Dry and dusty January is not my favorite month. The view from the balcony is no longer the same, making you feel slightly depressed. The leaves look lackluster with layers of dust on them. All the trees, plants and shrubs sport a tired and dehydrated look. When birds alight on them and hop around as birds are wont to, instead of animatedly welcoming them, they seem to wearily say, ‘whatever’ as if they don’t care for the antics of their winged buddies.
The saving grace is the tender leaves sprouting on the mango trees. They wave to you, albeit halfheartedly, resplendent in their new light green attire which is as yet new and satiny enough to not gather dust. The tamarind tree looks pathetic, no longer as green, but still shady enough for birds to alight on its branches. It is laden with fruit, which some of the winged fraternity seem to love to peck at.
The coconut trees, so tall and lanky, their barks dry, have leaves turning yellow. The Rufous Treepie leaf-walking on it seems displeased with things too. Maybe it hasn’t found a juicy fat worm yet. It flies off to the younger and greener tree in the house opposite. Coconut tree leaves make a nice symmetry that I love to see and when light falls on it, it is a sight for sore eyes. My spirits lift considerably on at the sight.
The Karaka tree in my neighbor’s house with its thick, leathery leaves all glossy, is the only one that looks reasonably green still. My heart fills with joy when I look at it. My neighbor herself is not too happy about the tree growing in her front yard, having to sweep the falling fruits and leaves every day.
The garlic vine no longer has flowers. Still, the Sunbirds drop in to check. The last bunches of ixora flowers, though not as luscious a red as before, is reason enough to lure them to my home. The moringa tree leaves are turning yellow, its flowers are drooping. The stray dogs seem to drag their feet as they move along the dusty road. Everything inside the house is coated with a layer of dust too.
The saving grace is the beautiful sunrises I see most mornings. There is also the Ashy Drongo that made a solo appearance recently. But standing on the balcony is no longer as uplifting as before. Like the vezhambal, I wait for the rain to fall and do its magic. There is an interminably long wait before the monsoons burst upon the land and turn the vegetation lush green again. A long wait, indeed.