Be My Guest

As a child, I grew up in a home frequented by guests, be it relatives or friends. Since we had a huge garden we had additional visitors which included cats, dogs, cows and lots of birds. We woke up to the crowing of the rooster. Meows, barking, chirping, cawing would follow incessantly only to be broken by human chatter, bells tinkling and the occasional honk of vehicles. In between our studies, playtime and childhood squabbles, we always had time to put some chappatis for the cows and dogs, milk for the cats and grains for the birds. There was always an earthen bowl full of water, big enough to accommodate birds drinking, bathing and splashing water all around. There was peace, happiness, fun, and love all around.

And then I grew up to become a professional. Life changed pace to keep up with professional demands and family requirements. I didn’t have the time to analyze whether the absence of guests and visitors at home was due to my dying leisure time or their dying breeds.

    “Child is the Father of Man” was a debate topic that had got me a gold medal in school days but its truth shook me when my children questioned my lifestyle. They stared at my childhood album as if it was fiction like the cartoons on T.V.They were woken up by cold alarm bells and heard nothing more than ceaseless vehicular commotion, honking, digital pandemonium, and human babble. Where was the peace, fun, happiness, and love? Research had the glaring reality in front of us-the breeds were actually dying and my dying leisure time was clouding my awareness.

               I went on a correction mode and got two cute puppies as pets. I started planting ornamental plants, developed a garden and extended it to include organic vegetables and trees. As the trees and plants grew, I noticed butterflies, bumble-bees, grasshoppers and other insects. Squirrels, cats, sparrows,sun-birds, Indian bustard soon followed. I found time to place grains and water for them as I fed my dogs. The chirping, cawing, buzzing, barking was back in the air as was fun, happiness, peace, and prosperity. My guests were back home!

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