Our house is quite different from others’ surrounding us. Neither is it a palatial one nor a high rise to mention. It is just a one-storey moderately old building with no architectural ornamentations or extra conveniences. But the specialty that strikes everyone most is the sprawling garden of big fruit trees and flowery arbors that cover the house all around with cool shade like a baby protected in the secure lap of its mother. Viewed from a little distance, it is quite difficult for one to discern the existence of the house that seems to have vanished except for a small patch of lush green.

Naturally, the frequent visitors and even the permanent residents besides half a dozen human inmates of our house are the birds, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, dragonflies, bees, wasps, squirrels, many other unknown insects, and warms,  and of course a troop of mischief-mongering monkeys. Needless to say, cows and goats of the neighboring slum dwellers loaf about the two gates attached to the lofty boundary wall of the garden with the hope of getting an opportunity to trespass as they are unwelcome guests.

I, as a morning walker, never need to set an alarm on my mobile phone to get up from bed early in the morning. The morning orchestra replete with the mellifluous cooing of the cuckoos, chirping of the sparrows, twittering of the Red-vented Bulbul, quaver of the warblers, pecking of the woodpeckers frequently commoved by the cawing of the crows and squabbling of the rose-ringed parakeets in the old carambola and guava trees and the belligerent mynas under the coconut and bête nut trees hardly fail to wake up me from bed.


A passerby is bound to slow his paces fascinated by the inebriating fragrance emanating from the flowers like ‘gandharaj’, ‘beli’, ‘shiuli’ champak, jasmine, and of course the variety of roses in full bloom while walking or strolling near the arbor. The morning breeze wafting around the garden is sure to carry the sweet odor of the blossoms beyond the boundary wall.

Colorful butterflies and dark black wasps which are late risers do not unfurl their wings to hover over the flower pods humming and collecting nectar until the dewdrops are glittering like diamonds deposited on the blades of grass in the first splendor of the sun. The wild movements of the boughs of the Jamun, mango, and jackfruit trees will unmistakably tell you that the monkey troop is waking up. The young ones seem more interested in frolicking than filling their stomachs.

The squirrels start scampering about the branches of the juicy fruit trees in search of the coveted prizes of the day before their other contenders peeping out of their holes in the tree trunks. The chameleons and wild lizards are without movement targeting some beautiful insects or worms. The caterpillars are in congregation in the ‘siuli’ and berry branches brooding over their prospective transcendence into dandy butterflies.

In the mid-afternoon, a mystic silence pervades all over the garden except the soft whistling of some unknown birds hiding in the cool shade of the bush where the mango trees and the bay leaf ones seem to hug cordially. In the afternoon the eloquent bulbul couples keeping a strict vigil on their nestlings in the small bowl-shaped nests hidden in the brightly colored foliage of the croton shrubs seem engaged in serious conversations. It definitely entices one to recite Keats’ famous line, 'The poetry of earth is never dead'.

When the sun descends in the west, the garden tinged with the reddish glow takes a different look. The leafy sky through which the sunlight is strained creates a magical spell in the garden. Thousands of birds become busy finding their shelters for the night in every branch of the evergreen trees. Commotion out of twittering and chirping of the homecoming birds with their flying to and fro to settle their perching ceases until the twilight approaches to welcome the evening. Really, our garden is a never-ending source of joy.


Then a huge dark cloak enveloping the beautiful garden with pitch darkness evokes an eerie sensation in my mind. Simultaneously, I cannot remove my eyes from the starry sky inside the bushes created by the fireflies with their twinkling lights. The depth of the all-pervading silence is intensified by the chirping of the cricket, the hooting of the owl, the scampering of the pests like field mice, the gliding of the snakes in search of frogs jumping on the carpet of dry leaves, and other mysterious susurrations unknown to me.

But the garden turns silver in the moonlit nights. My heart then leaps up with joy to recite the immortal lines from Walter de la Mare’s “Silver” -

“Slowly, Silently, now the moon/ Walks the night in her silver soon;”

I cannot help gazing at the elusive garden from my bed through the window a little ajar until I plunge into slumber with the dream of daybreak.

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