Sunday, October 21, 2012

Little things

The other day I woke up to some disappointing news. I saw the text message, closed my eyes, felt a tear run down and wondered how the rest of the Durga Puja season would pass. A is here and we had planned to go somewhere for lunch. But I was in no mood to even get out of bed by that time.

The doorbell rang shrilly. Loud, clear, insistent - but above al,l shrill. I thought I'd just wait for the caller to go away. But callers on the other side of doors are usually not that perceptive. Thankfully.

Because the caller was my neighbour who had come calling. She wanted to show me some treats in her home. I was just about to decline but her face was positively shining with joy. So I put on my best 'What the heck' expression and shuffled across the floor to her house. One of the prized rose bushes had bloomed. It was a deep, luscious maroon rose with, what looked like, a hundred large petals. They were unfurled as if the bud had been prised open by a master artisan's fingers. The bright crimson-and- black melt of the petals lay soft and sweet, like a mousse topping. Part of the flower was peeking out of the balcony railing. It looked cheeky and naughty and a relatable kind of stunning. My neighbor also showed me a couple of her newer plants - one is a small shrub with mustard-yellow, tiny flowers. They have a spicy, sharp fragrance that gives the impression of being in the kitchen when tawa pulao is being made. She also had a large pot where a tall waterlily grew amidst a flickering shoal of bluish-silver fish. She'd recently bought Turtu, a tiny Singaporean turtle who lay in a bowl of water - the picture of peaceful placidity.

The hour I spent at her place was so grand. So much quiet, dignified, purposeful growth. Indefensible in its stance. No twittering type of existence, fumbling on a list of what-ifs. Just a clear, surrender to the day's portion of the sun and light and air.

I'm glad I opened the door.


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