Dear Readers, you may notice the dates of the Blog do not match the Flash Post dates which are in real time. The blog was written in 2009 and saw the light of day 6 months back when my younger daughter discovered it and decided to bring it to you here.
Ticking Hearts | Flash Post 397

Ticking Hearts | Flash Post 397

Button, being quarantined for over a month already because of the virus that’s taken over lives round the world, my tête-à-tête with plants, crows, stray dogs and cats, bees and butterflies, even creepy crawlies, has increased many fold.

But I see you speak with plants in the garden every morning. You even call them by name.

Well, Button, I’ll tell you why it’s a pleasure engaging in tête-à-têtes with other ticking hearts.

I’m listening.

Having a chat with other living species who lend a ear without talking back brings about a huge release from stress and anxiety. From uncertainty, hopefully temporarily, about the future ever since COVID 19 struck.  From unpleasantness in relationships in general. It’s just a very happy space for me. For instance, I had a chat with a tiny ant and the blackest of black raven today. This ant was scurrying along our bedroom floor at breakneck speed when he suddenly froze. To my horror, I discovered that the reason for this arrest was a single shoe belonging to dost lying in his path. I moved the shoe aside, assured him the coast was clear so he could go ahead. I wondered if he was on his way to some destination, perhaps to join his loved ones in some far away place, because of the current crisis!

This is one more act of yours which never ceases to fascinate me. I’ve often watched you catch a cricket and release it in the garden after whispering in his ear that all’s well. Another time I watched in horror when you gently caught a massive moth and guided him to step on your palm so he could fly away. Why do you do the things you do? What do you get by giving an ant a renewed life when anybody else would have squashed him for fear of being bitten?

It’s just a feel-good thing for me.  I can’t say when I picked up this habit but I seem to like it. Humans  have poached, murdered, tortured and hunted other living species inhumanely for food, for insane pleasures, for showing off to the world that they are the superior race compared to other living beings and the fact that they hold the reins firmly in their hands.

That’s so so inhumane. I also overheard you talking with a crow this morning.

This raven who I call Night, comes and squats outside our kitchen window every morning around eleven and keeps cawing. The routine I follow now is that I send our maid outside to hand over some leftovers from the previous night. He gobbles up the food and if he spots another crow by chance, he quickly scoops up the remaining and flies away. If you must know, our conversation this morning went thus:
Me: Good morning, Night.
Night: Caw.
Me: Are you hungry?
Night: Caw, caw.
Me: You are very pretty.
Night: Caaw.
Me: Do you have a friend?
Night: Caw.
Me: Why don’t you bring her along one day?
Night: Caaaw.
Me: Someone just brought food for you.
Night: Caw….and he was gone.

What are some of the other creatures you’ve made friends with?

You know of Lizzy, the tiny lizard who made our kitchen his home.

I remember her. She was the one chotididi was terrified of and get nightmares over. She actually saw Lizzy as a huge alligator with a perfect set of pearly teeth. During a trip dost and I took, she managed to scare Lizzy away. I’ve not seen her since.

Can you tell us some of the names by which you call your plants?

Well, one is Violet. She’s a tiny plant with lavender coloured flowers. Then there’s Blue. She’s too is a dainty plant with beautiful blue flowers shaped like buttercups. There A plant with polished white petals whom I call Diamond. There’s Rapunzel who has long and flowing leaves that reminds me of a young girl named Rapunzel who is famous as the heroine of a German fairy tale. The story goes that she was locked up in a tower by a witch who was jealous of her beauty. She later falls in love with a handsome prince who climbs up to the tower using her tresses and escapes with her. The Brothers Grimm collected—mind you, not wrote—and published many such folklore during the 19th century. Then there’s Stalwart who is sturdy and towers over the others. There’s Juhi which is the jasmine plant that flowers every couple of months spreading her fragrance all around and a medium-sized plant with beautiful strawberry pink flowers I call PNC pronounced pink.

You speak with butterflies too, don’t you?

I do. Especially the ones who Messi traps to play with. He seems fascinated—I feel—with the fact that they can fly and he can’t. So he traps them gently with his mouth, releases them and catches them again, chasing them round and round and round. At the end of it, some get hurt so I pick them up gently and put them down on a plant with thick foliage so they are hidden from Messi’s roving  eyes, speaking with them all the while to pacify them. I also see hope and gratitude in their beautiful black eyes.

Have they ever spoken back?

I know what to do if they ever do.

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