In life, there is a time to come, and a time to go. Eight years ago, we came to this Lutyen’s creation, in great excitement. Set in about 3 acres of park, with giant trees, this white elegance had not been vandalised, by past high dignitaries, enclosing Greek pillared verandahs, or breaking internal walls and harmony. The flooring was the old modest creation of the 1930s. My staff wanted liberal uses of marble, at state expense. We thought it vulgar. My wife quickly started preparing flower beds, and getting paneeri for the season. I concentrated on tree plantation. I had seen a giant Kadam tree, with red cricket ball size fruits, in my Akbar Road house, which Lalu Yadav educated me, were great for tarkari making. I immediately planted four of them, in the corners of the lawns, and nurtured them all through the years. In this tropical land, they are giant trees now. Raat Ki Ranis, Magnolias and Haarshringar, were liberally sprinkled over this 3 acre park, to create a scented garden. All of them flower with seasons, and scent the breeze. I thought no indian house can be complete without nimboos. I now leave atleast 20 plants already loaded with young fruit. My successor is going to be a Mumbai Shiv Sena MP. When he came to see me, I showed him all the plants, and took an assurance that he will guard my babies, against lazy maalis. I also elicited a promise, that he will regularly send me a small share of the fruits, as is my due. Most men focus on the sadness of their leaving, this Grace and Favour luxury. I have spent February and March, bringing the finest new Kinoos from the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, to plant here. I am confident, that I now leave a citrus garden, which could be the envy of the Prime Minister.
Coming by air, and flying low to land, passing over Lutyen’s New Delhi, I see a forest of giant trees, dotted with white elegances. The peacocks go house to house, in full freedom and without fear. The hollow tree holes house parrots in breeding season, followed by mynas, and ofcourse a permanent colony of little tree owls. The parrots are the most monogamous. The male and the female will take turns to go inside, to take care of the chicks. I watch the lagerstroemia, where they nest, from my verandah. When the lady is in, the male sits loyally, above the tree hole. I think they are models to the new generation of human marriage makers. The owls and I are friends since long. Whenever I go to their tree hole, a pair is sitting on the lip. Shyly they drop down, but with intense curiosity, they keep popping up and going down. After all, we are both curious, about the other. At night, when I go to the bathroom, at about 2.30, I hear them chattering away, and diving about the lawn.