The love of the outdoors

Of late, our opening words have been some reason or the other to explain our long absence from here. This time, let’s do it differently. You decide the reason. Take your pick:

a) There’s a lot going on in our lives.

b) We have been under the weather.

c) We are temperamental – it’s just our wish and whim when we deign to give audience.

d) All of the above.

e) None of the above.

We’ve just come in from our morning exercise in the terrace outside. We have been complaining about the filthy smell and grey cloud around, but humans don’t seem to really care. It’s a repeat every year, so we are not even going to bother directing you to the places in the past we have made this point (you want our opinion on the human race, go through our words of wisdom of the past.) Humans want to self-destruct, so be it 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️ What is very annoying is this whole business has upset our schedule. Now Mom does not take us out early in the morning. When we jump on her sleeping tummy to wake her, she rolls over and shushes us. When she does get up, it is to do all her other chores first. She takes us out later when, she says, the air clears up a bit because she does not want us to run and inhale the “haze”. It’s all very well to sit with tea and a newspaper, which – mind you – as we have said before, we love peeking at over her shoulder; but it is very difficult to be intellectually grasping current affairs when your bladders are protesting to bursting point.

In all fairness to Mom, she opens the door to let us out to our little litter corner. We do go out, saunter, sniff, but come right back indoors. No, it’s not the early morning stink, nor are we afraid of the “haze”. How do you expect us to do our morning business without an audience, preferably our privy attendant? During the day, if we have to, we manage on our own, but the first and the last jobs of the day need a privy attendant. So we examine the lay of the land but will not proceed to the main task if Mom is not standing right there watching us.

That’s how our outdoors schedule starts and ends. Then there is the chase-the-ball bit, which we love. It’s Mom’s fun time in the morning too though our unceasing love for this exercise gets redirected to Big Bro at other times of the day and night. Mom takes us for our evening walk, so we don’t want to tire her out – after all, she’s not getting any younger. So while Big Bro is here, we have these outdoor ball games at any time we please, including at 1 a.m. He’s a darling. We can jump on him anytime, paw him anytime, and he’ll obey.

Except when he’s at his computer, working. Then he too shushes us. We hate that, and once registered our protest while he was busy at something called a “meeting”. We clambered on to his lap and that’s how we were introduced to others at computers halfway across the world. So, we can gleefully say that we’ve gone international; we’ve met those even Dad, Mom and Big Sis have not been introduced to. So privileged are we to be allowed behind closed doors for these meetings that we generously allow Big Bro his time off, but at 7 p.m. sharp, we sit at his feet, ball in the mouth, paws poised to nudge and remind, and pitch tuned in to the whine that will get him off that computer and – you’ve guessed it – outdoors.

outdoor_m-gloryWith the weather on its way to glorious (minus the mess humans have made of the air), outdoor life is fun. Mom spends more time outside, getting weirder by the day as she finds more plants to talk to and more flowers to squeal over. Curious, we too decided one day to smell the flowers. Just what did Mom find so charming about them? So, we toddled off, sniffing here and there but not really getting an answer to our question. Until we saw a nice big flower, which Mom said was of the pumpkin plant.

We know that plant’s all ours because, for some reason, we love pumpkin in our stew. So we charged, noses twitching, all set to sniff daintily like the little ladies outdoor_bee-in-flowerwe are. There was a screech and we came to a most unladylike halt, bumping our noses against each other’s rears. Mom had sighted a tiny speck in the flower.  To her, it was a dragon of a bee that would attack her precious babies if disturbed.  How she had spotted that creature when she squints at any and everything close or far without her spectacles is a mystery, but our flower-inhaling expedition ended most unceremoniously.

So now our outdoor horticultural (that’s our WOD – Word of the Day – picked up as we perched on Dad’s feet during a Mom-Dad conversation) expeditions are restricted to flower-less parts of the terrace. Mom has also planted some other veggies for us: carrots and some other not-so-exciting stuff.  From what we see of them now, we will have to be goats to sample them but things will probably be different in some time. We are watching this space.  And then there is much excitement about this lone thing on a shrub. We sensed Mom’s excitement and felt a surge of love: this is family – shared joy. We ran to the plant, panting with anticipation. Another Mommy yell. She was being protective all over again… “Don’t do anything wild,” she yelled, “That’s my first ‘nimboo’ of the season.” Truly, life’s a lemon.  Just when you think it’s a nice yellow ball to nose, kick, and catch.

It’s not only Mom and the gardener who conspire to get things around our litter corner and ball park that befuddle us. The little flapping creatures that come every morning to peck stuff our Folks keep for them – creatures we aren’t allowed to bark at, creatures that drink from a huge bowl we aren’t allowed to splash in – are up to things. Big Sis posed for selfies with us on the little swing and discovered a ‘bajra’ stalk. When we eat messily and scatter unwanted veggies aside, Mom scolds us. When these flapping creatures whom we are not allowed to bark at and who have a big bowl of water all to themselves that we are not allowed to splash in scatter their food around, Mom smiles indulgently and tolerates an oddity in her little garden. Talk about injustice!  

And then there’s this other shrub that came up all on its own before we knew anything about it.  Mom’s really happy about it because, apparently, it’s come at the right time to protect the Folks from the dirty air and “haze”.  Every once in a while, she plucks its leaves and brews some concoction that she makes them all down. We don’t know whether to wrinkle our noses at it or whine to ask for it.

We are ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and even the outdoors sees that. One of us is The Plump One who, after the use of the privy and once the treats for the ball game are over, stays out only for the slimy thing that crawls along walls (Pooch cartographers). The Plump One can stare and bark at it for hours, as long as she doesn’t have to run. The other of us, The Sleek One, loves running around. While the wall creepy creature does hold her attention, she would rather spend hours outdoors with a friendly ball at her feet, drinking in the night breeze. What both of us have concluded is that we like being out but are also a little confused by it. We don’t know whether to smell the flowers or not, whether we can break off a ball on a plant or not, and where things come up from. And if that were not enough, we came across this today. Will somebody tell us whether this flower is light or dark because we can’t figure out, no matter how much we cock our heads.

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