A silvery dawn, shimming through the windows. From the corners of my eyes, the invitation to get up and bask in the beauty was incontestable. There is nothing new or phenomenal, just another regular day with its mundane routine of getting up and getting on with the business of life. But has the business of life ever been normal? What we thought of, imagined and considered normal has already been thrown off the shelves by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or more commonly the COVID 19). A once-in-a-century pandemic, notwithstanding the human cost, the catastrophe caused may take years for recovery, surpassing even a generation. Not a single day passes, without the news on daily numbers of positive cases, deaths, spiraling graphs across different zones, states and countries, blitzkriegs our vision and mind. It has become ‘the’ topic of conversation even in shanty tea stalls spread across the land. COVID 19 is probably the most familiar word across the planet!!
Fallen Leaves !!
The desire to stay alive and ensure the survivability of our communities has sparked a struggle at levels unheard of in contemporary history. Overall, the situation appears miserable and bleak. In these trying circumstances, each one of us needs to find a beacon of hope to stride out. It is a race most of us would rather avoid. A race not only against a formidable opponent but also our inner demons to beat. Former, recognizable, and primarily out of our reach while later, faceless but within us to peek, understand and grapple. Partly on account of the soaring infections but largely a timid disposition, my morning walks have been restricted within the four walls of our house. A reasonably large compound to play and roam around offers the opportunity for brisk walking and some mild exercise. A mint fresh cool morning allows my mind to drift among waves upon waves of thoughts and ideas – some good, most not so. Apart from the loud chirps of the Great Racket-tailed Drongo, eager King Fishers and jumping Mynas, a brown rustling bed of dry leaves welcome my arrival. A dead leaf falling down is not a novelty. Just like all of us, it is playing its part in evolution. The early morning breeze must have carried them down after bidding farewell to the rest of the family and relatives across the strong teak, coconut and mango trees. After all, nature has the decency by giving enough time to each one of its subjects. Like elite Paratroopers, they fan out. North, South, East-West, on the terrace or the parapet, you name it, leaves everywhere. Old Sun-baked ones fall with a thud; others are soundless – hushed. Their final fate is varied. Some, crumbling under our feet, disintegrating into unrecognizable tatters, flying up high with the lightest of gushing wind. Rest, collected and burned. Life of a leaf, short, hardly noticeable, mostly insignificant and unbeknownst to all, shows what each of us goes through or would be going through. It may not inspire us to imbibe greater meaning and purpose of life, but pressing the pause button of our hectic modern life may force us to observe and absorb nature’s power and beauty. We, too, are a part of that great game, and its rules applicable to each of us. A childlike curiosity, in awe of nature’s marvel, would instead refresh and mobilize us. A call to get up and march, taking small steps – even if the destination is far away and probably never for us to reach.