March 2020

Pihoo! Scream the peacocks. The chirruping birds create a cacophony as a monkey climbs higher up on a Kikar tree. Phyto barks. Navya pulls the leash. Atul takes over. He hands back their seven-month-old toddler, Aadi, to Navya. Mornings are still a bit nippy. The walking trail in the Aravalli Hills biodiversity park is amusing as always. 

The jingling cowbells of a herd passing by mingles with the temple bells as they approach their society. 

Navya rejoices. “Ah! I’m home at last, away from the concrete jungle of Gurugram.”

“This cost us a bomb, dear. Is your mom coming after Holi? You need to join back. You’re a software engineer. It’s a good offer.” Atul quips.

“Well, that’s her decision. She can’t stay with us forever. Let me see. I yearn to follow my passion.”

“You and your passions! My dreamy queen! Come out of your bookish lifestyle and fashion magazines.”


Atul smiles haughtily, “Wow, what a break! I don’t know how long this lockdown will continue. Good, we shifted to our new house.”

“Have you seen the laburnum tree? The yellow mellows my heart like Wordsworth’s Daffodils.

‘My heart with pleasure fills 

And dances with daffodils.’ 

Lucky! isn’t it?” Navya sways while reciting.”


“Work from home is a 24-hour job. Boss calls anytime. Bloody deadlines! Gosh! 

I need coffee. Navya, where are you?” 

“Hey, Aadi! Look here, yeah! click!”

“Okay! Aadi, Woohoo!”

 Giggling sound. Click!

“So, here you’re. Having fun shooting!”

“Let’s see, our munchkin’s pictures. Lovely! Dear, make a cup of coffee, please.”


The laburnum strews its yellow flowers across the lawn. 

“Atul, come here. Aadi tried to stand holding the garden table. He was crawling behind Phyto and then got attracted to a bird pecking rice from the bowl. He approached…”

Atul, engrossed in his laptop, cuts her short and says, “Wow! Very nice. Make videos, dear.”

Navya wonders, “Did he pay attention to my words?”

Blowing Loo raises a dust storm.


Tip tap! Rain is still playing games under the green laburnum. A stone obstructs the paper boat’s sail. 

A frog leaps. 

“Whoa! Aadi, come, dear. Leave the railing. Yes, one step. Yay! Click!

Atul shouts from his concrete four-walls, “Navya, stop it!”

“Your clicks are not getting us a job.”

Dark clouds hover again.


Rainbow! Click!

Phyto in mid-air, its golden fur hanging. Click!

Aadi is about to clap, his eyes wide and bright, a mighty grin showing a milky tooth. Click!

“Navya, when did you do this?”

“You’re amazing! You got a million-dollar deal!” Atul is ecstatic.

“When did he get a tooth?

A peacock dancing in our garden, its shimmering feathers wide open, birds drinking water from an earthen deep plate, a squirrel nibbling titbits. 

Is it our garden?”

“Yes, I posted pictures, their background stories with descriptions of Aravalli hills, flora, fauna, people, local flavours…

It seems somebody’s quite interested to offer me a deal to write a coffee table book.”

A peahen flies. Click!
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