The loud cacophony of crows wakes me up at 7 am. They are adamant on having their morning assembly right outside my window. I open my eyes to another regular day at my Mumbai apartment in Four Bungalows where I have returned after 6 months. I rub my eyes and pick up the toothbrush from the shelf above the sink, put a perfect nurdle of toothpaste on it and stare at the tiled wall in front. Every day I notice the absence of a mirror, and every day I forget to buy one. There are a couple of rusty nails hammered in the wall, probably from the earlier tenants’ mirror. I wash my mouth, then splash the water on my face. It feels cold on my dry skin. It makes me think of last night’s storm and the wet wind it brought along which has given me a sore throat. My new pet, a crow I decided to call Peter is waiting on the Kitchen window’s grill, caw-cawing loudly. Its time for his daily slice of bread and a fresh bowl of water. He dips the bread in the water and swallows the soft bites. It is fascinating to observe him everyday while I cook. A cat is wallowing somewhere in the parking, so I try to look for it from the window. I spot a tawny one yelling at another one with a black and white fur. They seem to be in a brawl of some sort. Three more cats are sitting at a distance, curiously looking at the fight that’s about to break. The winner will rule the area, and they can’t wait to find out. An undeterred Peter is still at my window grill, waiting. He has stopped being scared of my presence and flying away so I guess that’s good? We’re developing a friendship.
I boil some water and when the temperature is just warm enough I pour some out in a steel glass, to drink as a cure for my sore throat. I let the remaining water boil some more to use it for coffee later.
After working for a couple of hours, I slide the desk away and get up to take a break. I’m back in the kitchen, looking for something to eat. I find a Kitkat chocolate, I tear it open and take a bite while gazing outside the window. There is no sign of Peter but there are breadcrumbs on the wooden plank where a bread slice was kept in the morning. On the street, the cats seem to have settled beside a fisherwoman who looks like she is having a busy day. Three customers have lined up, waiting for their parcel of fish or prawns that she packs in a black plastic bag. A Cuckoo is singing from the top of the Gulmohar tree in the corner. I remember my Grandmother telling me that hearing the Cuckoo’s song signifies luck, while we sat in the backyard of her home in the village, many years ago, listening to another Cuckoo sing a similar song. It symbolizes the incoming of something new in life, she had said. I smile at the hopeful thought of something new coming in my life after 6 months of being home in the lockdown. A slightly warm and wet wind blows and the Coconut tree leaves sway with it.
I go back to my desk and press the Enter key on my keyboard to wake my laptop from its short nap. It feels like a great day to write about all of it. A breezy afternoon, some old songs I’ve been playing on the speaker and the melodious koohooo of the Cuckoo is a perfect setting for a writer to break out of the block. I wonder why we seek adventures everyday, when there is so much even a simple day can make us feel. I peep out of the window of my bedroom as I hear a bicycle’s bell ring. It is a timid guy who has a bunch of potted plants to sell. He is waiting at the gate of my society. I spot a Mogra, and I feel elated. I’ve been wanting to get a Mogra plant since days. I love the smell of its flowers. So I put on a mask, grab my wallet and keys and rush to the gate.
My Mogra sits playfully in the kitchen window beside the two Aloe Vera pots. Peter is sitting on the branch of the tree exactly in front of me. He is looking at me as I arrange the plants in a single line. A money-plant or Golden pothos is planted inside a glass bottle, probably an old Rum bottle. I am not sure. I arrange it carefully between the aloe pots. Peter has now come on the window grill. I tell him about my new Mogra. He caws. I ask him if he is hungry again. He caws. I tell him about the bargain I did with the timid guy for the plant. He caws. I ask him if he knows where the cats have gone? He caws. I keep another slice of bread for him on the wooden plank. It is his lucky day. I am in a pleasant mood.
I go back to my desk, re-wake my sleeping laptop. The excel sheet stares at me, waiting for me to get done with it so it can go back to its home folder and sleep peacefully. Sometimes I wonder if the files and folders on the computer have feelings? I let my mind indulge in that thought for a moment before my phone beeps. It is a reminder I’ve set to take a water-break. I walk into the kitchen again and take out the juice box, pour some in a glass and sip it while looking out of the window. A grey bob-cat is jumping from the compound wall on to the road. Some crows are chasing it, flying very close to its face. The cat, true to its attitude, walks away without even looking up. I wonder what the crows were bothering it about. Suddenly, I remember I need to get some work done.
I come back to my desk, the laptop is awake. I sit down and restart my work, grateful for living in a locality where nature and humans, peace and commotion all exist in a beautiful balance.