry notes to distract some predator from their leafy nest. A squirrel is busy in tik-tik chorus. Probably its bullying neighbour stole its nuts. An Indian Robin chips in with her coquettish glance and little squeaky note from a wire. The peacocks talk, screech and scream as the kings of the season.

A peacock is under a bigger risk during heavy rains because its big plume of tail feathers soaks so much water. When it rains too heavily, a peacock sits like a statue without moving. That is acceptance of the forces beyond our control. It knows this rainy blizzard is just an aberration. Once the storm is over, there will be blue skies to fly and sing at the top of its voice. They do the same now to the capacity of their lungs.

Coming to the peacocks, do you recall the peacock that sneaked into the kitchen when it was really hungry and after feeding it a couple of chapattis Ma would chase it away with her broom complaining, ‘You eat here and drop your plumes on the neighbour’s roof!’ Ma has departed for the journey beyond this plane of existence. It has been nearly 19 months since she left us. The peacock stopped coming after she left. It didn’t come even once during these many months. But here it is today staring into the kitchen. As I came near, it won’t run away. Immediately I knew it is Ma’s peacock. He hasn’t forgotten. They have better memories than we humans. I sat on a chair and fed it a chapatti and a sweet pancake. It ate from my hands. I had tears in my eyes. Probably, it can see what we cannot and still feels her presence here. Now it’s sitting contently on the parapet, its huge plume hanging down and its upper body lost in the neem and gulmohar branches above.

A laughing dove couple is seeking a suitable branch for making nest as a follow up to their courtship and acceptance of each other’s love. A stern-looking red-vented bulbul is feeding pulpy, rain-shod guava to her two young kids who are almost ready to take off of their own. Presently they follow their Mama across the trees. Their dependence has no meaning without her love. And her love cannot manifest without their dependence.

A forlorn pigeon looks languorously from its perch on a railing. Probably his girlfriend has abandoned him to fly more joyfully with merrier wings. Another pigeon is playing with the wind. It flutters against the wind, going flip-flop and ascends almost vertically and then abandons its feathery self to be blown happily with the wind to enjoy an orgasmic glide. Is it the happy goon who has taken away the forlorn pigeon’s lady? Well, you never know. Probably they also rub salt on each other’s wound like we humans.

Kitchens are turning busy. Various types of cooking smells waft as freely as the birds and butterflies. And that’s how the song of life proceeds to adopt another day with its tireless rhythm. All this makes this Sunday a real fun day.

Icing on the cake is Rakshabandhan, the festival of brother-sister love and affection. Rakhi is a beautiful reaffirmation of the unshakable sibling bond. Wish you all a beautiful Rakhi day! Brothers, give a pause to your habit of spending money on goonish follies and unstring your purse to give a bit more than you are willing to give to your sisters. Give them all you have, at least today. It’s their day. Beyond the customary money, give them the reassuring smile that you will be always there to help them realize their dreams.