2008/07/30

Colours of the sky

At the office today I turned my chair around to clear my spilling over "out "tray . I normally keep the blinds closed because the light reflects on my monitor , but today afternoon I had to roll them up because the sky was a marvellous cerulean blue with huge cumulus clouds sweeping through the expanse , in varying shades of grey with white puffy edges . The setting sun had gilded the clouds through with sharp golden edges .
And all I had was my 2 mp phone camera


Although it hadn't rained there was a rainbow, the first I had seen in a long long time ,



Below the swoop of grey,white and blue swirls was a frill of orange red , peeping out like a petticoat under a skirt , a little mismatched , but there , nevertheless ...

And on the other side over the golf course , a presage of doom followed by a light spatter of rain


When I got married , the sounds in the neighbourhood , were varied - the long drawn whistle of the goods train echoing through the empty night as it hurtled on the tracks between the vast desolate fields and the huge expanse of the lakes. On winter nights the jackals and foxes bayed closer and the neighborhood dogs set up a clamour , sometimes warring factions in the slums alongside the tracks let loose homemade bombs which resonated loud and clear . And over it there was the siren , to which we set our clocks .

At six in the morning the hooter was enough to wake up by - alarm clocks were superfluous. The 9 am hooter meant one was running late . At night , the hooter went off at 10. And all day , the main road was busy with workers running for their shifts . Often , the CITU flag would be tagged up at the gate and yet another group of workers would demonstrate vociferously. The open gates would show a tantalising glimpse of huge acreage and sheds when we drove past . On the other side of the road was a charitable dispensary for the workers ; alongside the factory a row of yellow barracks meant to house the staff , unpainted , unkempt for - sordid and ugly like all mass made housing quarters are . And then suddenly all the noise ceased - the clamour of the hooter , the demonstrating and striking workers , the trucks .

Not that we noticed it . It was only when the sirens ceased that we noticed a strange disquiet . The gates were now double padlocked . It was then that we that we noticed the factory was gone - silently and stealthily without any noise , and none of the clamour and outrage that such a closure would have warranted in a state that professes such love for the downtrodden by virtue of the doctrine it follows .

Now, a garage flourished beside the bus terminus , with the accumulation of garbage,sludge and other detritus that such places normally attract. And slowly the wall came down and we saw the huge acreage inside , ploughed up to make way for the project .

And as floor upon floor rose , just so many inches of sky were lost , the red gleaming eye of the TV tower around which we had woven fantasies for Srin and Tani disappeared behind the gigantic towers which are now Kolkata's pride and joy and a shrine to what we loosely term "development" . In the making of the shrine many lives have been lost - - labour plunging to their deaths because of lack of safety precautions , workers committing suicide over lost jobs - perhaps fitting, in the sense that all gods demand sacrifices.


The charitable dispensary is now a downmarket medical investigation centre and we shop for vegetables and edibles at the hypermarket , where we also watch films , chewing caramel popcorn and slugging great glasses of Pepsi . The people in the immediate not too tony neigbourhood use the lobby as a recreation space - the chilled interiors , the cushy seating , the glossy shop windows where they can fantasise about the size 0 mannequins in lingerie , drool over girlie magazines in Starmark, watch the rich kids strut by and copy them - oh there's fun , there's room for aspiration and tomorrow is certainly a better another day.

Meanwhile the bus route refuses to move from its terminus , the local politicos hold meetings on the pavement , the roadside snackwallahs have a field day . And on days when I go shopping and cannot get a cab and do not have my car , nothing can stop me from hopping into one of the rickshaws , obligingly parked close to the kerb...

16 comments:

hillgrandmom said...

beautiful post! And the pictures taken with your phone camera are wonderful.

Mira's mom said...

First time here! Loved the post

Mama - Mia said...

beautiful pictures and even beautiful post!

just today i was ruing the fact that its been ages since i saw a rainbow! and here it was! photo mein hi sahi! :)

things are changing so fast everyday. we went to Lucknow a couple of years ago and were glad to see at least a bit of old city which was quickly going the mall way!

like i keep saying, pehle joint family thi, then nuclear and now its 'mall'ecular family!

cheers!

abha

Sonnjea B said...

Wonderful photos and post!

Onedia Hayes Sylvest said...

beautiful photos , lovely words

Tazeen said...

great pics, should be admired esp when they are taken from a phone camera

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

"The people in the immediate not too tony neigbourhood use the lobby as a recreation space - the chilled interiors , the cushy seating , the glossy shop windows where they can fantasise about the size 0 mannequins in lingerie , drool over girlie magazines in Starmark, watch the rich kids strut by and copy them - oh there's fun , there's room for aspiration and tomorrow is certainly a better another day."
Money quote.
But why not a separate post instead of the sudden segue from the sky?

J.A.P.

~nm said...

Lovely! Lovely! Lovely!

Indian Home Maker said...

Love that rainbow. And I always marvel at the hypocrisy of the Left. But how is it that the workers never made a noise??

eve's lungs said...

@ HHG & Tazeen - Thanks - I do love that phone
@Mira'S mOM -Thanks for dropping by
@Abha - Wasnt I lucly and to think I just missed it . Sad to think Lko is going the mall way - lived there for 5 years - such a lovely place
@Sonnjea /Onedia/Nidhi - Thanks ladies
@Mr P - Sir at my age I tend to drift and ramble - sign of my declining years , I presume ( sigh)
@IHM- I have no idea - perhaps the union told them not to - some committed suicide - I dont know - its happened at Dunlop , the jute mills ,umpteen industries .

Suki said...

Beautiful pictures, and beautiful post :)

You know the other day Panu, Baby and I were walking from 8B to South City.. and couldn't quite find the opening to Anwar Shah out of Jodhpur Park. And we kept on walking, between buildings or even shacks hardly one storey high. The buildings just beside those shacks were the towers you've photographed from your office window. Changing skyline of Kolkata indeed... it's a weird feeling.

Shaapla said...

Hello! I am back!
South City picture is really awesome.

Jane Turley said...

I'm hopeless with my camera phone; everything comes out fuzzy. But I have a new proper camera now! (This is because I broke the other one - not a good year for appliances in the Turley Household) And even I can now take a decent photo. Hurrah!

A very descriptive post of your changing environment Mrs G; I had a very real sense of your surrondings.

chandni said...

lovely pctures!! don't llok like camera pics at all!

Dotm said...

Nice pictures. Your phone camera takes good pictures.

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