Posted On Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 07:44:40 AM
It’s in bloom,’ shouted my colleague, waving her arms about like a windmill. ‘It’s in bloom.’ I looked up from my desk at her jumping about in the sunshine and asked, ‘what’s the fuss about?’
‘It’s not fuss, I’m just happy.’
‘Come out here and have a look. Come out here, come.’
Once out of my room, I had a good look at what she was yelping about. A slender mango tree, in the fullness of its early youth had decided to start flowering. Hardly had I spotted the blossoms when their soft fragrance actually reached me.
Very soft, gentle, subtle. Full. A reminder that the tree was alive. Yes, and not just that but it triggered memories of my own youth spent in West Bengal where we would visit Malpara and play cricket matches against the village team.
The pitch had been plastered with clay from the Hooghly and deathly for any batsman facing a pace bowler because the ball would slide in peculiar unpredictable ways. Of course it was a tennis ball…but the match would be taken very seriously because all around the field the mango trees gave shade to innumerable spectators. The
branches above were laden with blossoms and waft heady fragrances. And after the match (of course I went down for a duck) we’d collect in a nearby shade, sip chai and crunch into juicy hot jalebis. But that was a long time ago when every moment was filled to the brim and over the brim with life. Not there’s nothing of it now…but it’s just different.
There’s life here on the RBA campus in Camp, outside my room, with trees and shrubs in bloom and visiting birds and insects in full flow…the barn owl hidden in the chickoo tree, the endless lines of weaver ants up and down the bodies of trees, the brilliantly coloured visiting butterflies and so much moré. And everywhere in the city life natural life is at its colourful best. Even the Free Dogs are in finer fettle and don’t hassle the snobby ones, they let them pass. Because all life is celebrating now.
‘So what do you think?’ asked my colleague, with a grin.
‘About what?’ I asked.
‘Oh, beautiful, beautiful.’
I must admit, for the rest of the day a small smile danced on my lips and I felt alive. In much better shape to manage the wear and tear of frantically burning up the hours. I became more attentive to life around me. Less stressed. I even began to listen to everything that happened outside my room.
One of the students from the Junior School stood at the doorway and asked, ‘do you sit there all day?’
‘And you don’t have break time? Your Mummy doesn’t give you tiffin? Look everyone is playing out there. Do you also go out and play? Actually if you can’t make friends, you can easily go out and count the flowers, like I do.’
‘What else do you do?’ I wanted to know.
‘Oh lots. When I am in school, lots.’
‘And when you are home?’
‘Lots. I go Nature rambling.’
‘All of us friends go together. Along the river.’
‘But it's all stinky along the river. How do you manage it?’
‘I don’t mind. It’s still a river, right?’
I continued working but when I looked up, he had gone. Had I imagined it all? Had I? Maybe, maybe not.
Other conversations happened (or didn’t really happened) and by the time I reached home I actually felt rejuvenated. Before I fell asleep I listened to the fruit bats in the trees outside, the nightjar playing its castanets, the muffled sleepy calls of koels in a bamboo thicket. And when I closed my eyes I saw the young mango tree with its blossoms, glowing in the slanting rays of the morning, like an angel that had come down to share the day with me.