Saturday, March 21, 2020

Strange things happen at night, even when you self-isolate

Writing is an addiction, just like marijuana, you can’t stop it once you get used to it. As indicated in the previous blog, I have re-started writing random stuff only recently. Few weeks ago, I came home around 1 am from work after finishing a critical customer deadline and post that it took me at least 80 more minutes to sleep. Not only did I recap the happenings of the day and have a sense of relief, but also quickly checked if I missed anything critical for our customer submission other than checking the latest updates on my IPAD.
Once I finished the Day 1 blog at 2 am Friday morning, It took sometime for me to sleep. This is very common as the brain works actively with so much of stimuli and takes time to slow down and eventually shut down the roller blinds of our eyes. Everyone at home had gone back to their rooms to sleep and my daughter as well had stopped giggling or talking, thereby putting both herself and her mom to sleep. I could start concentrating on my blog in this backdrop of pin drop silence. Since this was the first blog I had directly punched on my IPAD, there was no clattering of the keys, which comes from physical keyboards. However, in a few minutes, my ear picked up specific sounds from the night that was growing darker as the moon was also probably staying away from COVID-19 virus.
The fencing on both sides of our house, especially on the front yard is virtual than physical. Dotting the boundaries on the left hand side, we have various small plants and trees, which are under the shade of huge palm trees. The palm trees have been on our neighbours front yard for years, and their height signals the length of time our neighbours have spent in this suburb. One of the birds sleeping on the palm tree, was probably interrupted and was fluttering its wings occasionally. On a slightly warm night, not sure if it was using its wings as fan to stir up some air circulation for its younger ones or just trying to re-position itself in the tree.
Just as this ended, in sometime the dogs from the neighbours on the other side of our backyard decided to let a bark out. I had just read that evening that few garden snakes had attacked people in nearby suburbs in separate incidents, and they were recovering in the nearby hospital. The mind has a strange tendency to connect the dots at the most unwanted of times. I was wondering if it was a snake or a long blue tongue garden lizard, slithering across the fence, unsettling the dogs for invading their territory. Just the previous weekend, while trimming the corner tree in the backyard, which had grown a tad wild recently, I did see something long and heavy slither across. It was a blue tongue lizard, as I found later after looking up online. Mr. Blue tongue keeps your garden clean and eats away all unwanted pests that affect your garden with no impact to human. I guess he had chosen his spot just like Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) right at the base of our corner tree. While I had my heart in my mouth watching something this big slither by, I put up a brave front and with a swagger like an action movie hero, put the big Pruner on the side and walked indoors, closing the access door to the garden behind me. I tried looking at the base of the tree from the mesh door, and kind of nodded to ensure we both have our own personal space ‘un-intruded’ for sometime. Mr. Blue Tongue may well have been back from a party in the nearby bushes, back to his ‘Sheldon’ spot and thereby upsetting the dogs.
Off late, there have been an increase in incidents where thieves have operated at night and robbed houses in and around the suburb. I could also hear a few irregular sounds from the backyard, with no specific pattern, but sounding like someone treading softly while walking. I wasn’t sure if someone was in the backyard in the pitch dark light, trying to make noises to the minimal and break in. Till I could confirm, no point in raising an alarm and waking up anyone. I decided to keep a vigil on both the front yard and back yard peering through the windows in pitch darkness and intermittently switching on the light. As a final check, decided to go down the stairs to check if all the access doors to the house are secure downstairs. As I was about to get down the final sequence of stairs, I grabbed the railing and stopped to listen, crouch a little bit and spot if I could see something. It also hit me hard that I cannot get off the stairs as I need to restrict freedom of movement and be in ‘my zone’ due to self-isolation. I spent a few minutes watching my living room and kitchen, in pitch darkness with only silhouettes and shadows of the dining table, couch and coffee table. The dishwasher had just completed its cycle and the LED lights seemed to create some amount of light in the kitchen, in a very focused way.
Suddenly, one of the bedroom doors opened, making the hair stand on the back of my neck. I didn’t have anything to protect myself in case it was an intruder. My fears were put to rest, as I saw my father in law walking out to probably visit the restroom. He looked long way across the hall and saw me as I was getting up from my crouch and was startled, “Is all well? Do you need something?”  I quickly explained and had him check all the access points to the house and once we concurred it was all safe, I went back upstairs satisfied and snuggled my way into the bed. My eyes wouldn’t shut as my ears were active and were soaking in the pin drop silence. In addition to this, the mind was running mental re-runs of what unfolded in the last few minutes (what seemed like hours). It struck me that, traditionally we are usually scared of the darkness and silence of the night, slippery creatures, supernatural powers or of human beings themselves. In 2020, the pandemic through virus has forcefully made its way into the list of things we will start getting scared of. I turned my head on the right, looking at the space where we have our temple at home and just had a visual one second prayer asking God to keep a watch over and closed my eyes. The faith in a Supreme Being has always helped, to ward off any fear or worries since ages.
I heard a flutter of feathers again. I opened my eyes. It was morning and a beautiful one with sunlight piercing in right through the blinds and breaking all the horror that previous night had to offer!