The town mouse and the country mouse

Before we moved into this house, a large one, where we now live, we lived in another city (seems like another time) in an apartment on the sixth floor, overlooking one of the busiest roads, in India. Up to late in the night the sounds that I could hear were all city sounds—cars honking, traffic, construction noises, music blaring, parties, the BPO workers getting dropped and picked up, people taking breaks from work ,televisions blaring, parents yelling at kids, kids retaliating back, garbage trucks arriving, vacuum cleaners whirring and so on. While I lived there, I thought nothing of those sounds. I didn’t even notice them, or think about them as they were so much a part of daily life.

Then we moved to this city (actually a town compared to the earlier place I was staying in) about two years back. The children’s school was on the outskirts (which is just 6 kilometres from the railway station which is in the centre of the city—so you can imagine how small a place this is) and we ended up renting this house, which is on top of a hill, along with a few other houses in a lovely residential complex. We fell in love with it, as soon as we saw it. (The fact that the prices for rentals were so little compared to the earlier place also aided the decision!) The hills surrounding it are a verdant green, and the drive up to our home is so picturesque—and even though I must have done it now more than a 100 times, I still don’t get tired of admiring the picturesque, alluring, almost idyllic surroundings.(On the left is the view from my bedroom window.See that bird? It visits me everyday without fail, entertains me with a song and goes away.I have a bird bath too in my garden)

It is so quiet here, that at night, one truly understands what silence means. Deathly silence punctuated by sounds of insects. Early mornings are a pleasure. The sunrise from my terrace is like a gift from heaven, sent unfailingly each day—just as beautiful, just as enchanting. Some days, the sun peeps out shyly from behind the clouds. Some days the redness and brightness spreads slowly like an absorbent sponge soaking up water. Some days , it seems like the sun is in a hurry to get out and it arrives without any warning as though it has been hurled angrily out of the sky. I have clicked a countless photos of the sun in various moods, from my terrace.

The sounds I hear most now are chirping of the birds. There are so many varieties-- I wish I knew their names.We are fortunate enough to have a lovely garden and a nice covered patio that opens out into the garden.(The picture right on top) When it rains--and it is raining a lot these days-- my favourite activity is to sit in my rocking chair, in my patio, sipping tea, reading the newspaper. Invariably one of the children will come and sit in my lap, and we will gently rock back and forth together, soaking up thoughts, love and many such things.

We have a kitchen garden too. We have grown coriander, spinach, fenugreek leaves and the latest addition is green chillies. My two little chilli pluckers had a wonderful time today. We weighed the harvest. It was 540 grams!(yes that is a picture of the chillies plucked this morning) This is the second time we are plucking them—the last time’s harvest was promptly converted into green chilli pickle. (Made by my mom as she was visiting us then) Today, I made three packets of about 150 grams each and told my children to go and give it to our neighbours—a gift from our garden. They felt proud doing that too. They had been involved with the garden right from the start, and we had dug the soil, prepared the beds, sowed the seeds and watered it and even fed it natural manure like potato and carrot peels from the kitchen. I felt so contented too—it is great to see your efforts bear real fruits. (Pun intended)

Sometimes I miss the city life. Well, not really the city life, but the kind of people one encountered there--a great melting pot of culture, a smorgasbord of opinions, lifestyles and outlook. But the next moment ,my eye is drawn to a flower that has bloomed and that bird that comes every single day, to the tree outside my bedroom window, chirps loudly, and I go back to savouring it slowly.

I don’t know if you have read the story the ‘Town mouse and the country mouse’. I have and I think there is a bit of both in me!


  1. Got here first for a change. The grass I guess is always greener on the other side. Travel was such a pain in the city, but here it is different. The friend circle was better there and the weather here. Positives and negatives on both sides. Guess unless one moved from place to place comparison would not be possible. Also moving makes us develop and be able to get along with anyone. Therefore feel the country mouse should move to a town and vice versa to experience the facets of live. :)

  2. Satish: Why can't we have both?!!;-)

  3. The comments area is a far better place to visit right now.

    I am a little empathetic to the idea right now, moving from the hustle of Delhi to a smaller city, and this year to a campus just outside Pune.

    Both bring you different joys. Just a question of your liking chaos or peace.

  4. First of all thats a decent harvest!! :-)
    infact need to tell you that I couldnt get green chilli's at the indian shop here yesterday!!;-(

    btw loved the courtyard of your house..I am almost wondering how you get motivation to go out of home..would be perfect place to have a nice cup of coffee on a sunday morning!!

    Talking of places to live I guess its always grass is greener on the other side, though I am sure it may not be that green in the city metaphorically!;-P

    But I believe living in a house where you can step out on the earth and feel it , is a real home..because a flat is just a flat and for me somehow never encompass the concept of a home however luxurious it is...

  5. m also country mouse...stuck in big city...but wl definitely move back to country after a while...

    btw...can i know the name of the place?

  6. I guess I have a bit of both in me too, Preeti, but if I have to choose, gimme the sound of birds and crickets and frogs anyday. And sometimes, even that silence you mention can be the best sound in the world...

  7. Pretty! :) Ive always wanted to live in a place like that...among the hills and lots of trees...
    i love city life but i think my heart yearns for the stillness and quietness...(of course the downside is that ill prob get bored out of my mind pretty soon!)

  8. Taking a break from moving, packing unpacking and getting exhausted, I come out here and get thrown into nostalgia....
    I wholly truly full love the view from your patio...its so beautiful.

    And yeah...sometimes its nice to have a bit of both..but ur lucky to have the thing that many places lack

  9. Oh! you've made me so jealous.

  10. A house in the country, an apartment in the city.
    15 days in the city, 15 in the country.
    Now thats called eating my cake and having it too :D

  11. The satisfaction of growing ur own veggies is something else:-).

    the 2nd pic is beautiful...your whole post's essence is reflected in tht single pic....the fence, the flowers peeping out, the colors, the glimpse of the other side thru the fence....better stop before I go out of control;-P

  12. I think you've just given our plans to buy/build a farm house a boost!

  13. Gorgeous view!!

  14. the pics are is quite soothing to be one among nature...

    and the kitchen garden brings back lovely memories....

    what a lovely view too....

  15. Lovely pics & a nice post. I have never lived in the countryside so would love to try that life sometime.
    And thats a great produce!

  16. Reminds me of Daffodils:
    "For oft, when on my couch I lie, in vacant or pensive mood,
    They flash upon my inward eye,
    Which is the bliss of solitude!"

    Good decision to move into such a house, first of all. The smorgasbord of opinions and stuff of city life is no match to the sultry calm of a beautiful hillside home like yours! Wow, would love to live in such a house someday, but with the soaring real estate prices, don't think my dream will remain a dream.

  17. :)

    the home looks just gorgeous! (would hate to call it just a house!)isn't it natural to want everything and yet we learn to know whatmatters and we take a call!

    you win some, you lose some and its ok as long as at the end of the day you can say, I am happy!

    and i have a feeling you say that very often!!

    and no one can stop the country mouse and town mouse from viswiting each other every now and then! :)

    beautiful post!!



  18. u just said about the kind of place I want to rent - even if it means riding 50 km one side. I think i seriously should start looking for a home some where - a bit far from the city. but with the rate Bangalore is expanding, i think i amy have to go and look @ neighbouring states for places like that :)

    ur potio and bedroom hv got nice views. :-D

  19. OOps...I could have writeen a similar one about my home @ kanpur...U'll probably see the pics of my neighbourhood or my kitchen garden here on the blog or on orkut soon.
    And my home here @ Pune is just wt u described as the city home, But i m more of a country mouse And i m missing my plc soo much after reading thie piece

  20. I would any day gladly swap my extremely hectic city life to sitting-on-the-rocking-chair-and-listening -to-birds-chirp kind of life. gladly.

    Lucky you.

  21. oh damn, that kind of mouse!! i really have to get away from the comp!!

  22. Preeti,

    There is nothing like Mother Nature. We are in Delhi and believe you me I would love to swap places with you not for a while but permanently ( after seeing the lovely view ).

    Wish you both or rather all of you Best of everything.

    Take care

  23. Lovely post. I guess it is always like that in life, no place is perfect, isn't it?! Here I neither miss nature or the city life, as hamburg is like being in the middle of nature, and is still a big city. Ok! it's not London or Berlin. But, what I miss the most is the pleasant warm summers, which you don't encounter so often. But then you also almost never experience this scorching heat like in Delhi, which isn't nice either.
    Wow! Nice chillies. Isn't it fun to have things growing in the garden. I'm experiencing it oo right now with my nice looking tomatoes and many herbs. I'm eagerly waiting for them to turn red.

  24. It seems to me that you're better off there. Free from the pollution, the noise, the neighbours. It's also much better for your kids. And you get to have a rocking chair and that rocks :)

  25. We are going through this right now.
    We want to move, away from the city. I want more land, a ranch bungalow.
    Julian does too.
    But then we worry, what if we need something? Will we drive ten miles for it? Because right now, if I need a coffee, or Chinese food, or a newspaper, it is all right on my doorstep, literally!!!
    Yet-your description of the birds and blooms gets me. I want some of that too.

    ARghhhh! What to do!
    Yes, why CANT we have both!

  26. this just feels like a dream home Preeti!
    And yes I agree, its best to get both worlds! I think I would like the country life more, as long as you are surrounded by people you love and who love you back, what more do you need ;).
    -the other shru

  27. reading this article feel to come and stay in ur new place for a week [:D]guess will have a nice break [:)]

  28. Just wow! and again wow!
    You have a beautiful home and gawd! those chillies look good, the supermarkets here just don't have spicy chillies like these.
    It's my dream to have a place like this, believe me apartments just ain't the same, but I don't wanna complain too much :)

    City life ain't fun anymore, it's aggressive and farcical - ur not missing much dear :)

    Howz the rains treating you'll? Take care.

  29. Lovely post!!! It just brought me back to my good old days. Excellent pics and lovely place.

    Say hello to that bird next time.

  30. You know that's almost the sort of reason I like places like Cochin, or in fact even Bangalore. If you can afford it, these places can give you the city and the country in one place.

    Bombay I have heard and seen is real bad with respect to silence and birds... but lovely with respect to the city life.

    All said and done.. I think I am still the city girl !

  31. I work in the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the sidewalk cafes at lunch time. Then I come back to my home in the burbs and enjoy the tranquility - I guess you can have both :)

  32. Loved the photos...could almost feel the cool breeze there! Enjoy the beautiful house and surroundings!

  33. Hi! I've given you an award on my blog... pop over and check it out! :)

  34. Those pictures look beautiful! n almost everything on this planet...everything has its pros n cons!

  35. Lovely. Cool description about your very own garden.

    I know I can never be a town mouse. Lived in a town here for 4 years and was very depressed.

  36. I think I have the best of both worlds right now - I wok n Delhi and live in Gurgaon. I too have a back garden and four verandahs etc etc all of which I enjoy only on weekends. I prefer staying in such a place where I have the peace to sleep at night. I have stayed on one of the arterial roads in calcutta for 4 years ...and there was no peace from the roar of traffic - day or night.

  37. This is the first time we have lived in a suburb and I can't stand it. Sounds of traffic, sirens, and trains all day and night.
    The odd thing is, when we lived in the city, the sounds soothed me. Downtown sounds, less traffic at night, people sounds until the pubs closed were comforting, I loved the convenience of being able to walk every where, I miss that.
    I also miss living in the country with silence at night, and being able to see the stars and to go for walks without worrying about being hit by a car.
    I guess I like it one way or the other, not half way like this is.
    Reading what you wrote also made me realize that I miss have my own garden and I even miss having chickens. Who whould have thought I would ever miss them?

  38. Rayne: i too miss ceratin things about the city. But not all!I did not realise there could be a halfway too till i read what you wrote.

    SMM: I know what you mean about an arterial road. Am glad u have a great home.But for me, i'd hate to get out of the house to commute to work! (I work from home mostly--and if i have to go out i grumble inwardly)

    Solitaire: Is it? I like the city too.

    Pavi: thanks! And yes what u say is right.

    Sue:I have!!Thanks so much!!

  39. RajK, CU : thank you!!

    Pink Dogwood: I cant have both as i hate,abhor and totally detest having to commute to work! :) I now work from home and on days that i have to step out i grumble and grumble inwardly.Nice that you have both.

    Aathira:Bangalore is no longer like that.It has changed completely.

    Karthik:I will--thank you.

    Still thinking: You are invited!!I'll make dali toi and gashi too!:-)

    Praveen:You or me?;-)lol.

  40. Shruti: very very right!You said it aptly.if i had my friends here i dont think i'd miss the city.

    Gillian: A ranch sounds lovely--but then again driving ten miles sounds awful!

    Devil Mood:I do have neighbours--very quiet ones though :)

    Pg:Welcome!First time I am seeing you on my blog.Funny you mention Hamburg.Recently I have been talking to someone from there. herbs and tomatoes sound good!

    Jack:Thank you so much!

    Manuscrypts: Miaow--Run!! ;-)

  41. RJ: touch wood!

    Akanksha: Kanpur sounds lovely too.I have never been there.

    xh:thanks..I think now the way it is expanding, Bangalore will soon mean Hosur!

    Mama-Mia: thanks!! True--town mouse and country mouse can indeed visit each other!

    Hari: lovely lines.U never know when dreams come true.


    Suma,K10 :Thanks!

    Ravi:Hope you do!

    Reflections: you and out of control?No way! :-)

    Meira: Or that can be called 'having a lot of money' ;-)

    SS: not my intention!

    Prats: hope you've settled in by now.thanks!

    Sunshine:Boredom is a very real issue.

    Scotty:but sometimes it is so darn quiet!

    Prakhar:Why?!!Wanna buy/rent? :-)

    Mathew:If you were my neighbour you would have got LOTS. :-)

  42. Hi P lovely post. I agree with you. Given a chance, I would definately trade a busy, easy to access , center of town Residence to a lovely calm, picturesque location where your grey cells will work in peace. Lovely pictures too especially the chillies which Atul & Purvi harvested. see the thrill they get in doing so.

  43. i'm a total town mouse :)


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