Greenery brings me an inner peace and a feeling that all’s well with the world! I consciously try to look at plants at every opportunity and take in the oxygen rich ambience that’s therapy for both body and mind.
During one of such trysts with the green spaces, I came across the tiniest of eggplants that I had ever seen. It was just emerging form its flower and all I could see was a bit of violet hue under a green crown. I stood mesmerised at how minute and ‘cute’ it was and I started looking around for more minuscule things. There was a teeny-weeny tomato that looked like a pale green speck of dust, a melon tinier than the smallest marble, a green chilly akin to a wee bud ….
The tiny sapling with its translucent, resplendent green leaves never giving away what’s in store in a few years, probably a towering tree with many boughs and branches, but for now a vulnerable tiny thing we instinctively want to protect, caught my fancy too.
I kept looking around for microscopic blooms and every time I laid my eyes on these impossibly tiny things I felt a rush of warmth and affection.
This goes for all life forms and even inanimate objects too. Babies of any species tug at our heart strings and draw deep from the well of our feelings. A kitten with tiny whiskers, a pup with doleful eyes, a baby monkey with its crinkly face and curious eyes-we just have to see it and we fall for it, hook, line and sinker! Even the babies of larger species with relatively bigger sizes attract our undivided attention and fondness. Baby elephants with its tiny trunk and stubble on the head, baby hippo with its shiny skin, baby dolphins with its perpetual smile…..the list is truly endless!
Tiny shoes and tiny baby clothes catch our fancy or for that matter anything small puts our fondness meter into overdrive! No wonder miniature art is so hugely popular.
At the top of this list of adorableness are small children! Their smallness and fragility instinctively arouse our protective instincts and our hearts overflow with feelings of love and tenderness. The plethora of expressions which criss-cross a child’s face in a jiffy, the twinkle in the eyes, the half jump-half walk gait…..just about everything a baby does is endearing and cute!
Ethologist Konrad Lorenz proposed the concept of ‘baby schema’ to put in a scientific perspective to ‘cuteness’ in babies, though it is largely subjective in nature. He professed that ‘baby schema (‘Kindchenschema’) is a set of infantile physical features such as the large head, round face and big eyes that is perceived as cute and motivates caretaking behaviour in other individuals’
Many studies have been done in this regard to include animal babies as well. I was intrigued to learn that toy and film industry apply ‘baby schema’ proportions to captivate the masses. Whatever be the reason, how we adore most things small!
I must admit that the giants of the world have their own place and importance like the Rafflesia-the largest flower in the world or the blue whale with a heart as big as a car! Massiveness does arouse awe, respect, even fear to some extent but it’s the minuteness of things that steal our hearts.
Not all small things are adorable, though! This has never been driven home so powerfully as it’s being done now by the Coronavirus that has driven the world into a tizzy! It has so impacted the world and changed the way we lived that the time period can now be divided as After Corona and Before Corona!
And to think that it’s such a tiny microscopic creature but is holding the world to ransom!
I wonder at the nature’s abundance of variety from the micro to the macro, each one with specific roles and contributions to the eco system. I look around me at the small things which warms the cockles of my heart, the mammoth ones which call for attention, the in between ones with its own significance and I realise that it takes all kinds to make up this beautiful world.
Annie Mathew is an educator and writer based in Dubai