The evening sun casts long shadows on the ground as I make my way up the walking trail. A gentle evening breeze gives me company.
As the trail winds away from the road, the hum of traffic is replaced by the sound of birds tweeting and the rustling of trees.
There are huge homesteads that are hidden from view, but I can see a wall or a window or a porch sometimes. I take deep, long breaths and continue walking.
A sudden movement in one of the trees catches my eye. I smile in delight. It is a beautiful white cockatoo.
I walk carefully, trying not to scare it away. The cockatoo is oblivious to me. He is busy pecking away at what seems to be a small fruit from the tree.
I position myself to take some pictures. After a few minutes, he hops down two branches and poses for me. His white plumage looks beautiful against the foliage. His eyes seem to look directly into mine.
He soon realizes that he’s done posing for me. He disappears into the higher reaches of the tree. I can’t see him anymore, but I suddenly hear the flutter of wings. I presume that he has flown away, back to his home in the forest nearby.
I finish my walk, and as I head back the crickets are already gossiping about their long day. I wonder if the cockatoo is back home and if he’s talking to his spouse about the crazy lady who stalked him to take pictures. I can imagine both of them sharing a good laugh.
I get back home, excited at having seen the cockatoo. And as we sit down to eat dinner, I tell my husband about the cockatoo too!!
It’s been almost two years since we’ve met our families back home. With the fantastic blessing that is technology, we have managed to keep-up our spirits through video calls with our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.
This afternoon, as I settled down to catch up on some work, the doorbell chimed. It was a courier delivery. The carton was big and fairly heavy.
I grew excited, because we’ve been eagerly awaiting this courier’s arrival from back home, lovingly despatched by my husband’s brother.
When my husband got home, we cut open the carton and for a moment there, the smell of home and our loved ones wafted through the air. It hit us then; how much we have missed visiting our family, a ritual we follow at least twice a year!
Soon, we delved into the box and took out its contents. In addition to the items we had ordered from back home, there were two gifts for me, a dress from my sister-in-law and a beautiful handwoven multi-purpose basket, made by her mother. I was in bliss.
But the highlight was a handwritten letter from my sister-in-law, asking after us and giving us news from back home. I haven’t received a single letter in the last decade, after my Dad passed away. My Dad was an avid letter writer, and I have preserved every single letter that he has ever written to me.
There is something so beautiful about a handwritten letter. No email or phone message can ever make up for a surprise letter from back home. I feel so happy and so touched. I will treasure this letter.