Notes from nowhere

As an city pocket which hasn’t fairly sloughed off its rural pores and skin, S.T. Bed has a rooster that crows at midday and midnight

I’m descending slowly to the lakebed, respiratory straightforward beneath water. I see the weeds waving, welcoming me in. The white-breasted waterhen calls from among the many water hyacinths above: kwok, kwok, kwok.

I float again reluctantly from yet one more pandemic/ lockdown-enforced vivid dream. Like all desires, this one too is rooted in the actual — I had been studying about how our locality, S.T. Bed Layout in Koramangala, Bengaluru, was a lake some 30 years in the past: the identify is the abbreviated type of Shinivagalu Tank Bed. The land retains the reminiscence of water, helped in no small measure by the municipal company’s growth plans. Every monsoon we’re again within the lake, with water gleefully reclaiming this low-lying space.

Moon river

An enormous open stormwater drain cuts via the format, carrying every thing from fish and footwear to foam mattresses, and pours right into a hyacinth-covered swamp. The waterhens name. As do the brahminy kites circling overhead, on the lookout for fish — their mewling cry could make you think about flying kittens. After spending the previous 4 months of the lockdown strolling up and down our a part of S.T. Bed, principally undistracted by human presence, I do know the place intimately now. This is my very personal utopia, my nowhereland.

S.T. Bed is a microcosm of latest India in its unplanned development, eternal development work, cratered roads, and the rows of unfinished flats that now put on a bombed look. At the gate of the half-completed house reverse our rented flat, the proud banner saying ‘Flats starting at 1.2 crore’ now hangs limp, battered equally by the monsoon and the pandemic. The roads are rows of raked pink earth as a result of sewage pipes are being laid for the final two years. It’s a Sisyphean undertaking — the bottom is dug up, coated up, then dug up once more.

The house staff are cooped up in shacks hidden from the view of the bourgeoisie: their presence might be felt solely in snatches of full of life chatter, Bengali or Odiya songs, the scent of boiling rice, and the sound of conchshells being blown at nightfall. The final, which aggravated me again house in Kolkata, now offers me goosebumps.

As an city pocket which hasn’t fairly sloughed off its rural pores and skin, S.T. Bed has a rooster that crows at midday and midnight, a herd of cows that smears the street with dung, and an orange canine who’s their shepherd. In the absence of streetlights — a attribute function of Bengaluru — at dusk, S.T. Bed goes again to primal darkness, riven periodically by the screech of barn owls and the swoosh of posh automobiles.

My favourites on this world are the donkeys, stored for his or her milk, which reportedly has an array of well being advantages. I do know them individually now — the pater familias is a gray stone sculpture, unmoving in his gravitas; the daughter is frisky, with a fringe; the prettiest is Soufflé, a chocolate brown donkey who munches grass with eyes shut. Their proprietor is Pradeep (identify modified) from Andhra Pradesh. Asked if enterprise has been affected by the pandemic, he shrugs: “I keep the donkeys because my son loves them. They hardly produce any milk.”

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