The days slide by, Monday slipping into Tuesday, and suddenly the week is gone. We are now in our 7th week of lockdown. Tomorrow, the second round ends, and the third round, announced for two weeks, begins. We are considered an orange zone, so still no vehicles, and a curfew of sorts. The policemen are more relaxed, and some have become creative, donning extravagant robes to direct the covit-19, mostly pedestrian, traffic during the non-curfew hours. More shops are opening and yesterday, we found cheese. Around us, the weather is growing warmer, the cicadas and barbets louder, and the violent thunderstorms, precluders of the monsoon, more frequent. Mango season is here, we are getting increasingly creative in the kitchen, with Tenor making a whopping chocolate cake, and my trying my hand at smoothies and banana tea bread. The children are happy, finding new games, being artistic, inventing birthdays, and organizing treasure hunts.
On the news, we see the pandemic plateauing, people becoming restless, hopes for a vaccine rising, finger-pointing, and people still dying in frightful numbers. We feel safe in our little haven and in the back of our minds, wonder what will happen when it all starts again, not like before.
Our animal visitors are more rare, busy elsewhere in areas neglected by humans. For more than a month, we had an old macaque rhesus monkey visit our terrace every afternoon. He was small for his age and had a lame leg. He limped his way up, then found a peaceful spot to nap. If I came out, he would retreat into a corner and look at me in a pleading way. A few times, I gave him the leftover spoils of Losar, khapses, and he ate them leisurely. Then he stopped coming. The langurs didn’t show themselves for over a month, Each year, the Kachnar tree in our garden blooms, an explosion of exuberant white flowers tinged in pink. Everyone loves these flowers, more to eat than to look at, and in usual circumstances, I don’t get to see them in their full glory. The gardeners climb the tree to collect a sack or two and the langurs take care of the rest unless a hailstorm does away with them. This year I wondered if they would come and go undisturbed, but the day before yesterday, the langurs were back. From early morning, the ladies and babies feasted on the flowers, while the teenagers jumped about the terrace, upsetting the chairs. They took a noon nap in the trees, then spent the afternoon frolicking on the lawn before discovering the children’s plastic pool. It soon became like a waterhole in the jungle. By evening they were gone, and all was calm.