The Joy of Small Things

Subhashini Raghavan, India

Writer on animal welfare; actively involved in wildlife rehabilitation, especially small mammals like squirrels and bats!

(Submitted by the author)

It was monsoon season; the power had gone; I couldn't switch on the computer or the TV or use the phone; the streets were flooded and I couldn't go out. I was bored beyond belief. Then I glanced out my window at the nearest puddle and began to see the life forms floating through: there was the big black ant clinging on to the edge of a floating leaf, making an effort to climb up, as if scaling Everest.
Then, the millipedes crawling away at the corners with what appeared to be a million legs.

On the neem tree nearby, a chameleon raised his head to watch me through one bulbous eye, his right leg raised as if blessing someone smaller. Down below the tree, a toad exactly the same colour as the bark, was sitting very smugly indeed, as if he'd just polished off a hearty meal.

A dancing crow
A little to the distance, a crow started doing a jig with a raised head under the window shade of the opposite building - trying to drink the drops of water dripping from the shade. And he was only doing that because he enjoyed it, for if he'd just wanted to drink water, he could have dipped his beak into the nearest puddle. Further away, a couple of crows were bathing in a puddle, and then down the road came three buffaloes, grunting with pleasure, for there were puddles for them to wade through, some big enough for them to squat in and chew cud.

Rains are not just puddles and blocked drains
In a brief while, I found that boredom had vanished. I realised that rains are not just puddles and blocked drains, but also extra-ordinary mysteries of life waiting to be discovered. I learnt to be absorbed in nature and her astonishing varieties of life-forms and their workings.

When I turned away from the window, I found myself with a smile on my face - maybe because of that crow doing the jig or from the blessing chameleon. In other words, I had just learnt to enjoy the happiness that simple life forms around me can bring; and they gave me that happiness not by making any effect, but merely by being there.

Seeing God in everything
An extension of this love and fascination for all things around, and the happiness that comes from it, is seeing divinity in everything. Our Vedic ancestors called it Virat Bhakti - seeing God in everything around us and therefore loving nature and revering it.

It’s a love and happiness that can be cultivated.

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