Tired, fatigued, pale sunrays kiss the treetops like a very old person blessing a young life with a kiss on the forehead. And the evening twilight arrives with its peaceful delight. It brings a sense of completion, of reaching home, of ripening, of getting into the sunset of joyful old age and happy retirement.
The evening twilight is usually very calm unless we rock the time’s boat with our misadventures or the atmospherics get bored and unleash storms and rains. A tired day retires, leaving the post vacant for some time. And the vacancy brings a kind of delicate naturalism, a sort of assurance that all is well, that the journeys get completed and the destination is likeable after all the trials and tribulations on the path. The trees seem to take a pause as the branches hang silently. This brief zone seems free from the day’s busy humdrum and the night’s eerie depths in the dark.
The twilight is at its best. Then there is a storm. Peace is forever under the risk if you have rhesus monkeys in your locality. They don’t throw just pebbles into the pond of serenity, they catapult big boulders. The pebbles are no match for their raucous spirits. The banana tree in the garden has its first flower, a beautiful big dull maroon cone hanging like a chandelier, the little banana fingers holding a tight fist like a newborn baby, promising a fruitful future. The first flower and the fruit, like first love in the life of humans, is a momentous event in the life of a tree.
When a monkey jumps onto a tree, a criminalized sense of fun is the basic motive. Eating something to survive is far down the list of priority. The beautiful flowers and the tiny fruity fingers are slain. The marauders screech in triumph. I have a suspicion that they have started to think and calculate their nuisance. It’s no longer an instinctual outburst of crazy fun and frolics. I run to the terrace to scare them away. They jump into the yard below and tease me. I come down and they get onto the roof again and shake the trees with extra devilry, staring at me viciously and bombard my ears with their hideous kho kho.
This isn’t mere instinctual behaviour. They have a significant mind but it’s severely unestablished as of now. An unestablished mind is very troublesome. Anyway, the banana tree has lost its first offering to the world. It has been wasted. The only outcome is some fun for the monkeys who seem to draw one more feather from the book of illegalities before it is completely dark. The twilight scampers away in a hurry. One has to learn to live with the monkeys, there is no other way. Of all the species that have been beaten into subjugation by the mankind, the monkeys still have the capacity to impose their will on us.
The potter’s wasp had completed its task on the dining table. It was a very cosy little mud house. It really was. The dry mud is scattered and the tiny infant wasps inside are missing. A monkey did his share of business on the table while I was away for some time. Possibly this is the peanut version of the teatime snacks for the monkeys. He peeled away the mud covering and enjoyed his waspy nuts. One has to accept one’s fate at the hand of the monkeys otherwise the burden of life increases manifold. The wasp, the banana tree and my own self, all three of us stand in acceptance of this fact.
Well, I think the wasp was at fault here, not the monkey. You cannot include the monkeys in the discussion about right and wrong. They will commit a wrong infallibly. So the right or wrong concerns the wasp only. Firstly, he shouldn’t have felt too bold to start grabbing property under the nose of an unknown countryside writer. Arrogance skids away basic precautions. Arrogance, pride and vanity are nothing but ill-fate’s charity. Just because there are many options on a broad plain, we cannot ignore the little corner that is most suitable for us. A potter wasp should have its business below the table, not above it. But if it takes liberty with a struggling writer then let it do at its own risk. Moral of the story is, one should learn to rule out unsuitable things even if they come free. A price not paid now is usually some bigger price paid later.
The day has been good. A potter wasp’s house and the first banana flower and fruit getting undone by the monkeys isn’t too big a loss. I would still consider it as underperformance on their scale of villainy.
It’s basically the male monkeys who plunder the peace in the neighbourhood. The females are too heavily burdened under the duties of raising countless babies. The male monkeys consider senseless mating and endless mischief as their primary duties. And they take it very seriously.
Next day, a stroll in the countryside in the afternoon fetches a few peacock feathers. When you come across a peacock feather during your walks in the solitude, it feels like coming across treasure in the dust. It’s such a beautiful piece of creation. You just bow down to the ultimate colour-master and the designer of things.
The peacock must have danced very happily, a case of requited love I suppose, for there are many feathers. It’s better to have happy and joyful people around because even you may be the recipient of the leftovers of their joy, like I now receive the remnants of the peacock’s joyfulness. There is something marvellous about peacock feathers. We need not go into a discussion about it. All I can say is that if you come across a peacock feather, consider yourself lucky and keep it in your house. You add something substantial to your interior design.
Usually the pause fetched by the forties of age sees me spending my days very meaningfully in my own ways. If I find something missing, a kind of heaviness of life, I pick up some Ruskin Bond book. His writing is so uncomplicated and lucid that life seems a beautiful all goody-goody dream. It heals. You learn how to take things very lightly in easy spirits. Bond Sahab has the divine faculty of spotting only the peaceful and joyful among the apparent chaos of our surroundings. He just filters the nice little things, ignoring the more sophisticated and heavier stuff. And when he presents his filtered version of reality, it takes you into its peaceful folds. You feel relaxed and assured of the still remaining chances of peace. I read a couple of pages of his books at a time, at various stages of the day to keep the light-hearted momentum going on. In between I write, read other authors and manage my chores that are unavoidable on the path of survival.
The mother cat of the kittens arrived after a month. She had cleverly left them under my step-fatherly care. The cats are far more intelligent than we think. She could very well sense that this lone struggling writer will be a tolerable stepfather, stepmother to be precise, to her kittens even at his worst. She had literally starved herself to death raising these kittens. I am sure she hardly ate anything during those initial days. She would just dump the prey in front of them as they ate almost endlessly. She turned a mere skeleton as a consequence. She kept fasting, eating the bare minimum, till they were grown enough to survive on the milk bowl, grasshoppers, tiny frogs, leeches and crickets in the front courtyard. Then she stopped coming and probably lived for herself.
Today the kittens went out, even the lazy one, can you believe it, for some greener pastures. Their mother sneaked into the empty house as if to check. What a transformation! She has put on healthy weight after eating all for herself for a month. A very dashing Mama cat she looks now. But then this prettiness itself will get her into troubles again as some aspiring cat Pa will seek some brief moments of pleasure, to be followed by months of onerous duties by the Mama cat. It reminds me how weary most of the Mamas are, heavily laden under the duties of raising kids. Hand over some of the kid-rearing duties to the Papas and they will have lesser time for wars, aggression, attacks and noise. The males busy in parenting is a direct boon for mother earth.
More than normal rains may not be good for a lot many things, especially not the old houses because they get more cracks. More cracks leave the doors hinges a bit out of symmetry. The door latches don’t fit into their sockets as a result. Presently only the bathroom’s latch is working properly—and that’s the most important thing—leaving the rest of the house free for movement. In any case, the locks are only for dogs, cats and birds. And for them even a closed unlocked door is as good as a locked one.
The human beings take locks as simple irritants only, in case they have some unfriendly designs to sneak in. My biggest treasure is my collection of thousands of books. And they are a strict no takeout item for most of the thieves, so that is not a big problem. A person who steals books to read is the sweetest thief in the world and such a person is always welcome, lock or no lock at the doors. Just like the best worm is the bookworm, the best thief is a book thief (the one who steals to read, not to sell them as trash, the latter I would say is the worst thief).
But more rains are definitely good for the tiny sadabahar sapling that has been trying to blossom in the crack of the wall. Here the parameters are totally different. Most of the water slips down. It has a mere crack to survive. For many weeks it did its best to stay alive. It merely stayed alive although new shoots won’t come. It couldn’t laugh but it kept its feeble smile. Then the rains poured more regularly and in the watery abundance, despite all the water slipping down, it still had plenty of water to fulfil its dream of becoming a bigger plant. It now has added a few inches to its height and looks a very happy plant. It can afford a laugh now because it never lost its smile. Hope it will grow tall enough to bear flowers. Well, there is a lesson here. When the things seem the worst, it’s advisable to give one’s best even if it means surviving at the basic minimum level. Then the rains come more regularly and we get rewards for our persistence and patience.
The frogs have run out of the yard to enjoy bigger, louder show of life. The lads and lasses have to jump higher and croak louder. That’s life. One little frog seems to be inspired by this solitary writer. He still stays indoors. The pitcher has a tripod stand and a few drops fall on the floor. It’s a highly minute leakage somewhere because the rate of the fall of drops isn’t more than two or three in an hour. It leaves a small damp patch on the floor. And there stays the little frog cooling in its small sea.
Everything is about drawing lines to our perception. The tiny baby frog seems contended with its few inches of damp floor and that’s its sea. A couple of drops every hour is its thunder-storming rain. What’s wrong in this if it feels happy this way? Those who are running to swim in the sea of bigger ambitions are within their right to do so. But they can at least stop judging people who are less ambitious and are happy with the less.
A dove pair, freshly in love, tried lovemaking on the sloping, slippery solar panels. They slipped down and almost fell before they took to their wings. Falling in love seems very slippery because the slope is very steep. The emotions are wet and the hormonal storms leave it more precipitous. No wonder many of us slip like the dove pair. It’s better to become loving instead of falling in love. As a loving person you walk better. Good relationships are the normal outcomes in the life of the people who walk on good terrain. Stability has many avenues for smiles. And smiles sow the seeds of love.
The weird attempt at cooking a mix-veg in an offbeat way has borne good results. I relish the simple supper. There is always a simpler way of doing things. It becomes very easy to do many things if we spare the doing from becoming a tool to appease our ego only. Then we do only the needful. And doing the needful is very simple and uncomplicated. I am enjoying my supper now. A fully drunk farmer is trying his best to break open his own door. The loudest bangs and the foulest abuses hurled at his own family hit the night air like a strident firecracker. His family is hiding inside, fearing a physical assault tonight.
As an addict you turn your own worst enemy, otherwise why would you kick at your own door and try to beat your own wife and children. The monkeys appear far too civilized in comparison to the alcoholic farmers because the simians rarely beat their own kids. They love them so much and wage a continuous war of survival among the human society.
A lone loaf of cloud is flashing light. The rest of the sky is clear and the stars twinkle gently. The lone light-flashing cloud makes it appear as if the victorious rainy army is ceremonially retreating with its last parting shots. The starlit bluish dark distances ogle eagerly. A half moon looks sidelong and pale. A very tired moon it looks. It’s an old moon and shouldn’t mind this age-related fatigue. Didn’t it dazzle brilliantly with its milky light during its youth? It did. The shiny Venus is unperturbed by the cloud’s battery charge. The lightening excitement of the cloud soon gets spent out. It pours out its extra energy and then slowly melts away into the darkness.