The little red flower


It is a bright and sunny day, after a week of dull rainy weather. I am cooling-off after my workout and head to my balcony. I allow the gentle morning breeze to tease my sweat-soaked curls, before it envelopes my neck and gifts me a few moments of pleasurable coolness.

The world below is already busy. Traffic is quite heavy and people are walking with purpose. Suddenly, I sense something flying past the balcony grill and on to the floor.

It is this beautiful flower! I quickly rush indoors to get my phone to click a picture.

And as it lies against the grey tiled floor, its beautiful red colour warms my heart. It reminds me of the beautiful hues of the red saree worn by a new Indian bride, it reminds of the deep red chillies that my mom would always sun- dry on our terrace when we were kids; it reminds me of the deep red spine of old books on our bookshelf, dog-eared and cherished; it reminds me of a perfect layer of raspberry jam on a slice of toast. It makes me smile.

This little flower has flown-in with the breeze, a simple gift that enlivens my day – bringing with it stories of its life experiences, and stories of how it was nurtured and cared-for by a loving pair of hands. Now it lies on my balcony, beautiful and poised, ready for whatever comes next.

A view from the balcony


My living room clock shows 6.30 p.m. The day is winding down. Children, who have played outdoors all evening, are heading back to their homes. The birds have returned to their nests.

The world is still aglow, lit by the setting sun. There is a certain calm to this hour that you wouldn’t find at any other time during the day. People are getting back from work, a spring in their step; looking forward to an evening of being at home, in their own space, relaxing and unwinding from the stresses of yet another day. Pets greet their owners with absolute joy, children fling themselves at their dads and moms to be bearhugged and cuddled, or to be thrown up in the air and caught in a tumbling mass of giggles.

I go to my favourite spot – my balcony – and stop in amazement when I see this.

This building can be seen from our balcony. I am totally amazed by the fact that the molten sun is reflecting off only one of the numerous glass facades of the building.

There is something miraculous in this moment, a splash of vibrant orange against a backdrop of grey, a great moment in an otherwise ‘business as usual’ type of day.

From where I stand, the sun has already slipped out of sight. But I am lucky to have been a part of this moment of sheer golden bliss.

Another simple moment captured, and filed away.

The Bulbul’s message


We are at my mom’s, enjoying our summer vacation. We have just had a sumptuous lunch. The children and their cousins are playing a board game in one of the bedrooms.

All the adults are seated or stretched out in the living room, as the day curtains billow in the cool breeze. Each time the curtains billow, one can see the green leaves of the trees outside, glistening in the bright, afternoon sun.

Most of us are trying not to sleep after that heavy lunch. We chat on and off, the pauses and silences are comfortable ones – those that belong to family, to love and to familiarity.

A sudden sweet bird song cuts through this family web.  There is a pause, and the bird song plays again.

My sister says, ” Someone’s got a message.”

Hands and bodies reach out to their phones, like the arms of an octopus.

Most people in the room say that the ring tone is not theirs. The bird sound continues.

We quickly discover that there is a ‘real’ Bulbul bird sitting on our balcony, singing away merrily. We gently move the curtains to watch this beautiful bird.
             

                   Picture courtesy – Wikipedia

How musical it sounds! How could we even mistake it for a ringtone?

We laugh uneasily. The Bulbul gave us an important message today. 

Maybe we should take more time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, those that are not in any way connected to technology or smartphones.

Moments of nothingness


The week’s craziness has abated, though not completely. This is the Indian festival season. Navratri’s barely over, and we are already barrelling towards Deepavali.

After many days, this morning I got a few minutes to sit on my living room couch and gaze out through the balcony window. A few moments of nothingness.

I believe that looking out at the world outside is immensely therapeutic; you are oblivious to your own self, as you watch life happening outside.There is so much contentment in just being.

image

            Courtesy – en.wikipedia.org

As I watched, a lazy pigeon feather swirled round and round, enjoying the gentle breeze on its way down. A beautiful pigeon sat on the balcony grill and watched the world. My hibiscus plant moved gently with the wind. Crisp laundry fluttered in the service areas of many homes. Curtains billowed in the breeze.

Faraway, traffic moved at the junction; cars and buses filled with people. Everybody with a purpose, going somewhere, meeting someone.

Birds chirped; and now and then clouds hid the Sun from view.

I felt philosophical, as I watched life happen around me.

Most days we run from one mad chore to the next, never stopping or slowing down, never pausing to see that the plants in our balconies have grown buds, or that the orchids are in full bloom. Sometimes the cacophony of our minds and the noise of traffic and technology hide the beautiful music of chirping birds and the whispering breeze.

It truly felt great to observe and not participate. Before I got dragged into the chaos of everyday chores, I took a few deep breaths and enjoyed my few moments of nothingness.