At first, the backyard of my house reminds me of my own life – unexplored, unattractive and untidy. Surrounded by walls as tall as a 10year old kid and are made of concrete bricks, the backyard is a place to dump all unwanted things of my house. Since the cement-brick ratio seems like 1:50, the walls are so weak that I wouldn’t recommend anyone, especially “heavyweight guys”, to sit on them. However, birds especially crows and my pet cat, Tiger, enjoy strolling and lying on them.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the backyard is ants. For me, ants are mainly of two types: tickling ants and biting ants. When I was a schoolkid, I used to see the biting ants that sneaked into the kitchen and ruined our food. It was a war! I tried many ways to succeed: using fire, using water, using ant killer powder and using my foot. But ants were indomitable. Even if I killed many of them, more ants emerged from the nearby land – Mr.NC’s land! – the epicentre of trouble.
Beside the backyard, there is a 10 cent plot of my neighbour Mr.NC. He is quite a famous person in my area because of his miserliness. So this 10 cent plot is near another large area of land which has an abandoned theatre, covered with trees and bushes. (fact: Two men died there in the theatre area because of a cobra bite). Mr.NC’s land has a few trees and thick bushes. So these areas create a safe haven for a myriad of creatures such as snakes(especially cobra), rats, centipedes, scorpions and termites. When some of them wished for human food, they intruded into our backyard.
Sometimes anything could be a topic for dispute. The leaves from Mr.NC’s trees trespassed our property and fell into the well in the backyard. By decaying, the leaves polluted the water. My father solved this issue by wrapping the well with fishing nets(like wrapping a gift with gift paper). But a conflict was inevitable and during the rainy season, thick branches from Mr.NC’s property heavily landed on our rooftop like meteors. It was a life-threatening situation as a heavy branch is capable of demolishing a house. My father tried his best to deal with this amiably but Mr.NC was too adamant. So my father had forced him to cut the branches with his legal powerup(police/court) before it was too late.
Though backyard is the least interesting spot for us and the visitors, it is a paradise for animals and birds. My pet cat Tiger and nearby birds reserve their spots in the backyard. They look through the window for food and make me know their hunger by making sounds. I don’t care about the birds and my only priority is my cat. On receiving Tiger’s signals, I search for an empty coconut shell. After finding one, I put a teaspoon of ghee and a handful of rice on the coconut shell for Tiger. At that time, the intelligent crows surround Tiger and threaten him with their pointed beaks. Fearing them, “generous” Tiger leaves some food and lies on the wall. Though I love my cat, I don’t interfere as I respect Darwin’s survival of the fittest.
Years have passed by and now I rarely visit the backyard. Like emperor Asoka who had a change of heart, I stopped my war with the ants. The ants don’t trouble us like before because of some modifications in the kitchen. Crows still visit the backyard and they will in future. Even though I don’t visit the backyard nowadays, I can hear the sounds of mellifluous birds in the morning. At night, I can also hear the squeaks of rat which are probably the sounds of fear when they are fighting for their lives with the snakes or cats. Sometimes I hear the hoots of owls too.
The backyard may have been dominated by new creatures. It doesn’t matter whether I visit the backyard or not, it will always be an attractive spot as well as a battlefield for the animals and birds.