Murder and meditation

They say it is a good time to catch up with movies you have missed earlier. So I begin watching Raman Raghav 2.0. Nawaz is menacing in the matter-of-factness with which he murders people. But after five people are killed I find it too gruesome to continue watching. I pause the film and go for a walk on the terrace. It is my only respite in these claustrophobic days.

A cool breeze is blowing. The green boughs sway and I feel like Wordsworth, until I dismiss the fuzzy notion from my head. Suddenly a flock of a dozen tiny Indian silverbills rise in front of my eyes. I see them settle down on the brambles of the babool. Close to each other. If I hadn’t seen them descend a moment ago I would have mistaken them for dried leaves. The wind gets stronger and now the trees are really bending down and swaying hard. The silverbills are clutching hard to the boughs for their lives. They snuggle in their collectiveness but not a single one falls off in the rough wind.

There is a nip in the air. It reminds me of some solitary walks I used to take by the Thames when I was in London. Smiling and saying hello to friendly strangers. It was my way to combat loneliness then. Now if I walked out I wouldn’t even find people to smile at in this lockdown.

A raucous courtship call distracts me. Even before I see it, I know who it is and where to find it. A white-breasted water hen. Perched on the barbed wire of the boundary wall. I have seen it at the same spot before. My first instinct is to go downstairs and grab a camera. But I want to be in the moment. Capture the sight in my mind. So I pause. The bird stays in the same place. I don’t budge either, unwilling to disturb it. Fifteen minutes turn into thirty. It is as if it has chosen to meditate, and has roped me in with its prayer. Silence. Stillness. And I am aware of a new shade of green on all the leaves. Nature is renewing herself for another new season. Soon we will see new blossoms on the mango tree.

And as twilight settles in, a large raindrop falls on my nose. I look up at the skies and then at the bird. Raindrops are now falling on its head too. Finally it shuffles and moves out of my vision. I see other birds seek cover in the undergrowth. A couple of noisy parakeets try and find a place to hide in this rain. The rain now comes in fast and furious.

I get back to my room. And let Mother Nature get on with its deep cleansing. She has hard work to do. Don’t feel like watching a man with a car jack smashing people’s skulls any more.

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