Come Alive3 mins 25.6K 3 mins 25.6K
“I’ll call this the Master of Five Senses,” Ira declared while narrowing her eyes at the sculpture, as if looking for something hidden. In a flash, she turns around to grin at my expense, doing a victory jig at the same time. Even after all this time, she still has that infectious childlike energy about her. “I beat you again!”
I sigh in mock defeat, “Well, I’m always happy to lose to you”. She is absolutely brilliant; I am no competition for her. Also, she is right. Intimidating yet supreme pillars usher you to a haven, hidden amidst sooty grey buildings. It seems to be inside a bubble, for the scenes and sounds from outside fail to overpower the lingering aura. The stoned pathway ends at an engraved spiral before the sculpture, focusing your senses before your sight sets on the majestic form of a saintly face with a contagiously peaceful look. It is surrounded by numerous faces protruding beside it, each sporting one of the five sensory organs.
True to her name, which means earth, Ira loves gardens and everything about them. No wonder most of her children’s stories are set in one. Her face radiates pure joy and happiness when she is surrounded by nature. Her stories mirror the same. Because of what it means to her, gardens and parks have become my happy-place.
I feel calmness permeate my body as I walk around the serene garden, roving my eyes over every nook and cranny. The western area displays a mural washed in sepia tones. Ira is already there before me. Before she can start off with her version, I spring up with mine. “The peacock is telling all the animals a scary story, and the langur is the most scared of them all!”
She scrunches her nose in disagreement, “Alright, but listen to mine.” My version wasn’t good enough, obviously. “Perched upon a tree overlooking the panoramic landscape of Delhi, the peacock reminisces about his adventures in the times gone by while the parrots and the pigeons listen with rapt attention. The restless langur has departed, set on an adventure of his own.” She smiles ever so lightly before running her hand lazily over the mural. None of us speak for a while.
Warm April sunshine bounds off the red stones cocooning the garden. Voices of people lounging around mingle with chitter chatter of squirrels and chirping of birds, banishing the distant incessant honking of vehicles and the faint humming of air conditioners to the background. I hear my stomach grumble; it’s the fault of all the delicious smells wafting from open tiffin boxes nearby. I think Ira heard it as well; she just averted her sly eyes away from me.
After a while, we wind up sitting and observing in silence. I had just glanced at an open lunch box and I was already salivating with the taste of aloo poori in my mouth. Ira is lost in thought and I contain my urge to poke her.
“Naanu!” I snap out of it in a jiffy as I hear my granddaughter Sanya approaching me enthusiastically. It takes me a moment to register my surroundings and gather myself. I am in the same place but Ira isn’t with me. I am past the point where I miss my wife in sadness; I live with her memories. I guess love does that to you.
Sanya is now sitting beside me, looking around. I am certain she inherited her love for gardens from Ira. “So what did you do all this while?” She asks eagerly.
“While you were in class, I was spending some quality time with your Naani.”