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When I look out the window at night, I see a row of bright lights along the driveway, and a tall apartment building to the left, its many windows lighted, standing tall against the dark night sky. Not quite what I am used to the past ten years. There is the distant hum of traffic unlike the absolute stillness, which hum mercifully dies down by late evening. Just a few kilometers away from my old home, this place seems like an alien city, not the laidback one I have lived in for the past two decades.

That it is still verdant Kerala is evident when I wake up in the morning and see the many coconut trees, neglected and with malnourished ‘heads’, plus some other trees and the wildly growing grass in the adjoining empty slots. I miss the distant mountains though, and the brilliant sunrises from the old place, still, I am extremely grateful for the greenery when I look out from the window of the new apartment.

At this height, I am in level with the top of the coconut tree in the backyard of the house next door. I hope a kite would come to roost on it. Maybe I will be able to take a few pictures. What else can I click from the third floor of an apartment block? But then I notice the lololikka tree (Flacourtia jangomas) in the same next door neighbor’s garden. Next to it is a guava tree and a mango tree, all several feet below my eye level. There is also a taller and scraggly looking mango tree right next to the coconut tree. Hope flares inside me. Maybe, just maybe birds will make an appearance.

All I see though is a scruffy looking dog in the backyard of the house. It looks old or ill or both. The bones stand out, there are patches on its side where the fur has fallen off showing reddish skin. I call it. Doggo, doggo! The dog stands still, trying to place the sound coming somewhere from above and to the right. He gives up and slinks off to sleep in a corner against the backwall where the sun’s rays fall. I am disappointed. He looks like Luci. I am also terribly sad because he looks so emaciated. Is he ill, is he being fed enough? Questions, questions! I have no answers though.

Moving house and settling in a new place is backbreaking work. Especially for two oldies who are well past their prime but think they are young enough to do everything themselves. It has been day in and day out of work, more work, and falling asleep dead tired. It has been a happy kind of hard work and tiredness. After the years of wanderings, staying in government quarters and rented houses, we have at last come to roost in our own place, a gift from the First Born.

In the meantime, the blog-world seemed so unattainably far away, writing, a luxury to indulge in for which there wasn’t enough time. Now though, things have changed. The backbreaking work is almost done. Everything is in its rightful place. So yeah, its time to get back to blogging.

So, this is the last one for the year from Shail’s Nest. See you in Twenty Twenty-Two, folks! Happy New Year!

© Shail Mohan 2021