I have been longing to be comforted by the breeze, swayed and lulled to satisfaction with the lullaby of the trees and behold that distant beehive up in the tallest Goliath among those ancient ones, looking at nestling birds and squirrels in the lower channels of its trunk.

The reverie transitioning to a morning ritual for the last three years has been on hold for two months now. The last time being earlier in the month of March, that yearly herald that calls out to summer to spread its sunny yellow carpet with mellow repose and not scorch us with its humid darts and blows prematurely. When I set foot to your green panoramic spread, early in the morning, right in the middle of the city revered for its aesthetics, the setting comes alive with old world charm, of acres once in the name of erstwhile royalty and it has always been the silent type where the occasional morning walker or casual passerby could be sighted. Always making me feel like I was the chosen one, allowed to roam its breadth and then make it my regular walking haunt.

Such a solitary stretch of pruned royalty, overseen by the archeological society and standing like a haunting reminder of the glory that the city wears like a crown day in, day out. The columns, ramparts, open theatre and palatial remains blended in unique textures and colours centuries ago, worn out by time but never denuded of sheer beauty, with the peacock symbols calling out to the actual inhabitants from the botanical garden opposite its storied location. I inhale the sights, the annoyance of the traffic outside its gates, right in the heart of the city yet sealed by a dignified reserve, as if put under a dome of quiet, like the red eyes of those pigeons flying overhead.

The honeybees go from the nectar of one season to the next and the sun shades it in moods invoking the true poet in me ; the music from my headphones settling for a contemporary vein because it’s so easy to feel enwrapped in the peace and calm of the open space and historical background. So easy to know that creative inspiration fed by such a pleasant source is far from just a fictional device. It is the very basis for reality.

We talk about being in the very lap of nature within cities as if that is a novel intervention we need to accord to ourselves to ensure our present concerns eject out towards a wholesome future. ‘Why not stay in the moment and honour our earthiness before a pandemic or a calamity takes the globe by storm?’, I ask. Why wait for a strike across the boards? Thankfully, my love affair with my favourite garden, my own Eden came years ago, never waiting for one distinct memento.

My garden has always kept me alive to the sensuality of the elements, the first morning prayers of the wind and birds and the chanting of the Buddhist monk visiting it like a miracle at random intervals. I wish this period of separation gets over before 2021 rolls out. I wish I see you without a mask on my face, uncovering your riches. They are the last sources of sanity that provide me with the leisure and comfort of being nature’s ally. I miss you and don’t be offended if I take the liberty to personify you here.

You are sorely missed and as I peeked at you twice over two random days while out on a walk within this week, behind closed doors, the growing stalks of grass and lonely structure made me wistful. I’ll return to your fold. Blessed may you remain within your isolated glory. For it has always been your badge of honour.


NOTE: this photo essay, with all photographs taken by me, is dedicated to the beautiful but underrated Sikandar Bagh garden, located at the heart of my city Lucknow that I frequent as a walker. It’s my muse and my only friend on pleasant mornings, especially on Sundays. A hauntingly beautiful space where the world comes to a standstill and nature overtakes all internal discourses.


  1. Hello Awadhboy!
    I loved reading this picture-essay, just as much as I loved reading all your other works! Thank you so much for giving us this momentary relief from the humdrum and the lockdown, letting us take the walk with you.
    Wish you great strides and open skies.
    Love always.

    Liked by 2 people

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