“Please! Just come with me for a walk! “ I said to the children. November is the month of Scrunch Parties, and the month I can be seen begging the children to come on walks with me, even if they look and act like Hawks and Pandas. I still remember the day I came tottering into the home, my confidence in the true tra-la-la of the world shaken.
I had stepped out without the children after they had both called me ‘Nuts’ for wanting to go for a walk when the time could be spent inside the house on the couch instead. I gave them a withering look, and told them that I shall ascend to higher levels with my stint in the fresh air, where nature shall nurture my spirit and enhance my being, and they were going to miss all that. I threw in a quotation or two, gave them a sprinkling of philosophy, and a hint of lavender from my coat pocket to entice them into coming. I straightened my shoulders, and delivered the pep talk that Generals could take notes from.
I don’t know how these Generals must have felt when they spread themselves liberally on the pep-talk, so they can leave pronto to acquire the next kingdom, only to have the troops say, “Nay, it is better if we camp here for a month. The Biriyani is particularly aromatic and spicy here!” But that is how my pep-t was received. They lolled on the couch, gamboled lazily in the warm, fuzzy throws like lambs in springtime, and continued watching whatever-it-is that amuses them so much.
I told them they shall soon see a reformed person and made my way out, my back registering disapproval at this lack of enthusiasm for nature-walks, but my front eagerly galloping towards the joys awaiting me outside.
A few minutes later as I stood looking up at the sunlight filter through the trees, a stiffish breeze started up. The mesmerizing sound of the the wind rustling through the trees caught my attention (There is a fascinating word for this – Psithurism). The wind rustled a special tune sending beautiful waves of ripples through the leaves. Standing there with the sunlight illuminating the waves was magical, the wind was also sending hundreds of leaves dancing their way down to the Earth. My face lit up with happiness, and I charged left and then right trying to catch one of these beautiful leaves on their way down.
My arms felt like the wings of a butterfly spread wide, my leaping from one side to another left me feeling catlike. I clasped at thin air as the leaves fluttered past me. I don’t think my performance would have landed me a spot on the International Cricket team for fielding, but no one could fault my enthusiasm. My face was happy, and it was then that I caught the eye of a gentleman out on a walk too.
He looked at me like I needed to have my head examined. A small twitch of his bulbous nose indicated disapproval of this entirely whimsical and childish act of catching falling leaves, his round head shook like he could not believe I was let loose on the streets and he made his way again with an exaggerated dignity. His figure exuded the unmistakable message: I was an adult in a world where we do not show happiness by ourselves, was I not? We do not skip, we certainly do not run like lumbering sea-whales going after fish, we are prim, and we must be proper, and we must never forget that we live in a world where there are many problems waiting to be solved.
I tried to shake the wet geezer off, but the scrunch had gone out of the scrunch party. I went back home, an altered soul. Seeing my less-than-exuberant spirits slink back into the house, the children wanted the low-down. I usually come back from my November walks bearing gifts of colorful leaves, or tales of butterflies and chirps of birds; not the slumping shoulder and the lack-luster shrug. I poured my heart out, and revived under the sympathetic brow swiftly giving way to gushing laughter.
“You must’ve looked such a goofus Amma, running after leaves and scrunching leaves by yourself.” They cackled, and I smiled.
Some inelegant demonstrations of my chasing the leaves were given to much mirth, and I felt happy at being able to spread joy in this stern world, even if it was at my expense. I mean I did not really think this little wet sop episode deserved rolling on the floor and laughing so hard, it was hard to stop.
I wonder when we stop skipping on our way, when we stop laughing out loud at Dr Seuss books, when we stop reading children’s books: tales of magic and myth and splendor, when we start looking weird for having crunch parties in the scrunchy leaves of fall, but it is a time we must take a knuckle and give ourselves a good knock on the head.