My better half and I were reminiscing the days with our children while one of their offspring was playing hide and seek with us. The tiny tot had ventured into our lonely home as if on a courtesy call along with his parents who are undoubtedly the busiest persons in the world. As grandparents we have an inexplicably relaxed feeling contrary to the tense times as parents. Now I understand the meaninglessness of my fury at my father who was cool to the core amidst our busy lives.
Our pristine surroundings wear an extra lustre during monsoon. My grandson was soaking it in, clapping his hands and dancing in mirth.
My son was lost in a monologue while the rain poured, unbridled, to submerge the front yard in seconds. “Of course dad, I am going to convert this landholding into a beautiful farmhouse with all amenities for a hassle-free stay once in a while. One of those ponds can easily be converted into a fine swimming pool. It is only when you are in a surrounding like this that you experience life in its full glory. Not an inch of land be sold, nor a single twig cut down. We have to preserve them all. I need all this for the future. I’ve had to face the worst of climatic conditions in my places of work. It’s only when I plan a holiday here that I get some relief.” He was slightly philosophical even as a youngster, but could easily forget such moorings once back in the mundane world of civil service.
There were suggestions to sell part of the ancestral property as it has become unmanageable for us. Agriculture was the mainstay here. Our forefathers had the skill to harvest much out of the fertile land. Now there is little to cheer about as an agriculturist. A majority have sold off land for better earnings. Some inner voice has forbidden us from signing the deal.
My father had a disgust for the worn-out ancestral home and wanted to raze the century-old dwelling place to raise a two-storey building in its place. Some unpleasant incidents occurred in the household in between. This was more than enough for the elders and my mother to dissuade father from further misadventures. Then there was an attempt to clear the land preserved as a kavu (sacred grove). Father wanted to erect a wall around it after cutting down ancient trees. A huge Pala tree, standing from time immemorial, was also listed for eviction. It is said that the man who paid advance to buy the tree was injured in an accident and withdrew.
The ponds shelter flora and fauna, undaunted by the harshest summer. Thus we have the black box of nature’s secrets well-kept.
I was lost in thoughts while rhythmic rain was reduced to a trickle until it stopped. My daughter-in-law, an amateur singer, was infusing her youthful enthusiasm in a lullaby for the kid, as paper boats floated in the courtyard.