Just a few years ago while travelling through New Zealand, I penned my thoughts as I stared with awe at glaciers, rivers and lakes, glowworm caves, all of virgin beauty I’d never seen before. Birds hopped nearby, unafraid, squirrels romped around, all knowing no fear, as they had no predators before or even now to frighten them.

And then my glance turned once again to the mountains:

Initially, as news of the horrible virus spread, terrified people hurried for flimsy masks available at stores, rummaged for thicker, longer ones the shopkeeper said, would keep them safe not just from the virus but from any ailment under the sun, and settled for those Batman and Phantom would have found tediously large!

 “We are ranked as the cleanest city in India!” muttered some municipal boss in the city of Indore to his subordinate.

 “Yes sir,” the employee whispered back, “four years running!” 

Are you eating crumbs falling under the table?

Right next to where I write this column everyday, I have a large window, and am visited most all the time by a host of different birds and many squirrels. They come and sit on my windowsill, some stare fearlessly as I write and others caw, maybe telling me something. And it’s that something I keep for all of them, some knickknacks that they can feed on which I put very carefully on an upturned floor pot outside and which they love eating.

’Tis a cold winter here in America where I’ve been the last month.’

I wrote this three years ago, while spending December in America, under the Trump regime!