At four floors up, our hospital ward provides us a bird’s eye view of the surroundings. I use the phrase quite literally: two sets of pigeons are roosting on the AC fans outside the windows. One pair is sitting on eggs while the other is nursing two hatchlings. And, since hubby’s bed is near the window, we share the same lookout.
The view spans the hospital backyard and the by-lanes and buildings beyond. On the nearer horizon, is a wide and heavy gateway. Strong pillars support an ornate horizontal beam – too narrow to be a canopy, too broad to be termed a strip. And as the scenes of life unfold, this gateway provides a temporary surround to an ever shifting tableau.
Caught within the frame, today, were five schoolgirls, laden backpacks in place but uniforms askew, chatting animatedly. They were replaced by a young boy walking an exuberant puppy, the red of the collar and leash a bright contrast to the puppy’s firm cream coat. After a small hiatus, the ‘frame’ was filled by a man trundling a barrel on a handcart. He was succeeded by a gaggle of local matrons, gaudily attired in nylon saris, on their way to the shops in the maze of by-lanes that characterize the locality. A couple of nurses going off duty walk swiftly through. Two little boys persuade their bicycles forward, the training wheels providing unnecessary traction. A young man, eyes fixed on the paper in hand, pauses to get his bearings. He accosts a couple of gents entering ‘stage left’. A short conversation later, they go their divergent ways.
In the afternoon, the ‘frame’ remains empty. It casts a shadow on the road below, lending a watchful tranquility to this somnolent time of day. Even the inanimate deserves a siesta!
Come evening, the light fails gradually into sunset. In slow motion ‘still life’, the vegetable vendor lays out his produce, while sparrows peck at the seeds and leaves – their final scrounge for the day.
Each moment presents new pictures for the viewing, a little bit of detail against the larger canvas in the background and a welcome distraction from the ward within; it provides the opportunity to speculate and daydream and weave a little fiction of my own.
I have no talent with brush and paint, but if ever an artist needed inspiration, he – or she – would find it here; a sketch already composed and framed!