Story told by the backyard

When we first arrived at this house and looked out of the windows we saw a piece of barren land. A large barren land. Few birds used to visit. But, that was mostly it. Much like us back then.

And one day a mayhem beckoned us to peak through the curtains and we saw a tractor ploughing the field. Birds were following the trail left by the tractor and coming in hordes. Oh, the smell of wet soil. It just felt like the freshness we felt in our life at that point.

Before we could even fathom it, tiny saplings were beginning to grow in shades of bright green. What was the crop we wondered; it could be anything, potatoes, corn, rice or even onions for that matter? We did not know for sure. Perhaps it was a bit like what were doing at that point; just going with the flow.

Turns out that it was just grass. Plain grass. What is the point of cultivating such a large field of grass? Fodder. It’s food for cattle. That is a noble cause to live for. Sometimes a plain boring life is not that bad. It has a purpose too. Rather, you don’t need a great purpose to live. You just do what you have to do.

The summer heat beat the life out of the grass. It becomes a pale yellow, the colour of hay. The birds flies in and out in flocks. But they are not around for long, it is just a pit stop for them. Perhaps, it is a reminder that our time here is slowly coming to an end. Not that we were not expecting it, but it is never easy.

The headlights shine through our window and we look outside into the night. We follow the lights of the tractor as it cut to and fro through the field. We can hardly figure out what’s happening out there. May be we should just take it as it comes and not worry about the future.

Morning comes. We see neat piles of grass rolled up into tight little packs, scattered here and there in the field. Are those memories or emotional baggages? Is it easy to just pick up your things and move on?

And, just when we think it is all over, the tractor comes again. This time the field is ploughed again. The tilled soil looks so fertile and ready. What will be the next crop? What is in store for us? We don’t have the slightest clue. May be it doesn’t matter. We should just make best out of whatever it is.

The grass will forever be green on this side.

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The bird in our backyard

‘The bird in our backyard’-the title says it all.It is about the connection I felt with the birds in a new home in new city. I have never worked so long or hard on a blog piece, not that its great story material, but because I decided to click pics to go with the blog. Hope you enjoy the read and love the birdie as much as I do.

Well, it all started with moving to a new city and a new home. And, curiously enough I was not excited. More like relieved that I was finally here, and perhaps anxious that this is short-term, and wondering about what is in store for us in next few months.

This is the first home, we (me, he and baby T) moved into, and when I got a call from him asking what kind of home I wanted, I asked for one with a window. I wanted to keep it open for me and T to look outside. And, bam!! The wish was granted.

Here, I was in front of this big window, overlooking the backyard with greenest (even Hulk could get a complex) grass ever and trees in full bloom. And, she flew into my life. A black and white bird, the size of a crow.

The next day, I called mom and she asked about the neighbourhood. I told her, it is pretty lonely as most people stay indoors, but we had a friendly bird family in the tree nearby. And, like any grandmother, she said not to take T anywhere near the bird; what if it hurts him. I laughed (while rolling eyes) and said to her, it will probably be thinking that I am going to hurt her kids (at that point, I didn’t know that the birdies don’t have kids yet). My mom (probably rolled her eyes) said, “here goes the writer”. And, that is how it all began. My search for a story about the birdie(s).

After he leaves to work, it is pretty much me and T alone left to our antics. It did need some time for us to get used to the eerie silence in our block. There was Fred, the maintenance guy, who would wave at me while mowing the grass or the Nepali grandmother (don’t know her name, she does not speak English) who would smile while tending to her herb garden. And, there was the birdies (they never made appearances together, it was always one of them). Whenever it was around, I will point it to T and say, “Look at the birdie”, ” birdie is here”, “birdie got the wormie”. Such stuff. But these are things that all birds do. No story stuff. Sigh!

I didn’t know anything about it, other than it is a black and white bird. May be, it was time to do some background check and I typed ” black and white birds in the UK” in Google. It is a “Magpie”, I told T. He giggled at my Wikipedia knowledge about the birdies. Even he seemed to know that these are facts, not story material. More sigh!

Little did he know that birdies have become his mom’s obsession (second only to him). I thought I should up my game. May be if I follow it around, and click some pics on the go (for the blog), something or other will happen which will give me a thread for my story. In comes his DSLR (of course after, several failed attempts with mobile cam). And, that is how the agony started. Whenever I was free, the birdie was never to be seen. Whenever T was being fed or in a bad mood, it was seen quite nearby, but my hands were full, and there was no way I could take a picture. And, even if I managed to take the cam, it knew exactly when to fly away without getting into my frame. And, I swear it was the most annoying thing ever.

Now, don’t think I was totally jobless and doing nothing but wiling my time away looking at the birdie. Birdie was just in the background and there was so many other thoughts beating the crap out of my brain. Most of all, I was always wondering about “what next” and “what if”. I was resisting falling in love with this place (moreover, the persons that we are here) as I know the separation is not too far and I did not want to get hurt. But, this was unlike me. Until few months back I used to say that I wanted to move about; not stay in a place for long and get into a comfort zone. I wonder what happened to me that I am too scared to let go and be. Now, I am always yearning for security, certainty and balance. I feel adventure and excitement can wait; what I need is stability. I don’t know if this is maturity or just that I am getting old, either way, it feels like a part of me went missing. And, birdie was exactly what I needed at this point of time. If not anything else, it kept me busy.

With my camera (rather gadget) handicap, I struggled to get one decent picture of the bird. The bird taught me patience big time!. It also taught me that things don’t always happen when you chase it, but it does when the time comes. After lot of taunting and teasing, one day she finally walked into my frame. I managed to get her in one picture and I was so happy, I can’t explain. It taught me to focus on simple joys of life. It taught me to go about life as if nothing happened or will happen that will rock your world. Focus!!! Focus on catching the worm. Fly out, catch worm, fly in. Forget about the sparrows, woodpeckers, bees and butterflies. You are not in same league. Period!

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It also taught me that we are not a story, with a beginning or ending. That there should be some unpredictability even in certainty. And, this I learned after several weeks of observing the birdies. Because, today I saw them hunting for twigs, and I thought they are reinforcing their nest. Surprise!! They are moving to the nearby taller tree to the topmost branch. I had no clue they are moving ahead in their life (either family expansion or fed up of the paparazzi me) though I was so closely watching them. Perhaps they are teaching me that you don’t have to tell the world your every move; when time comes the world will know.

In the end, I still didn’t get a story. But, we finally have two friendly neighbours. And, may be more on the way 😉

P.S
I have never taken so long for a blog piece. It took me 2 hours to write this. But several weeks to take the not so great pics. Not all people with a DSLR is a photographer. I hope you appreciate the birdies as much as I do.