Paradise not lost

In this rat race called Life, we all need to find a retreat in which to sit and reflect in peace.

‘Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits,’ said Satchel Paige, the baseball player. It is a statement that is rich in wisdom though poor in grammar. 

In this rat race we call Life, we all need to take an occasional breather, to find a retreat in which to sit in quietude and reflect in peace. My place of calm consists of a balcony that is shielded on three sides with large panes of glass.

Some are framed and can be slid open to let in air and sunshine. This corner overlooks a road that is busy with the commerce of living. Right below however is a patch of garden. It boasts of a lawn, which though unkempt is a bright carpet of green. At times red ixora and yellow hibiscus flaunt their rich hues.

Many butterflies and insects add their special splash of colours. What enraptures me however is the Rain tree that stands opposite. It has weathered many vicissitudes – termites, mindless lopping of branches and strong winds.

It now stands in spreading splendour, offering shelter and food to a variety of common birds. Here in cushioned comfort, I sit and contemplate the scene. It is refreshing for both, body and soul. 

Recently I came close to losing it all. In the end I lost a battle, but won a war. My daughter came on a short visit. She decided it would be wise to have a mosquito net installed. She summoned a carpenter and had the requisite measurements taken.

He declared that in the two balconies only permanent netting nailed to the framework would be possible. It would be expensive but well worth it. An advance was paid and the matter settled. It struck me only after he had left that wired netting would interfere with my view and that gathering dust in the coming days would obscure it completely. 

Picking up the phone, I dialled the carpenter’s number. Thankfully he answered. I explained my problem and told him I wanted only one wired frame instead of two. He assured me that he would bring only one.

When he turned up however there were two of them. When I reminded him of the cancellation, he merely scratched his head. Then lowering his face, he admitted that it had escaped his mind. If I didn’t make use of it, he stood to lose a lot of money. Why not fix it? It would not block my view as much as I feared.

It did not take me long to make up my mind. I would not let money come in the way of my private paradise. I would pay for the frame but he could have it and do what he pleased with it. Not surprisingly he agreed to this with alacrity. 

My window and my retreat were left undisturbed. I could continue to have my piece of blue sky and the peace of green grass that lay below it. With paradise regained, like Satchel Paige, ‘sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits’!

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