My invisible friend


Our neighbourhood is filled with high-rise condominiums, each separated from the other by lush greenery and by the various streets in the area. The only animals and birds we get to see are cute little dogs and cats, an abundance of pigeons, and some mynahs, orioles and parrots!

However, a few weeks ago, when I stood on our balcony sipping my morning cup of coffee, I heard the crowing of a rooster!

I was not sure if I had heard right! I waited, and there it was again. It made me smile. Where was this rooster? Was it a pet or a stray? I strained my neck to see if I could locate it, but there was no sign of the rooster.

Image courtesy – http://www.pexels.com

I completely forgot about the rooster after that morning. However, two weeks ago, I heard the rooster crowing again at two thirty one afternoon. I rushed to the balcony.

“Do roosters crow in the afternoon”, I wondered? I began doubting myself; were my ears playing tricks on me? I rushed my son to the balcony to validate my findings. But the rooster never crowed again that day.

This Saturday, I heard the rooster crowing at seven in the morning. I pulled my son to the balcony. We stood there waiting – me, wanting to establish that I was not merely hearing sounds in my head; and my son, looking irritated. After about five minutes, the rooster crowed again. I turned at lightning speed to look at my son.

“Did you hear that?” I asked, bubbling with excitement. With a deadpan expression, my son replied, “Yup, I heard it too,” and he walked indoors. I stretched and strained to see if I could spot the rooster, but he remained elusive.

Over the last three days, the rooster has been crowing more often, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. Each time I hear the rooster, I smile. I feel good.

Crowing roosters were an integral part of my childhood, and also featured in many storybooks that we read as children. A rooster’s crowing heralded the beginning of a new day, where a golden sun rose on a perfectly blue sky to light up the world. It meant a day filled with hope and promise.

And that is how I feel each time I hear my invisible rooster friend. He makes me nostalgic for those days when life was simple. He also fills me with hope of better days to come.

Shades of green


Mask in place, I am off for my evening walk. There’s a lovely breeze that accompanies me. The late evening sun makes the shiny green leaves sparkle, imbuing them with magic.

The colours of the evening sky defy description. I am happy and smile inside my mask; this thought makes me giggle and I mutter to myself about how absurd this is!!

When I am about midway through my walk, I see this tree.

At the tip of each tender branch are young leaves, in a bright and energetic green. Being young, these little green leaves dance merrily in the breeze. They are living life on the edge, swaying and exploring the spaces around them. Little do they know that further up the branch are their senior family members, in a darker green, who are supporting and holding these young leaves together, indulging them, giving them time to savour their youth and to dangle precariously from the tips of each branch. For, the dark green leaves know that the days of youth will fly away in the flap of a bird’s wings.

Further up the tree are the oldest members of this family. Wizened, brown and wise. Their veins are stiff with age, and they gently sway with the breeze, looking down at the ground below, their final destination.

Each member – the young, the middle aged and the seniors are required to keep this family in harmony, and for this timeless cycle to continue.

Down on the ground, some brown old leaves have already crumbled and started merging with the soil, enriching it with their wisdom, and nurturing new life.

Home garden


There is something so beautiful about having plants at home, especially when there is no space for a huge garden.

My husband’s mom talks about how green the area had been, when she and my father in law had moved into their new home after marriage. More than five decades have rolled by, and there are buildings everywhere. My mom-in-law loves and nurtures all her plants.

There are two beautiful Magnolia campaca trees at the entrance of the house. One of them yields fragrant, creamy-yellow flowers. Their trunks have grown with our home – spreading out branches, sprouting leaves, blooming flowers and watching over the goings-on in the neighbourhood.

There are many potted plants, hibiscus, sweet pea, star jasmine, creepers, tulasi, curry leaves, green chilli and coriander. As I walk around the compound, I enjoy the mid-morning breeze, as the clothes on the clotheslines flutter in unison.

The leaves of the hibiscus plant are a deep, shiny green. There is a beautiful bud, waiting for the right time to bloom.

Just above the hibiscus plant is the Ixora coccinea plant, a shrub commonly found in the region. The bright orangeish-red flowers are a treat to the eyes. I call them ‘drops of sunshine’.

One of the branches has two bud clusters that look identical. They look like sisters….sharing some childhood time, laughing merrily, gossiping with each other, and swaying in the breeze, little knowing that they may each bloom differently.

There is a strange peace that comes in watching the champak tree. The clear blue of the sky can be seen through its leaves, as a crow caws lazily in the background.

There is a joy in watering the plants, and watching the soil soak it all in.

There is peace. Everything is just as it should be.

The simple and the familiar


Mother Nature has her own rhythm. The universe is unfolding as it should. The sun rises, day dawns, the sun sets, the moon rises, the tides change, stars twinkle and night arrives. The cycle keeps repeating – there is a comfort in this rhythm, in this routine; whatever be our problem, we believe that a new day will bring new hope and light into our lives.

While this is the global rhythm, each of us also has an everyday rhythm. Things that are familiar and keep repeating in our everyday routine. Things that we consciously or unconsciously look for, and derive comfort from.

It can be the gentle thud of the newspaper hitting your porch, or the old man who walks around the area below your home every morning. It can be the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, or the way a particular bird visits the tree near your house at precisely the same time every morning.

It can be the woman with the red handbag, whom you meet on the train every morning or the security guard who  shouts out a cheery hello when you leave the building everyday.

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It can be a tilted roadsign, or a curve in the road. It can be that cheerful little cottage on the way to your office or the noisy bunch of teenagers who board the train everyday.

It can be the way the office smells when you sit at your desk. It can be that blank feeling as you wait for your laptop to boot for the day.

It can be the familiarity of walking down with your colleagues for lunch, or walking back to work with a cup of your favourite coffee.

These are the small everyday things that give shape and structure to our day. When things are not going too well, these familiar tasks and sights give us something to hold on to.

Simple, familiar things.

Golden day


The balcony in my apartment faces the west. From about 2 pm in the afternoon, my living room looks like it has been lit with golden light.

However, in the mornings, there is light but not anywhere close to what we get in the afternoons.

This morning, as I stood on my balcony taking in some fresh air, I saw two golden sheets of the sun’s rays reflecting off a building close to our condo.

Such a divine splash of orange on the dull grey, signalling the birth of another day. 

A simple moment of joy and happiness that put a spring in my step.

Sharing the pictures with you all. Have a great day!

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Change – A Short Story


Vish sat on the wall that separated land from the ocean. It was a wide wall, and he sat dangling his feet towards the water.

He had a job in the docks, a small job that paid for his food and rent, but little else.

He sat munching on his sandwich, weighed down by a feeling of hopelessness. This week would be his last one on this job. He was a temporary hire for the busy season.

Seagulls swayed and danced above, around the water; the water itself, blue and timeless, a mute spectator to his melancholic mood.

He felt bitter as he looked at the busy port, and the hundreds of people who worked there. Was there no job in this big place for him?

He had stopped with high school and had joined his uncle’s business as a tailor. He had learnt on the job and come to love the satisfaction of sewing a beautiful frock or suit or trouser to perfection. He was in his early twenties when his uncle passed away and the tailoring shop had to be closed.

From then on it had been this way, one temporary job after another, where one just followed instructions.

The loud blare, as a ship left the docks brought him out of his reverie; the pain intense, as he contemplated the next week.

He had to start all over again. His money would soon run out and he had to find something quickly.

He finished his lunch and walked back, to the mundane task of dragging cartons up and down, only stopping for tea and coffee breaks.

That weekend he was set free, nobody expected him to report for duty, nobody believed he could be of any use, nobody knew or cared if he had had a decent meal. His mom lived in her village, content with the few dollars she made as a domestic help.

As he walked back and forth on the high street, checking if anybody was hiring shop assistants or anything else, he heard three women talking animatedly as they waited to cross the traffic signal. They were quite loud, and he heard one of them talking about their children’s costumes for a play that had to be altered by the evening, and their desperation that no tailor was willing to take on this rush job.

He decided that he had allowed life to slip by thus far, without focus.

Before he could stop himself, he had gone up and told the ladies that he could do it for them but for the fact that he had nothing, no support, no infrastructure, no money, absolutely nothing, except the skill to alter the costumes.

The ladies looked at each other incredulously. One of them saw his face; and couldn’t quite place the expression on it – hope, resolve, grit? She couldn’t really say. On a whim, she said, “I have a sewing machine at home, will you do it?”

Three hours later, he had managed to complete the job to perfection, leaving three very happy moms behind. They had compensated him well and had given him a warm meal.

As he walked home, for the first time in years, he felt that maybe things would work out for him. He just had to wait for the right opportunities and seize them.

A couple of days later as he poured through the newspaper, circling the Jobs Vacant section, his phone rang.

The voice said, “Mr.Vish?”

He said, “Yes.”

“We are calling from the Little Flower Nursery School, we were given your contact by Mrs.Samuel, who spoke highly of your skills in tailoring. We have our annual school concert coming up and would like you to sew the costumes. Could you please come and meet us?” the voice said.