The daily wonder

Our park is a daily homage to lifes variety, fellow creatures and plants.

Dawn had touched the sky when I woke up and walked into my room. From its east-facing window I look at the undulating crest of Chamundi hill when clouds are few and there is no mist.

The sun would soon suffuse the scene. I opened my notebook on a blank page which invited me to write. I began writing to catch my fleeting fancies. 

“How still are those long leaves atop the fronds that crest the coconut trees. The sun has burnished the long spears and deep green swords of their foliage fans beside the darkened leaves in the shadow zone. The coconuts are bunched, ready to fall or be plucked and flung down. A slow breeze begins to stir, fanning the still, hot air. The day is ready for news and disasters, shame, anger and pathos. 

“It will be another hot day in this preview of global warming in our nearby park, with a maximum of 33 degrees Celsius and no rain to alleviate the onslaught of the sun, back and front, as I trudge on, every step a grudge against the long, dry summer. But there is a compensating joy as we behold the glory of that club of trees, each with its gorgeous crest of yellow flowers. It is, I have learnt, the tabubuia, a species of flowering tree from South America. They remind us of treasures we have forgotten as we despair in the struggle to survive.

A numbness comes with age, wonder falls away. We omit to remark the pattern of leaves, the geometry of convoluted branches reaching higher for the sun. This day may be the last to marvel at their splendour, for the ground around the boles below is carpeted by their fallen petals and the stark branches tell me of shapes that beggar admiration”. 

A pair of small herons flies past to the north, in quest of water to drink and splash in; I hope it is not a portent. Our park is a daily homage to life’s variety, fellow-creatures (we rightly call ‘jantus’) and plants, mostly beyond my ken, toddlers and dotards, courting couples and youth in quest of privacy within the public gaze, vendors, cheats, louts, rebels, hired malis,  fortune-tellers, even the gender-neutral prowlers looking for the love-lorn. 

How many hues: flowering trees, pale pink sprouts on high, red and white Bougainvilles, dense in a bush. We spot the park regulars and count the sleepers on the lawn, who seek slumber in utter disregard of the sun. The dogs, who are also habitués of the park, can sleep anywhere. Some clouds tempted us with a respite, but there is no shower yet, though some coastal towns are said to be drenched. 

We know that sprightly kid, having wheeled him round the path in his pram two years ago. His mother watches as he slowly attempts a new feat to rival his elder sibling; he gingerly ascends up the slide on the wrong side, holding fast to the edges and looking at us triumphantly. He slips, and the mother rushes to save him from damage. He gets up and ascends up the wrong side again, this time safely. 

We spy a regular walker, a lady from an official settlement of flats across the street, smartly clad in a printed sari, matching blouse and sports shoes. We hail one another as she overtakes us. She never wastes any time in talk, but today we share our sense of wonder at the sight of those trees in their flowered glory. We thank those trees, hoping to thrill again at their renewal next summer.

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