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A room with a view

The window of my room spanning almost an entire wall looks out on a large plot of trees. It is an eclectic mix of mango, coconut, drumstick, date palm, banana and many others I do not know the names of. This grove was the reason that I had insisted that my parents buy this particular flat some years ago and also that this very room be mine. Just gazing at the plot is like open-eyed meditation. It engages your senses whole. If not the trees it is the squirrels and their antics, a monitor lizard out to sun itself after a thunderstorm or very rarely a snake snaking its way out of a flooded hole under the clump of banana trees which draw your attention.

When Cyclone Amphan struck with full force, I was scared for the trees and also their many inhabitants. I ridiculously wished I could give them shelter inside my room, which too was flooded as the cyclone passed, unleashing its fury. The scene the next morning was one of mayhem. The banana trees were flattened to the ground. The leaves of some were pasted to the wet soil. But the two coconut palms stood erect. A few of their branches had been bent to one side under the onslaught of the winds, but the trunk had stayed its ground. That day the trees I had always loved won my respect too.

Resilience, forbearance and selflessly giving to others are some things trees can teach us, provided we pay ample attention and thought. Sometimes when the late afternoon heat becomes unbearable I feel tempted to switch on the air conditioner in my room. But as I start drawing the curtains, the sight of the plot reminds me how the trees wait out the rainless months with utmost patience. I prefer opening the windows then. One can say the fortitude of the trees makes me feel guilty about relying too often on the AC. It is more than what fears of a high electricity bill could do.

Dusk is my favourite time for gazing outside the window. The sky is a carnival of colours: tangerine, fuchsia, magenta, coral and many more shades in between. Quite a few times I have tried clicking pictures on my phone but have always been disappointed at how unfaithfully they capture the mesmerising hues. A high-resolution camera would perhaps be equal to the job or perhaps those fleeting colours are meant only for the eyes which care to stop and stare for a while.

In these grim times, I consider the view outside my window to be nothing less than a blessing. It preserves my sanity and calms me down. I am humbled by the beauty, awed by the patience of the trees. As I look up from writing now, I spot a pair of cranes flying in tandem across the evening sky. Down below two mongooses are chasing and playing with each other without a care in the world for the time being.

mohapatra.sarbani@gmail.com


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 2:58:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/a-room-with-a-view/article34797782.ece

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