How easy it is for a child to be happy! How utterly simple yet priceless are their treasures! For my three-year-old niece, every walk from her house to a nearby park is an adventure. When she was around two, as soon as she came out, her squeals regularly invited a pet cat from the neighbourhood. The cat would then walk with her as far as her cat boundaries allowed. My niece would jump and clap on seeing the cat, ask her a few questions to the effect of what the cat had eaten, how was it going on in the cat world etc. etc. The cat’s company entertained her for a few minutes after which a snail or a garden goblin would catch her roving eye. She would have a full-fledged conversation with a snail that went on something like this. She would bend down on her knees and talk in her softest voice.
“Good morning, dear snail. How are you? Did you brush your teeth? Are you feeling cold?” I think she believed all mothers (human or snails) nag their children about brushing their teeth.
These days she collects pine cones, twigs, flowers, stones, shells and feathers and hands them over to her mother for safekeeping. Perks of being a mother, you see. You’ve to double up as an assistant for sundry stuff. During one of her walks, she discovered the joy of holding and blowing a dandelion (a seasonal blossom in Europe). Her happiness knew no bounds! Suddenly, she was a trickster, a magician, capable of releasing a host of feathery strands with a gentle blow.
Ah! the fun, the joy, and the glow
On your face, as you blow
The dandelions and race
With the withered strands
To catch them in your curly, pinky hands.
Sweet child, may you stay happy forever,
Blowing worries away.
When I look at her seeing the same things but responding to them so wholeheartedly I ask myself if I am really seeing. It’s summer now and the trees are in new leaf. Gifted with glistening foliage, man aren’t they gloating! The kaleidoscopic bougainvillaea, the yellow necklaces of laburnum, the shock of orange and red on Gulmohur, the dainty mauve of the jacaranda. The heat is sweltering but the roses seem to be saying, “Bring it on.” Just last week, a strange bird sound in the balcony caught my attention. It did not sound like the myna, house swifts, choti munia or sunbirds who are regular visitors. I looked out of the window and Viola! there was a grey and white ‘Shikra’ sitting on the balcony railing. It screeched for a few minutes and then vanished in the blue.
There’s just so much to see. Magic is happening all around us. Did you stop and stare at nature today?