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The bat was on time. It was already circling overhead when I climbed the stairs to the terrace.  I was an hour late. Usually the bat comes only when I am done walking.

Today at first, I actually thought it was a huge bird. What was a kite doing up in the sky in the twilight, I wondered. But of course it was no kite as I gathered quickly enough when I saw it better and closer. It now circles the tamarind tree, flaps it’s wings a few times and settles on one of its branches. Upside down.

Luci meanwhile has seen something down on the road. She barks. And the dog next door promptly echoes her barks. I support you, he seems to say. Go for it, girl. Scare the intruder. This unusual support from her buddy from next door, usually he admonishes her, eggs Luci on to keep at it.

After a while of this, it looks like she is enjoying her own voice rather than barking at anything particular. Or maybe she was having a conversation with the fellow next-door. I tell her to put a sock in it and she grins sheepishly, picks up her toy and gives it a good shake.

The days have been so gray this past week. Not the joyous and lively gray of rainy days, mind you. This is the dull gray of winter that casts a pall of gloom, of course minus the cold. But we live in the tropical region. We shouldn’t be having winter-like skies.

Try telling that to the sky though. I have been trying and failing miserably. Get back into that beautiful blue suit of yours, let’s have some color here. At least wear the lively gray suit and rain down on us, dammit! But no go. The sky is bent on being tragic, a la Meena Kumari, the ultimate tragedy queen of Bollywood.

Two tiny birds are flapping around overhead. Are they birds or baby bats? Nah, they are two quick for bats. But then are bats slow? I have no idea. They fly off before I can investigate any further. Besides now it is darker and so difficult to make out.

Lights are being switched on everywhere. In the distance, where no lights used to be, I now see lights twinkling. I am disappointed. It feels like intrusion. Earlier when I looked that way it used to be dark though in my mind’s eye I knew there were trees and trees and trees, and beyond them the mountains. The lights I see now are from tall buildings that have come up recently.

I resent that a view I took for granted has been disturbed. But people need houses to stay in. After all I am living in one myself, and in an area where once was a ‘jungle’ by rights, with plenty of snakes too. Or so I have heard. If snakes are seen any time now, people shake their heads philosophically and say, ‘after all this was all their land!’

The bat has disappeared. Luci, bored now, has gone to sleep. Well, not really. She jumps up when she hears me walk towards the stairs. Time to go down. Write a post, read a book, facebook, play games on my mobile, make dinner, fold clothes… the options are many for me. But not so for Luci. Her choices are limited. She opts to sleep next to her Dad’s feet to the sound of the shouting matches happening on television.

©Shail Mohan 2016

Day 28 NaBloPoMo 2016