Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And I thought dogs were more my type

Take your hands out of your pocket. It looks like you're out for a stroll, not a walk.-- My friend's father to his daughter. (Daughter is gifted. She sees the humour. And of course, unpockets her hands).

I wrote the first thing that came to my mind. I thought if I distil days to quotes and keep my finger pointed not towards self, blogging might come easier. (Toward or towards? Out of practice, either way). Consider this, even this, all this, a warm up to keys, a prelude, a scratching of the pen, a doodle 8, my name in uppercase, then in one lower, to see if the ink still flows and as fast, with no effort. It's the new year. I need the mouthwash. And a clearing of the throat. A churning of the fluff, a candy floss machine -- sticky flies and all. Most of all though, a hyperbolic retrieval of a voice in hibernation. Wow. Shit. Smirk. Maybe, maybe. Ok:


There is an eagle at my window. (Bonnie sang the same thing about a -- dog, no -- doggie, in a window, didn't she?) But it's not so much my window as the window of the office building in which I rot. Hating work is universal. I know. I also know at the moment, if not eternally, I am my own centre of the, you know.. worse. See? The respite in office is that eagle. I don't know if this is the small town girl in me rubbing her eyes or a wild life lover cropping to the surface or just a miserable attempt to clutch at the abstract and make it seem more glorious than it is. It is an eagle. Why cage it in description.

But I will - start again. There is this eagle at a window that I can see from a staircase on the 9th floor of my office building. When I take my mug of green tea ('tulsi flavoured, 100% organic, slimming and stress-relieving') to this solitary inlet of air at that dump of a staircase and light a match, I can see its smudgy wings. Rather, its wings that look smudgy to me for I am blind. And that blindness is compounded by the lack of zoom on my camera phone. Still, I watch my actions, like they instruct you to on the soul channel. And going by them, my actions that is, it probably says something that one day, annoyed as I was at the lack of detail on the smudge, carried a proper camera and had a field break zooming into Smudge's privacy and plundering the down and detail of its wings.

I'm not going anywhere with this. There's no story coming up. It's just a bird I spotted a month ago and have clicked for many days now, despite being conscious and worried that the phone(camera) -- held as you hold a phone(camera), and no more carefully -- will certainly fall. I've watched it for longer, on different days, dank and sunny, both in winter. It isn't big on variety, not much of an exhibitionist. I don't know if eagles are moody. But he or she, whatever it is (and who I -- don't know how -- but first mistook for a vulture) just sits there. On a branch. Of a tree. A Peepal tree. The sacred fig. The Bo-tree. Ficus Religiosa. Lake Placid of the leafy kind. All very normal and naturesque. No thought bubbles or fancy acrobatics in the sky. But oh, the few times I've seen it rise and perform - demonstrating an easy languid grace, I've acted quickly. I've clicked in haste, and tone more picture, and another, and another, in focus or not, doesn't matter. The phone won't fall, I tell myself. You can't count on a bird to hold a pose and do that again. Sometimes a reminder of the moment is enough.
No way in hell you're spotting it, but if you CAN see the black dot
parallel to the building, that's what I'm talking about.
That's right, I even WATERMARKED the crappy low-res phone camera shot.
But at all other times when soaring is a bother, and any motion but an infrequent cocking of the beak a pain, eagle perches. Absolutely, entirely, and with all its weight and intent, it perches on that Peepal which throws shadows on the parking lot below. And thrill as there is in watching a large bird discount ground level parking lots and taller level trees, instead rises to counter gravity in such a fluid display of irreverence, I ask myself: what is it. What is it about this damn bird? Do I derive an assurance from its other state of being, its choice of remaining perfectly stationery for long periods with no other ambition to speak of? Does a bird know it flies well?? Or is there less value and a meh-coated contempt for something that comes, by definiton, naturally to these winged squawkers? Birds and contempt - crazy talk by the woman in the window. Why does she always stand so still, nursing the liquid in her range mug and staring me down?

Last month, I became especially friendly with a colleague who has now left the organisation for a better place at a better deal. We'd step out to the staircase for a smoke, but usually drag on for three in order to continue a conversation that would start with a fumble for cancer and a nod to the eagle, as customary as covering your head before entering a gurdwara. "Is it there?" we'd ask, searching the expanse of vertigo. Because sometimes, rarely, it wouldn't be. And while that anomaly wouldn't excessively disturb -- that would be silly, right? eagle withdrawals?  -- its absence would be felt. I'd look for it. I'd cock my head.

Bird became a subtle, if distant, dogtag of my otherwise merging days. The sitting of the eagle. Rivetting stuff, I know. Eagle scoreboard: ten points for plucky consistence. Another four hundred for keeping me hooked. Customary jokes with my colleague about the bird had to be struck. About there being a connect, about it being my soul mate, about that smudge, about his -- definitely a he -- aloof winged splendour.

It doesn't have to mean anything. I'm just saying. More than his absence, his existence is felt. There's an eagle I like and it's not routine. I miss the colleague, too. Not that I feel sorry for myself standing alone (wouldn't exactly call mine aloof winged splendour) looking out, exhaling, sipping, checking phone. But I know later this month when office shifts to that other building with less foliage and a vacant Peepal, as homage to my feathered smudge and for no fault of theirs, I will scowl at the sparrows.


Anonymous said...

"a fumble for cancer and a nod to the eagle"


I really don't like Billy Joel, but kya karen, it fits.

- k

Miss.Mystic said...

Why do you remind me of Ruskin Bond? Are you him in disguise? :O

Btw, I am the first one too comment, do I get something special?

Reading your new post after ages is like visiting a nice novel I stopped reading mid-way...

Anonymous said...

it's a kite.

Ellie said...

I may very well read too much into the post, but it struck me you are afraid of being abandoned. Your friendly work colleague has left you ...you couldn't bear for the eagle to leave you too. That's me projecting myself on you.

Sanchari said...

It's almost like the absence I feel when I come to your blog and there isn't a new post waiting :)

Sucheta said...

So. When is that book of yours coming out?

Loved it.

Happy New Year to you!

Miss.Mystic said...

why u no bloggin???? * takes away all her tv watchin' privileges and also all her choco chip cookies*

Get back to bloggin young lady!

Pringle Man said...