Home is where nature is
To begin with let me share a secret, unlike you all its green blood which runs thru my veins…My grandpa chose land, infested with snakes next to a grave yard and a poultry farm on the outskirts of the city to make a house. His requirements of peace and un-disturbed supply of chicken was being met. Granny was happy as she loved open spaces and wanted it in ample to keep buffaloes as pets and make clay stove and oven to cook rotis and dal with fire from the dung. My mother was more than delighted to have a sprawling garden at her disposal to nurture. Dad was all smiles because wild cats and peacocks chose our house to expand their family. And when I arrived, I too had no reason to complain since there were enough trees around to climb.
Then one day our buffalo had a baby. It was a moment of celebration of the family and for me that calf was like a sibling. Infact I even gave it our family surname and lovingly called it ‘Katti Walia’ (katti-in Punjabi means calf). I also had rabbits and parrots for pets and remember hanging water and grain bowls from the trees in summer months. Childhood was perfect and pollution free. I learnt the art of storing dried flowers as seeds to sow in the next season. In spring our house was painted with colours of the nature that bloomed in the garden. Gulmohar laiden with red flowers, dahlias, roses and sweet peas bloomed in different colors. Bees could be heard humming and made home under the bougainvillea bushes.
Nothing much has changed in the last four decades, mama is found spending a major chunk of her waking up hours talking and tending to her children errr plants. In fact the family now includes 4 mango trees, 3 lemon, grapevines, one each of banana, guava, chikoo and papaya and many vegetables from radish, carrots, tomatoes to mint and chilies. Dad enjoy his trips to the nursery, picks best quality seeds, manure etc to feed the growing family. We still have poisonous reptiles as uninvited guests, and you might even get to witness a cat-snake fight.
The fragrance of sweet peas is my favourite, I love walking in the rains and floating paper boats. Food cooked in a clay oven definitely takes you closer to being organic and tastes different- you have to eat to know what I mean. Kanji (made with black carrots) is my preferred choice of drink. Want to get closer to life? All I need to do is pack my bags and head home!
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