Happiness is – returning to a favourite place.

One of the most magical and happy places for me is my super tiny , super green and lush walking track and it opened up for the public yesterday, 8 June 2020 ! For three months I peeped over the barbed fenced wall , catching glimpses of that place which seemed shut to me forever. Finally today I found myself making tracks back to my most loved spot. Like coming back home!

The trees are wilder. The cats that came bounding to me three months ago seemed wary of us humans who had kept away for so long. Vines and creepers fell towards the earth from those huge trees had spread merrily on the ground . The canopy of trees was denser and there were exotic birds which I had never spotted before.

Felt so normal walking in that space again. Let’s hope there will not be another time like this where I need to maintain social distance from my favourite spot.

The cats had the garden to themselves.

My abandoned garden

It lies abandoned yet beautiful. No gardener sweeps it and waters the plants – piles of leaves have collected for me to crunch over but I cannot go inside.* I walk by its side and look through the barbed wires and admire the beauty that’s flourishing inside , just the way nature would like it .

The trees are looking more lush and green. The flowers are thriving and prospering like nobody’s business. And the three resident cats who have the place to themselves run and stretch themselves out on the park benches like divas. As I look on, like an intruder in a place that was mine just a few months ago, I see that the canopy of trees has become more interlocked and flower laden and there’s a mysterious hush that’s settled in. A magical spell has been cast over my garden.

There are low hanging flowers. I have never seen the Gulmohar blossoms and boughs descend so close to the ground. It’s as if they lost their fear of humans who would come and willy nilly pluck flowers for their own reasons : adorn their hair, put in a vase, as offerings or into a garland or then just because they look pretty. The frangipani and the many others whose names I don’t know are seen in bunches of stunning colours within easy reach. Even outside the garden, I inhale their fragrance.

Grass has grown taller and there are creepers descending to the ground. As I look on – trying to fill my eyes with the immense beauty prospering before me , I am reminded of the story I read and reread as a child – The Enchanted Wood and the Magic Faraway Tree*. With toadstools growing here and there , and the leaves of the trees going “ wisha-wisha” . Will Moon face * and Silky * and those magical creatures appear too? Maybe it’s going to be the most Visited now and not abandoned after all* ?

I must go as I cannot keep staring through barbed wires for too long – I do think that magic is happening in there. No human is plundering and thundering in with their gadgets and loud conversations and tinny music – which only adds to the magical feel of the place. Yes, there will be predators and other scary stuff going on in there as well and yes, every garden of Eden has its snakes . That’s how nature is.

Wild. Dangerous. Magical.

*_Lockdown 3.0 in Mumbai. Since 47 days no gardener has stepped into this little park in Lokhandwala complex. While we are lounging at home in drab ‘home clothes’ nature is going all out and dressing in its absolutely best attires.

*_ Children’s’ book by Enid Blyton and characters from the book – Moonface and Silky.

*_ thought contributed by Darpana Athale.

Opportunity Cost

The world is healing, I heard.

The virus has brought the ‘great realisation ‘ that earth’s a beautiful place ‘ – who knew?

Degradation of the environment had to be done for the ‘greater economic good’*

Something had be lost for so much gain. ( such is life you know).

Now we are fighting a battle with a little creep…

but we are ‘discovering’ many things , don’t you see ?

Like – Our families, housework and media addictions

( oh, see the bright side , will ya?)

This forced sabbatical of sorts

has revealed the true nature of things –

It has finally revealed the difference between want and need

Surely that’s a great learning ?

Something gained when much was lost

This nifty little insight – better be worth this Great Cost.

(The grandeur that humans fought for-by giving up their peace, family time, sleep and – almost the planet )

PS: Make it count. Let’s try to make the world ( or at least our neighbourhood) a better place by making lifestyle changes that will positively impact the environment.

PS2: we destroyed earth – but she is bouncing back pretty quickly. But the economy is going to take a long time to recover. Food for thought.

The crescent moon is also pretty

In its own quiet way, the crescent moon is pretty

It never has odes written to it

Nor is it used as metaphors for the skin deep beauty

But has the promise of new beginnings

And the harbinger of new things.

Reminiscent of a smile

The hint of a newborn leaf

It’s the slim sliver of silver

Against the dark velvet sky

That’s so soft and pleasing to the thirsting eye

Blooms amidst gloom!

Floral fiesta

https://creativbent.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/blooms-amidst-gloom/

All the signs of spring are in place. Since the outlook is sort of bleak, nature seems to have gone out on a limb to make sunrises more spectacular, the skies a clear gladdening blue and flowers are outdoing themselves in the beauty department. Most of us are not immune to this kind of infectious vibe. The entire country has been pinked and purpled ; the saffron hues of the marigold vie with the sindoori shades of the emerging Gulmohar. And about the yellow laburnums and copper pods – well what can I say- just the sight of the overflowing bahava flowers can make me go weak in the knees.

That’s what my fellow blogger Bindu Midha has beautifully expressed in her blogpost aptly titled ‘blooms amidst gloom ‘. In fact some of the florals in that post were so maddeningly pretty that I had to whip out my brushes and paint a blossom – just to stay with the floral fiesta for a longer time.

Do join me in appreciating the pretty colours of write-share-communicate and the blogpost which inspired this one. Here is the link.

https://creativbent.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/blooms-amidst-gloom/

Flower stories!

Blooms amidst gloom!

A faraway country called home

Life had been moving too fast. I had outsourced every possible thing that could be outsourced – cleaning to cooking all the three meals to shopping – as ‘home deliveries’ were the ‘in’ thing. And in the free time thus available -we were living our Dreams -as we were free from the Clutches of Housework.

So, a retinue of people came and helped me to manage my life and my home – from the car wash guy to the person who pressed my clothes to the maids and the cooks and the grocery delivery people , the Amazon delivery people the Zomato people and the Swiggy people and what not. Phone calls were replaced by texts and texts had been reduced to single letter responses – HBD ,HNY,TBH, WBU and we hurtled along with our so called ‘free time’ and made more pollution, more noise, more stress and even more pollution.

All of this was brought to naught during the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Thanks to social distancing nobody was allowed into the house and one had to do everything oneself.

I felt like I was in a time machine. Outside the window it felt like 1970 – hardly any traffic , clear skies and silence into which birdsong and wind-swishes blended softly and effortlessly. Contrastingly, inside the house it felt like too much work. Realisation hit. Did I really need so much house help? When had I turned into such a big hoarder, such a big consumer, such a big eater? Social life was juggling 150 Whatsapp groups. Why was it okay to give upto 4 hours for commuting and why were we putting up with such cacophony?

Amidst all the bad news about the pandemic, people have been raving about how nature has started blossoming again -spring is here- how the birds have been chirping. And they always had been – only thing we weren’t noticing. As life has simplified, housework has become easier – the house isn’t a football field so it isn’t such a task to clean it and cooking can be a simple yet tasty. The patch of sky visible from my windows is a clear blue : not the sickly yellow grey that we had got used to . Yes , we are wearing masks ;we aren’t going out of the house; we are putting in a lot of physical work but I have discovered a country called home and I am so happy to be back home again. It’s really good to be back home again.

PS: thoughts that flitted into my mind while I wrote this piece:

John Denver’s “ hey it’s good to be back home again.” A song that’s been a favourite since I was pretty young.

The Maker of Dreams- a fantasy one act play by Oliphant Down. One of my favourite plays.

Art imitates life?

Almost all my friends who are inclined towards art and craft are busy doing what it takes to stay distracted during the “ lock down” days. So I set out to do a Mandala – quite a popular art form. As I started working on it , it took on a life of its own. So I leave you to think about what it looks like. But to me it looks very much like what’s causing this lock down. Did you think so too ?