After a long break I've started my morning walk and the enchanting times are back! My home is barely a kilometer away from Pune University and so that’s where I am at each dawn. As I step into the campus, the street lights go off and then it is all dark, silent and so very beautiful! The moon glows overhead, birds are not all up yet and there is cool breeze! Sigh! How I have missed all this.
There is a nice patch of garden through which I pass that has a riot of colours as myriad flowers are now in full bloom.
I walk – happy and free – swinging my arms, a spring in my step. Earlier I used to rush to and fro since my morning chores before getting to work in time were innumerable back then. Of late my duties have lessened and so I enjoy more freedom to do as fancy takes me.
Once just at the start of my walk I saw two tiny dots glowing away in the dark underfoot. I drew closer to peer at it and Whoa! It was a worm with its rear all lit up, crawling across the path. The worm had “tail lights”! Two dots shimmering in a gentle white glow! Wow! Had never ever seen anything like that before. Kept marveling at it for a long time! Also prayed for its safety since it was bang in the middle of the path.
Another thing that never fails to bewitch me is the way Antigonon (Coral Vine) and other creepers with so many hued flowers spread themselves over the huge, dark clump of trees at one turn. I especially love Antigonon's vernacular name from my childhood: "Ice cream Vel".
The very air around this "flowery carpet over trees" is fragrant. The whole thing looks mysterious and yet quite scenic! Little things like these make me so glad that I chose this city to live all those years ago!
Before heading back I go and sit on a bench under the trees in the same garden. To listen to silence, empty my mind and look forward to the coming day to give me all that it has to offer. For a city dweller like me, sitting – and doing nothing - under a tree has always been both a rare treat and a great delight.
I have always been fascinated by the sheer massiveness of the Baobab tree there. But this time around I see the enormous trunk of the Baobab tree rotting away – I suppose termites have been at it. It came as a shock to see the majestic giant lurched forward so, most of back of its trunk hollow now. A terrible, heart-breaking sight! But the foliage is green as ever and so I trust it to survive.
Pune was where I spent all my school vacations and it is still an enchanting city to me with strange and charming childhood memories that are sparked off by a flower here and a whiff of an herb there while walking so happily. The hues of the morning sky, the luminescence of the moon in the wide expanse of the sky with that distinct “green” smell of the leaves and of the vegetation underfoot – all grips me like some magical experience.
The other day on a whim I chose a little off beat path to circumvent the garden and an owl shot out from the bush pell-mell – rudely awakened from its nocturnal perch. Wow! I had never ever seen an owl up so close and I don’t know who was more startled – the owl or I.
It was a small bird and while it tried hard to make some sense out of this giant figure intruding by tramping along so close; the realization hit me that there was no fluttering sound of wings whatsoever! The bird went helter-skelter but there was no sound! I didn’t know an owl could do that! I guess it is the hunter’s requisite. Crows, pigeons – the whole noisy lot – is what I have known. Not this swift little object so supple on the wing! Took my breath away!
I love going back to my magical land of early dawn!