Tiny drops of overnight dew covered petals on the Crimson Rose and laughing marigold with the surrounding engulfed in the dense fog. The view of the Bagh having Mango, Eucalyptus, Paniyala*, Guava, Ashok trees, with a Mazar in the center and some wandering livestock struggling to keep them fed and warm in the extreme cold came out as a painting on a vast canvas. Tiny hogs in the a bit distant bagh running to and fro around their mother, a crow sitting on the aluminium electric wire with his speaking eyes and sharp peak looking in all possible directions and suddenly flies away downwards to ground with wings wide open, a silent moving stray dog on the street, a hiding cat in neighbor’s garage, an invisible wandering soul and the shivering cold. Visibility had been very low in the density of the fog, cold waves penetrated across the body and fog was also coming out of the mouth.
Head to toes, only eyes, nose and mouth and surrounding cheekbones were exposed to the penetrating winter air. Holding a hot cup of tea, in palms wrapped in woolen gloves, a relief was witnessed when the warmth of the tea passed through the food pipe. Pakoda of onion and chili topped up some more heat in the moments of shrunken mercury in the thermometer. The room heater made the inside different from the outside. Gradually everyone decided to sit in Aangan around the firewood (the residual wooden skins stored when last time there had been some carpenter work at home were burned in a big wrought iron plate which was once bought when there had been some mason work at home). This was a moment of family sitting together gossiping on the current issues, family dreams, future plans, some stories from Hindu Mythology and what special to have in lunch that day!
Stories of mythology, one such recalled story was of the squirrels that gave their full dedication in imparting theirs’ insignificant contributions of adding small weathered pieces of rocks and mud in between the heavy (but floating!) rocks when ‘The Ram Setu’ was being constructed at Rameshwaram. Theirs’ insignificant contributions integrated together became a significant and evident when it strengthened and bonded those rocks together, to make a bridge to Lanka. Lord Ram became emotional to the unconditional love of squirrels towards him and his motive. Out of praise and love, he took and touched some of them on their back with his index, middle and ring finger in his palm. Since, then squirrels carry mark of love from Ram on their back as a legacy, which can be seen through those shiny black lines on their back. It became an integral part of their genetic code and transferred through generations in their evolution.
Still there had been no mark of sun in the sky. Schools were closed as per the instructions from district administration, everyone at home enjoying some programs on TV. Oops! Load shedding, everything went dark on that just another but memorable winter morning. Now the teenagers gathered together for the all time favorite cricket match in the public park of locality surrounded by all of their houses. The simulated stadium with each house around the park resembled stands of the stadium. Elderly folks on the terrace and passerby on the streets served as the spectators of a simulated professional cricket match of childhood. Girls as usual disliked cricket, came up with theirs’ badminton rackets and found their corner of a pleasured winter morning. After sometime, the fog dissipated and Suryadev (i.e. Sun) appeared to give his portion of warmth to this part of the town. Tired kids however went home for lunch and did some study on their terrace as a vital preparation for forthcoming annual examinations. This was the time when mothers had a time to monitor their child’s progress in studies and they did it while knitting the sweaters which will be ready to wear in few days.
The sparrows also comes to visit the terrace of such houses, in search of some wheat grains or puddings which they bring it back to their nests for their siblings. On one such terrace a boy and his sister are playing with a pigeon named ‘Guntu’ which became their family member since he was sheltered by them when he had some internal injury and was not able to fly. Guntu, a white pigeon with some black spots randomly spread in some fibonacci sequence; he is a guest to the family and living without any cage. Someday Guntu disappeared in mystery. Perhaps, he was healed and found some partner. As before he disappeared he started taking small flights away from home. But, always returned back. Guntu lived in one of the cupboards, which was purposely emptied for him and was taken to terrace everyday for basking. After his arrival, Sun was also consistent in appearance. With the cold of winter faded, Guntu disappeared in mystery one morning when the kids who loved him very much were in school learning something which they had to carry forward with them in their own lives and coming generations.