It is typically strange how the mind works. It works in ways that we, ourselves are unaware of and yet we come to believe that everything is in our absolute control. Experiences of the past, that once seemed nothing but an unending trail of hurdles and some selective cherished moments, matures to become a lesson that if reflected upon, can surpass the depths of our own comprehensible imaginations. It amuses me every time, how the life we lead, revolves around us and comes to a point where it all started, leading us to the ‘Bigger Picture’.
The first few minutes of my recent usual mornings in my new apartment are dedicated to my patio. I simply love being there first thing in the morning. Though the view is more or less the same, I still enjoy being in the moment where the Sun has risen and yet not harsh, the mild breeze that sways the colorful and delicate flowers in my little patio, the wind-chimes that bang against each other and create their hollow symphony, neighbors walking their dogs and those who are out for their morning stroll, all together in a composition, comforts me about the continuity of life.
And to remember this, it all began, when I as a young girl and my mother used to stand at our window each morning, after she woke me up from my bed. I was her and now she is my, best friend ever since then. We used to stand together, feeling the cool morning breeze and the peace of simplicity that mornings alone can offer. With smudgy and sleepy eyes, I used to wrap my arms around her waist and watch all that she used to show me. Particularly, the birds were and are still are, our favorites.
The chirping sparrows and the crows that sat on the boundary wall of our backyard were described as having an interchange of thoughts and plans for the day and that was a lot of chit-chat. Among these, were flocks of pigeons who collectively flew from one roof to another and sometimes even took two laps before they settled on a particular roof of our neighboring house. “Do you see how they too go for a morning walk like us? They begin their days just like ours and so cheerfully, everyday without any fail.” said my mother. And this is how an average day would begin for me- by the window side and along with the continuity of life.
Back in those days, when life was just about living and doing the little things right and was no more attractive than my house, my school and the playground, my world was what I wove in my thoughts and they were certainly beautiful and deeply innocent in comparison to the chaos that runs in it now. The first 10 minutes at the window, tucking my head against my mother’s soft cotton saree and her supple belly was the comfort that I grew up with and along with it, that came along was a blessing of admiration for all living forms – be it a flower blossom, a chirping happy bird, ecstatic baby lambs jumping on the winter fields or calm cows that slowly grazed the green meadows until the cattle owners came declaring their time-out. And on those fondly memorable days when it rained, those 10 minutes would ripen to a delightful poetry.
Today after all these 25 years, and all the uncountable miles away from my mother and my home in India, little seems to have changed. I now wake up by the alarm, snoozing it several times until it gets unbearably annoying and when I hear a bird’s chirp, I recall the days when my mother used to wake me up saying, “Get up. See that little bird outside the window is calling you.” I then rub my foggy eyes, splash some water and go out to the patio to cherish this very continuity of life, just that now, I crave for the company that made me saw the mornings in the way I still do. I watch the little birds chirp on the hi-tension wires and the ones hiding in the green bushy trees, the pigeons in grey and white flocking from one roof to another completing their morning rounds giving me a feel of the many things that still hasn’t changed and yet things somehow aren’t exactly how they used to be.
May be today after so many years, I can credit those special 10 minutes of my childhood mornings, to the surge I feel when I now look into the eyes of another sentient living being, streaming the ground or the sky,still touched with a delightful amusement. An amusement that make me appreciate my existence and not forcibly win over it just because I belong to ‘mankind’. There is an inexplicable chord of connection that wants more of me to love it than to ignore it or dread it. A reflex and excitation of the connection of life; of the same ways we all are meant to be; an understanding of the absolute needs to eat, sleep, love and play just as much we relate ourselves to, is clearly the same for every living creature in their own unique ways, thriving with us on this shared piece of land.
Then why has this world that I see, changed so much today or has it always been like this? Is it because, it was just a window and now by the patio, I have a wider vision of the reality we breathe in, where no happy lambs jump over the open fields, the calm and lazy cows grazing the meadows have a number tag punched in their ears unaware of their gory future, the birds flying in the sky are scarce and the roosters and the hens have lost their authority of the small roofs and the pecking grounds, just to land in the dark enclosures devoting their entire lives to our futile appetite, baseless religious and so-called cultural traditions?
This whole ordeal of accepting, what I learnt with and from my mother, by that Window and what I now see standing in my Patio, distresses me. Or may be, distress could be an understatement because what even comes back as a defensive answer, subject to an ignored mind and uncontrollable human greed, infuriates me with loss of sugar in my capacity, to coat my words.
And so today after these 25 years, life has yet again revolved and here I am with a picture clipping extracted from the movie of my memories, where I stand missing the warmth of my mother’s embrace and the amusement and delight the window exhibited only to know that the grass across my patio now is not even remotely close to what I pictured it to be like.
However, now I also do feel blessed to have known those exclusive 10 minutes, that my mother spent with me every morning and all the amusements she made my little heart wonder. Had it not been for her, I would have missed out on a perception, making me repent in the journey of being a better person as a whole.
Thank you Mom!
Pic Courtesy: Kari Shea and Somin Khanna