I was in Kerala, in November, for ten days to observe the Pallakad Kalpathy rituals, called the Ter Festival. It was so hot and bright, that I was startled. In Chennai it is raining, as the Retreating Monsoon makes its force felt, and in Delhi it is cold and clear and the gardens have a still mortuary look, and the birds are silent even though it is 7 a.m. Delhi winters are amazing, the world starts slowly, but the days are so irridescent by afternoon, that people see this as the best season of all. We are free of the horrible summer dust, which sets a haze of motes and pollen in our living rooms from March to October.
For us in JNU the exams are over, and for a fortnight the teachers will be on holiday. This basically means we will be meeting our research students, who have looked for our attention all semester while we were busy with M.A teaching, we will bepreparing for our new lectures next semester, finishing our reviews for journals who have been hounding us, and bliss, sleeping late!
I have planted poppy seeds and jowar seeds in the garden. I spend a lot of money on poppy seeds, which never sprout, a few fragile flowers will appear in April,but the jowar which I get for peacocks, sprout very well. Within four months, the jowar ( a millet) will be towering over our heads in sharp swathes of green and corn. The peacocks visit then, with their tiny little chicks, scruffy little birds which forage. The pea chicks show no signs of becoming what they will in due course be, flamboyant birds with leathery feet and a cacophony of screeches as they gather in the trees, roosting separately, calling out to one another when evening falls. The dogs circle in my garden, threatening the peacocks and the cat hides from them, but she too lusts for the peachicks. I call on Francis of Assisi to mind them.