14th June : 5:00 AM
It is 5 AM in the morning and I can hear a lot of bird music outside, which sounds no less than a harmonious serenade. Although I got up an hour before, had my tea just now and waiting for the dawn to break its beautiful golden streaks into the sky. These days, the Sun rises early, with a lot of fluffy cumulus dancing in a galore of blue and whites and orange. And then as the dawn breaks, things seem clearer. A lot of birds visit my mother’s coveted garden to drink water and suck nectar. A beautiful sight, indeed!
Ever since our street road has finally come into existence after two decades, even street dogs love to jog on our roads, much to the envy of people of our neighboring streets who earlier dismissed our street road as a ‘road less traveled’. Funny, the same people now love to take long morning walks on our road. No hard feelings! Times change and so do people! All, a matter of time, isn’t it? Earlier, my hometown was a place where you could never find a residential building, a flat system to be precise. There was a lot of space to build independent houses, bungalows and comfortable 2 bhk homes that contained a lot of free lot to run around, a courtyard, a garden with a prominent vegetable section and a garage. After two decades, change has inevitably tagged along and so has commercialization. Land rates have shot up, and more flats are available than homes. In fact, there is not much of a free plot left! Today, even if I think of buying a plot here, it is more of a wishful thinking and it just stops at that. Period!
However I feel lucky to have grown up in my parents’ comfy independent home where I got the privilege of walking on the soft tuft early in the morning, only to see nature unfolding its mystical beauty in the form of budding flowers, thick dew on lush green foliage, garden lizards chasing insects in the bushes, earthworms crawling out during pre-monsoons, slugs and snails running a marathon from our garden till garage and last but not the least, number of birds that fill our garden with their sweet music! Earlier when we had a guava tree, it was great fun to see parrots visit almost everyday. Unfortunately, we had to chop it off, as birds attract too many predators and our society has enough of them, with dogs and cats eager to predate on every bird that entered their territory. However, I still get to catch a glimpse of one or two. And then the coconut tree of our home rules the roost! And now, it has grown so tall, it is now beyond our reach as we do not have skillful climbers (like the ones you find in South India) to fetch coconuts (which are an integral part of South Indian food on a daily basis). Secondly, it now houses a huge hive (a massive one, I must say) which drones all day long. This reminds me of the hives that frequently infested our garden. In fact, I have had the privilege of having tasted the purest form of unprocessed honey from a hive burnt in our garden, a decade back. Those were the times, Sigh! On a lighter note, our garden is like a family member which gets as much importance as I get! My mother being an ardent gardener herself, keeps replenishing her garden with new krotons, flowers, vegetables and trees! As my mom waters her plants, I have heard her conversing with them. During my childhood days, I thought it was insane to converse with something that does not reply vocally, but the way plants have responded to her company with beautiful blooms and green foliage, anyone’s doubts about plants’ response to love and care can be put to rest! Who said, plants do not listen, understand us? They are probably the best listeners and also the voice of nature. They breathe life into a home!
As I look back, I feel as if a Generation has elapsed! It definitely feels so, as change, the inevitable phenomenon has been so gradual and so real, that it hits only in the present. There is nothing today I find in common to what existed decades back, days when I was in my school. Today, a lot of trees have been cut down to make space for corporate townships and too many materialistic attractions have cropped up. Decades back, young boys and girls of our hometown used to indulge in outdoor sports that used to make each one sweat his/her guts out! And now I see them satiating their hunger pangs at US Pizza and indulging in movie marathon at INOX. Parties have replaced family outings. Driving with family on National Highway has been taken over by crazed bike rides. A different perspective towards life has emerged. Nothing wrong or strange, as change is the only aspect of life that is here to stay! Just that, I have entered a new phase where my kid would see a different world altogether, and through his/her eyes, I will see the next Gen…..