The alarm rings diligently at 630 am reminding me that a new day has come, waiting to be discovered! As I wake from my slumber with half closed eyes, the last wafts of a busy dream fade in the eyes of my mind. As I desperately try to remember all the action, I get out of the bed. At this time of the year, every night, the pattern of hot and cold changes. Is it cold when I wake up? I check the temperature and it is a cool 18 degree outside. I mentally prepare myself for the cold water that I am going to be splashing my face with!

A new day

After I refresh myself, it is time for the homely routine. I saunter down, part the curtains and open the windows, soaking in the crisp cool air that has secret smells of the flowers and leaves of the forest in a heady mix that reminds me how grateful I am to be alive… another new day! The best part of the morning awaits me as I step into the balcony to greet my plants.

Living colours

Some are radiantly green, some are half-wilted or struggling while many are dazzling with bright colours, so happy to bloom, like an eager student jumping up and down in his seat waiting to answer the question. How amazing is their story? A day or a few days old, their life exists to bloom, share their beauty with anybody and everybody. Who cares to watch? I do! Which plant needs a dash of water, which one needs a big drench, which leaves are drying, which flower is drooping, which stalk has new buds, or which buds are blooming radiantly! What a feast for the eyes to watch this colourful exhibition of nature! To add to the beauty a few peacocks with their brilliant feathers walk past pecking at the soil for food. They ignore me as if I don’t meet their criteria for friendship, with their proud necks, their snooty comb that jiggles every time they turn their heads and with the regality that nature has gifted them through their gorgeous feathers! As I am moved yet again by the design of nature, it is time to get the household kick started.

Flying colours

A blend of Darjeeling and Assam tea, brewed in volume in the carafe, while a honey blended green tea for my wife and a hot chocolate drink for my daughter. I am a master of beverages, healthy by day and spiked at night… aah that requires a blog of its own! 🙂 Then it is time to put away the dishes, fill the water bottles, fill the copper urn with drinking water, air the room, and light some refreshing incense.

By the time the ambience of a fresh, clean, decluttered and organised home and kitchen are set for the day, my canine son Neo, my early morning companion, gallops down the stairs to experience the same feeling that I was steeped in a few minutes earlier. He wanders into the garden with an unusual haste, like a guard who has been alerted of some intruders. Neo too loves sniffing the air, and soaking in the sights and sounds, that are closer to earth from his eye level. He sits on his haunches on a cold and quiet morning, when the peacock family hasn’t yet wandered into the garden opposite us. On a sunny morning like today, Neo has an edge to his stance and sticks his nose between the grills to smell the living beings around. He smells the peacocks closest to him, feathery and musty; the neighbourhood pets in the distance, sanitised with a rouge coating of the dust they kick up as they trot around from tree to tree. Neo also smells the neighbours, instinctively using his olfactory yardstick to decide who is a good person and who could be a threat, a sense that triggers his barking. On most days, he mindfully enjoys the morning sights and sounds with me, till he can’t take no more waiting for me to finish sipping my tea.

The sloped trail

Then, father and son, step out for a chaperoned walk. One often visualises a dog obediently following his master, trotting alongside, without tugging at the leash. Neo, as some people commented, takes me for a walk. After his first few splashes at his favourite bushes, he wants to explore the environment and races down the sloped road, regardless of the choking effect of his leash, as I fly behind him trying to balance myself!

He sniffs, every dry leaf, every twig, every fresh leaves… for pheromones… the magic chemical that contributes to the foundation of relationships between animals and even humans. Sometimes I wonder, whether he is marking his territory or just squirting a greeting of joy… ‘Hey Friend! I smelled you! You will smell me when you return to this spot!” Much like a missed date… and a post it left at the cafe table… ‘I was here… you can find me here again next time!’ We alternate between walking, jogging and running and what triggers and controls his movement choice is still a mystery to me. Neo enjoys his interaction with the breeze, the sun, the forest. He reacts more aggressively to the peacocks and any other campus dogs. He is nonchalant towards most humans except if it is a person dressed in a formal uniform…. guards, support staff, and the likes. But the main reason for his nonchalant attitude is because except for Neo, everybody else considers him a dog. Neo has serious identity crises!

Nothing canine about me!

Once, we return, it is time to get ready for the professional part of the day! Virtual school! More of that later.