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I live in a hilly area. Walking the roads, with its ups and downs, is not an option for me as it puts a strain on my bad knees. So I choose to walk on the terrace. All I have to do is keep walking up and down enough number of times. Luci finds this quite intriguing. Once she has done the job of checking and securing the surroundings (no secret agent could do it any better), she sits down to watch me and figure things out. One can almost see the doggie thought-wheels turning inside her pumpkin head.

Talking of pumpkin heads, I once had one of them living next door, a huge yellow Labrador whose head was the size of a reasonably sized pumpkin. He fell in love with Goofy, my Spitz, for a very short while when she was in heat. That was okay. No rules against falling in love. What was not was the fact that he decided that he had to waylay me at every opportunity he got. Twice he got away from home and accosted me, making me swiftly impersonate a statue with a bad throat. The bad throat was revealed when I started calling for help. Croak, croak, was all would come out of it, though I assure you I am no frog.

Who is afraid of gentle Labradors, you might wonder. I wasn’t too, till I met Mr. Pumpkin Head. You see, he was going through tough times since his master had left on a new assignment. He considered that unfair abandonment and was prone to snap or so his mistress had informed me during one of our informal chats. She herself was scared of handling him.

Pumpkin Head marked me as his, in lieu of being Goofy’s mom, and anyone coming between him and me, be that person his own mistress, had to be dealt with, he decided. But for me, he only had the gentlest of stares (though to me it looked threatening and scary). With his eyes fixed on me, he whined. Please let the dog out, out, out, out. Please let the dog out, out, out. That was the refrain. The dog here was the diminutive and a coy Goofy. Luckily, both times, his young master, the son of the household, came on the scene and masterfully succeeded in leading the reluctant Mr. Pumpkin Head away.

Who would have thunk that years later I’d get a pumpkin head of my own though a smaller one in comparison?! My little Lucikins (little only to her Mommee!).

So where was I before I got sidetracked to heads that resembled pumpkins in size? On the terrace, walking being watched by Luci who wondered why her mother went up and down the terrace repeatedly, and also in circles. I let her do her doggie math over it and continued my walk. Nothing better than to have your favorite music plugged into your ears and be in the company of nature.

There was a tiny piece of gray cloud on the western horizon. Not that it would bring rain, not for a long time till it gathered its buddies together and made a concerted effort to shower on the parched earth, for parched the earth is hereabouts. I don’t like summers. For one, it’s hot. Duh. The trees look so sparse, and the leaves covered with dust. Anamika is the only one looking lush having recently covered herself in fresh green leaves.

There’s a Golden Shower tree which looks haggard. It has about a month and a half or less to go before it sheds all its leaves and covers itself in the golden glory of yellow blossoms. But what’s this? A sprig of golden yellow in the lowest branch. A rebel bunch of flowers who refused to tow the line and have made an early entrance.

I love rebels. I love people who know their mind, who refuse to be tamed, who don’t follow the herd pattern. Too many do. They may profess otherwise, but at heart most are conformists, not daring to question, not wanting to leave the well-trodden paths even when they find the path boring or full of stones. Well, not that there is anything wrong with that. We need them too to make the world go round. But I will keep my rebels. They are the ones I admire.

Sadly as we grow up we lose the nerve to rebel. Is that part of growing up? I don’t know. But one thing I know is older people do not appreciate rebels or any sort of change. They, mostly so, prefer carbon copies of themselves and the life they led which they romanticize to the extreme it is almost comical. Not me, though.

I wonder whether the tiny piece of gray cloud had been a rebel, who set out earlier than others. But it has disappeared. A flight comes in, and a little while later another one does. They look so pretty against the pale orange sky. Luci decides Mommeee cannot be allowed to walk on her own. So she joins me which means that she stands one step in front of me, trying to anticipate my next move (or was she trying to herd me to the stairs?), slowing me down. She looks so cute doing that that I laugh at her. She does that a lot, make me laugh, just by being her which is why I love her so much.

The streetlights come on. Lights are switched on in the neighboring houses. it is time to go down. I check Google Fit app to see the distance I have covered and it tells me in addition to walking for forty minutes, I have been cycling for nine minutes. I am still trying to figure out how I cycled without a cycle.

©Shail Mohan 2016