Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Floating Room

Now that Kolkata’s famous monsoons have set in, the view outside the window has undergone some significant changes. No traces remain of the lively neighborhood made bright by the white, blazing streets of Mangalam Park. Instead there lay a dim world dripping with moisture, which might be considered anything between romantic and dull, depending on your mood.

Here, I should give some credit to the peculiar position of my window. The entire scene outside is bisected by the compound wall into two equal halves- a typical Behala slum on the left, and Mangalam Park on the right. In fact, the wall would’ve run right through us, had it not swerved left at the last moment, to accommodate our building into the compound premises. Any viewer from here would get a god-like perception, being able to supervise two worlds that can’t see or interact with each other, thanks to the nine feet high divider (and other reasons).

The slum lanes, though obsolete, are populated at all times. On rainy days, several lazy hours go by observing the slum people wading up and down through knee-deep water, mostly cursing each other. The well-drained streets of the complex, however, usually remain vacant, except for few cars and occasional raincoat/umbrella clad pedestrians, for the rains are usually avoided.

Sometimes on seeing people walk by under the protection of an umbrella, I can’t help but wonder how fun it would be to snipe them through the mock shield. Oh well.

Several times in this year, the rain has been heavy enough to limit one’s eyesight within a small radius. Gazing out into endless torrential rain gives nothing short of a euphoric feeling. Everything’s smudged with the downpour and its resultant mist which hovers over every possible obstacle. The spray-layered earth seems distant and faded, and almost identical to the overcast sky. As the rain grows heavier still, the panes need to be shut to restrict the water. The surroundings disappear, and nothing remains in the endless watery universe of diffused light. Except you and your floating room.