This time I look down from my balcony
And see men ,women and dogs and trees
Pushcarts of knickknacks, bright sunshine,
Colored plastic bags flying , broken toys
And left out laughter of playing little girls
On the erased street art of watchman’s wife
I recall scraps of yesterday’s night-smells
That contained vaguely lying dog-forms
White tarpaulin veils of the sleeping cars
And a faint glimmer of a dark night’s stars
The street wore on a splendid night shirt.
I also see a bald pate of old man smoking
Bidi into a sun-shine world of shadows
Its smoke curls emerge from behind closed
Eye-holes , directly from hunger thoughts .
I recall other days of jasmine strings lying
Curled up in a basket on an old man’s head
Of white mustache , at two rupees an inch.
I smell smells of fried onion and bread crust
From houses that cooked in a world below.
I still feel sounds of trash van spluttering
From smoke from its tail, its stinking smell
Rising to the heavens, its driver laughing
At the remembered jokes of its trash man
Walking behind with plastic bins of smell.
I recall days of rain, pearl-drops from roof
Kids playing in wet roads, cars awash with sun
From behind white clouds, emptied of rain
Puddles of frogs that would turn carcasses
In next day’s morning’s walk, in rain-smells.
I recall the bonfires of watchmen and kids
In the road, their white smoke hitting the tree
That supplied twigs that were once the tree
Their fires slowly warming little winter palms.
This time round I look down from my balcony
That is where I manage to get my big picture.
Big picture here is in a metaphorical sense, but not in the way of a larger-than-life. Here we assume a position of vantage like the top management of a company which does not micro-manage but has an idea of how the company is going. A larger-than-life involves exaggeration ,a sense of heightening so as to get to the truth. In Big Picture here you see men, creatures and things as mere aggregates, only an idea that takes you forward in the achievement of beauty. Beauty, not truth.
I make a story, not of men, not of faces, nor of thoughts. I merely tell about a space in time, a shifting space in a moment of time. A spatialconsciousness, an awareness of space that links the participants in the space to aggregate space. A paradigm.
A higher place where I stand , for example ,on a balcony to capture life’s underlying nuances in the street. A mountain top from where I see ants of men crawling about in the plains, among fields and rivers, buffaloes standing as tiny specs on hot river beds, crowds of people lying huddled in closed places like temples and mosques and squares and all of them sharing a space together. All of them saying something together.
A window is my vantage from which I see the vast expanses of grass ,trees ,paddy fields ,birds, furloughing bullocks, endless mud tracks,blue mountains disappearing in the horizon. The house window is my vantage from behind its rusty iron bars. The train window is my vantage for creatures and things that will go up and down in a space of telephone wires. A furiously moving merry-go-round is my vantage for looking down on quickly disappearing people and objects.