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Savista, at Village Sanjharia, Off Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302042, Rajasthan


The call of the peacock

Savista now has its own resident peacocks (well, almost!).

This year, the rains arrived in Rajasthan nearly four weeks earlier than usual.  Even while floods and landslides were ravaging the Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan was experiencing heavier than usual showers once every few days, right from the middle of June.

The grass at Savista has shot up to higher-than-ankle  height and all the trees and bushes have received a growth spurt.  The rains have also activated the flowering of the fragrant chameli,  a bushy variety of Jasmine that lies dormant for the rest of the year (where, in the summer, the air used to be scented by its cousin, the mogra). But the lord of the garden in these days and nights of rain is the fragrant Oleander (kandeer), tall shrubs with yellow, white and orange flowers  that embrace the moisture and hold it reverently until the next shower.

Chameli (Jasmine)

The jelly garlands of frogs eggs festooning our lily pools have hatched and tiny baby frogs are being put through their paces.  You can see them nervously clutching on to lily stalks and looking like scared student gymnasts, even as wise looking oldies look on with bulging eyes.  The birds have toned down their frenetic activity, spending much of their time in quiet nests where you can see some very tiny heads bobbing up and down;  mama birdies leave their watch only to make considered sorties in search of infant food.

Our big news this rainy season is that Savista has received its first peacock resident guests ever.  Friends of Savista who follow our blog will recall that during last year’s rains it was an amphibian guest – a turtle lovingly named Torty – who chose to make his home with us.  Torty stayed on for a few months;   after exploring all the ground level rooms and courtyard of the haveli, he chose to spend much of his time in the library, for which we promptly nicknamed him Goethe !  He then left of his own accord one day, without our knowledge, peacefully and  without fuss or rancour.  We hope that this year’s long-feather-tailed ‘first guests’ will stay a while longer than that.

Over the years, whenever we heard peacocks call from the village nearby during the monsoons, we would longingly wonder if they would ever choose to arrive at Savista.  Last summer, a magnificent male peacock, dragging his heavy tail, made occasional quiet reconnaissance visits.  This summer, his visits returned, followed by a few overnight stays by one young male accompanied by three female companions.  The little group have now become increasingly frequent overnight visitors.  We now wait for signs that they have decided to settle here.  Expect pictures of them in the next post.

A red vented bulbul’s young nestled in a Rangoon creeper’s foliage