Our Animal Life
Our love for animals has always been a driving force in our decision to opt for a rural life. While we had two dogs and a cat in our Mumbai apartment, our extended family has grown to encompass bovines as well. Over the years we have grown to understand canine and feline behaviour to some extent and now we are learning from our bovine family – indeed it is a close knit family. Let me start by introducing the old matriarch of the clan – Nandini. She was brought to the farm by our previous owner from his ancestral home some 18 years back and has been here since then. She has had countless calves, out of which one is still with us – Shabari.
Shabari’s eldest ‘daughter’ Kaveri and a year and half old ‘son’ Bheema were the other 2 bovines when we moved to the farm. Now Shabari has had 3 more calves – Shravani, Balaram and Karna. Kaveri too has given birth to 3 calves – Kalindi, Bhairav and little Kavya – the youngest of the clan. So to sum it up, we have Nandini, her daughter, 5 grand children and 3 great-grand children. And in all this our beautiful buffalo – Madhubala stands apart in all her majestic size and demeanor.
Among the canines, Phoenix and Misty were with us in Mumbai too, so they are in a way city-bred dogs. Adjusting to farm life must have been fun for them, the great outdoors is just a step away, yet each time we put on our shoes to walk out into the farm, they jump up in excitement for a ‘walk’! Johnny who was left behind by the previous owner, became friends with them instantly and when Zuki joined them a few months later, they all welcomed her into the fold.
Posha the royal cat, has his own way with everyone. You might find him curled up on a pile of dried leaves in the forested area or at night sitting out in the empty fields adjoining our farm enjoying the moonlight. Kipchuk (kippy) and Mowgli are still occasional visitors, since they are in Mumbai most of the time.
And what do I say about the countless other creatures who are such an intrinsic part of our farm? The frogs who find warmth in the shoes that we leave outside the door, the snakes that you can see slithering at astounding speeds, the monitor lizard who catches a sunny spot on the rock near the pool, the porcupines who shell the fallen cashewnuts with all its acrid juice and leave empty shells and if we are lucky enough, a couple of beautiful quills too, the elusive raccoon-dog whom we have sighted in the headlights of the car when we drive home late at night, and the boar – who is not such a welcome visitor since he leaves too much destruction in his path.
As for the birds, you can see and hear them all the time – the pretty black and white magpie-robins singing melodiously, the peacocks strutting around in all their colourful glory, the hornbills, bald eagles, kingfishers, paradise fly catchers, all make their presence known – and if you are lucky you can watch them quietly –for they do not like to be disturbed.