Hearing your upstairs neighbor shower every evening at at 11pm is no longer amusing after the silence of the countryside. Hearing the people in the building behind yours wake at 6 to bang metal vessels becomes wearisome once you have stood outside, looking up at the constellations of the Southern hemisphere. The people working on the estate would also be up at dawn; we would see them walk up from the miniature village in the valley below to come to the shed and sharpen wide blades of machetes. The woman wearing a work shirt over her sari would approach the stable, barefoot, to milk the cow. Auntie would come to cook, squinting, accentuating the considerable lines of her face, glowing in her bright sari, her footsteps tinkling with her anklets. There people would wake to go to work but in a different way, the expanse of nature overwriting their human noise.
At dusk, on the coffee estate, I watched fat bats, some truly big ass bats flap languidly over our cottage, like silhouettes of winged sub sandwiches gliding through the inky indigo sky. At dusk in Bangalore, the vacant lot is burning and I can see small city bats flap low, close to my head. Most rabies cases come from bats. Then I think, the trash burning in a vacant lot does not evoke the same charm as a bonfire in a courtyard under the stars. Walking through the smoke from the burning plastic, I smell the delicious food smells of the neighborhood; even the smoke and smog can’t undermine that.