Guest column: Some calm, some chaos, that’s what farm life is all about
Being in a farm is all about engaging with nature in such a wholesome way that everything else pales in comparison
A few evenings ago, father and I were sitting in his lush garden with my daughters playing close by. It was a rare moment of quiet and serenity. Father and I were enjoying the beautiful golden sunset over his orchards. It felt surreal, but I silently wondered whether I would ever love the sedentary, peaceful life at the farm as much he did, visiting the place every day, proudly tending to his gorgeous flowers, overseeing the milking of cows and gathering of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Our halo of peace was suddenly disrupted when the girls came running towards us. They seemed to be saying something in rushed tones, pointing towards the small water body in the corner of the garden. Their incoherence and sense of urgency made us follow them quickly. “There’s a baby bird in the water. It can’t swim!”, exclaimed my two-year-old, with eyes as big as plates.
My older daughter, being the more sensitive of the two, was teary-eyed as she pleaded, “Save it, nanaji, do something, mama”. We headed towards the little pond to see a small Lapwing chick struggle to stay afloat. Just outside the pond was the Mother Lapwing, pacing up and down and screeching in distress. She knew her offspring was in grave danger, but she was helpless!
On seeing us approach, she flew away to some trees nearby. Father and I quickly got down on our knees, and gently rescued the shivering little bird. To our surprise, there were two other little birds in another corner, struggling to stay afloat. We got them out one by one, and placed them gently on the grass. Meanwhile, the kids were jumping up and down in sheer excitement. The next struggle was to find the distressed Mother Bird. We ran towards the orchard, tut-tutting, calling out, but in vain. Mother lapwing was nowhere to be found! We felt nervous, because the sun was setting, and the chicks would be vulnerable to stray cats in the dark. The kids had bonded with the little birds. They ran about in circles after them, giggled and clapped. Watching them alone was sheer joy!
All of a sudden we saw Mother Lapwing. She had flown and perched herself on the stone next to the pond and seemed to be looking for her lost offspring. Her screeches seemed to be getting only louder. Father and I picked up the baby birds and put them in Mother Lapwing’s line of sight. We were a little apprehensive about going closer to the already aggrieved bird.
The four of us stood in stunned silence as the Mother and her little ones spotted each other. The earlier orange and pink skies had taken on darker hues. However, the bright spark in Mother Lapwing’s eyes could not be missed. On seeing her precious brood, the screeching halted. She swiftly turned around and began walking towards the hedge. Her little ones formed a queue and began following their mother. It looked like an orchestrated performance! Every now and then, the Mother Lapwing would give a side glance, making sure the brood was following her.
We watched in amazement as the four of them went behind the hedge, deeper into the farm, back to the safe cocoons of their nest.
Maybe the farm life is not all about peace and quiet. It’s much more than that. It is about engaging with nature in such a wholesome way that everything else pales in comparison. Just like we were during those 40 minutes – almost meditative! The heart and mind were in absolute harmony, I contemplate, while watching the beaming faces of father and his granddaughters.
The writer is a Chandigarh-based educationist