The weather is beautiful today, I realised the moment I opened the doors of our balconies this morning. And trust me when I tell you that ‘beautiful’ is an understatement. This morning is crisp and clear, with just the right amount of cloud and breeze and sun, and it looks like, finally, a respite has arrived from the blazing heat of summer.
As soon as I stepped out into my balcony, I felt a pang of loneliness hit me – the OH is out touring on work, the weather is gorgeous and I so want to be out with someone I love. I realised I have the entire day, maybe even tomorrow, to myself and absolutely nothing to do. Resigning myself to make the most of both free days, I fetched the day’s newspaper and the book that I have been reading for the past week, Frances Mayle’s A Year In The World, and settled down in my favourite cosy spot on the bedroom balcony with the lone cup of masala chai I had made for myself.
Soon, I was lost in the sips of chai, the loveliness of the morning and the charming prose of the book. I closed the book for a bit and began to look around. I took in the blood red hibiscus blooming in our apartment compound, and smiled at the orchid that has been flowering so prettily in our house. The husband has grafted one more orchid plant out of the one we had originally, and planted it in another pot. It is now starting to throw out green shoots. This makes me happy, knowing the slightly difficult nature of the plant – it doesn’t adjust very easily to its surroundings.
I was charmed by the sounds that I hear every day, but am too busy to pay attention to – the bhaajiwala going ‘Soppuuuuuu‘, the kabadiwala going ‘Paperrrrrriiiiiiii‘, and the bells jingling on the long horns of a cow pulling a vegetable cart, long and colourful ribbons and tassels fluttering from the horns. A flower-pot seller from whom I bought a large number of plants a long time back rested his cart under my balcony and called out ‘Gidda, madam?’ I refused. On his heels came a Punjabi- or Kashmiri-looking young man selling colourful carpets. ‘Carpet, madam?,’ he asked. I refused, again.
Soon enough, I was drawn by the lovely green heart-shaped leaves of the peepal tree and the unique flowers of the ‘Umbrella Tree‘ that I can see from my house. A group of mynas was fighting among themselves in a nearby neem tree, their voices raising a racket, and jolted me from my reverie. I was relieved to see no monkeys around; they have often caused damage to the precious flowers in our home.
I noticed a father taking his kid son to school on his Kinetic, the kid standing in front of his driving father and chattering away nineteen to the dozen. A man was walking his dog, one who looks ferocious to me whenever I see him. Our neighbour’s maid swept their house clean and watered the plants outside the house before starting to scrub the floors. Several people passed by on their morning walks, some of whom I see every day.
I counted the number of bee hives on the building opposite ours – one, two, three, four huge hives. Whether we have learnt to co-exist with the bees or they have learnt to co-exist with us is difficult to say.
My attention was again drawn by the tittering of a very tiny bird that often perches on the TV cable wires passing outside our house, a bird that I do not know the name of. I traced with my eyes the path of blue, yellow and white butterflies that gaily fluttered by my home to a huge tree nearby. I looked up to see the tree – lushly filled with green, green leaves – and noticed the change that has come over it in a few months. A few months ago, that tree was completely bare, its naked branches reaching up to the sky as if in prayer. I used to feel sad looking at its loneliness, but now it has come a full circle, and is home to several birds and squirrels.
Our neighbour returned from his morning walk, looked up at me, smiled and waved. I waved back.
Suddenly, I realised that I was not sad any more. The beautiful morning and the feeling of joblessness had crept into me and cooled me. My life has come a full circle too, I realised. We have built a ‘home’ here, far away from my hometown, which is very, very different from the place I live in now. I realised how deeply I have fallen in love with Bangalore, as much as I love Ahmedabad. I realised that I like the life I have created for myself here, and how much I have changed from the shy, timid girl who came to Bangalore three years back. A sense of peace filled me, replacing the loneliness that was there about half an hour back.
A ‘home’ can be built anywhere in the whole wide world. It is all about finding your place in your surroundings, and your peace. Isn’t it?