My grandson, a delightful child aged five, is always full of smiles and good cheer. He trotted in from school one day, joyful as usual, and announced “I love everyone, including the people I don’t know!” “But there are so many people in the world,” I replied. “How will you find space in your heart for all of them?”
I see a flash of yellow, then a glimpse of parrot wings, sometimes even a baby parrot perched on a terrace railing, or crows arguing on a distant ledge. Butterflies flutter past, tiny messengers of births and marriages, there is much to enjoy in the constant activity of nature.
I saw a picture the other day. It was just a picture of a simple green shrub; but there, in the centre, glowing like a jewel, was one perfect coral pink heart-shaped leaf.
The evening draws in quickly. At one moment the late afternoon sun is there, mellow orange against the sky, and the next minute it is almost twilight, and time for me to leave my rooftop plants and flowers, and return to my flat. As I take a last stroll around the jasmine, an aroma of warm ghee floats up from some nearby kitchen, and soon after, a long-forgotten and much loved familiar fragrance—the smell of curried chicken—as it was cooked in my mother's kitchen in olden days.
Every week, in some magazine or the other, there are enthusiastic pieces on some new miracle diet promising to transform us into our dream figures in a matter of weeks, or days even! There are dramatic pictures of 'before and after' and promises of a gorgeous new shape if we eat only bananas, or green peas, or whatever the latest studies claim will have said magical results.
I feel the pleasures of the eye before everything else. Someone glides past in a shaded sari flowing from grey to flame orange, I see a figure in exquisite embroidered powder blue, a vision in mint green chiffon, and suddenly flash of brilliant red lipstick.
This morning, I looked out of my window and saw a face I had not seen for some time. It was the neighbourhood cobbler, seated cross-legged at his usual place on the pavement across the street, working away at some shoes.
Large, expensive wedding cards have begun to arrive; lettered in silver and gold, with tassels, fringes and ornate scrolling as well as boxes of delicious sweets! Our fourth favourite season is on its way.
If, in the course of your daily rounds, you see people with serene, smiling faces enjoying a cup of coffee and a doughnut in one of our many coffee shops, in the middle of a weekday morning, or sitting in deep chairs at a club, reading the papers, or eating ice cream near a swimming pool, you will know that they are RETIRED, or SEMI-RETIRED.
The other day, I ran across an old friend, a charming elderly gentleman, who is well known for his charm and impeccable manners. I happened to ask him about his aches and pains. "Oh, there are so many that if we start talking about them, it will take all day," he said, waving it away with a smile.
We never know what the future holds. To my mind that is one of the charms of life. For instance, when my husband was in the foreign service, while I loved every posting we had, I could not help looking forward to the next place we would go to, and the new experiences we were bound to have.
I had never met the couple or their parents before, nor did I think I would again, thankfully. This is a new world in many ways, and I find that there are more and more young people like this.
Krondoshi Pothocharini by Atul Prasad is one of my very favorite songs and always strikes a certain chord in my heart.
Sometimes in late afternoons I take a book, a chair, and a cup of tea to the roof, hoping to sit and read among the plants and the flowers of the rooftop garden.
I wake early. When I hear the call of the muezzin and the first soft sounds of birds chirping, I go to my window to see the sun rise.