Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Crow and Two Girls

A Crow and Two Girls

(Woman's Era: June(First) 2000)

Feeling virtuous about rising early, I leave my house and head for the park on my morning walk. Visitors to Delhi invariably gush about these ubiquitous parks. Well-maintained or not, they are there, at least. Some have a couple of swings and slides and so they are entitled to be called children’s parks. Some others can actually boast of a lawn and flowers. All of them can be turned into palaces for weddings overnight, courtesy the tent-house-wallahs. Chandeliers, fountains and something like “Hunny Weds Happy” emblazoned in flowers are de rigueur.
And so is the case with “my” park this morning. I am not a witness to the splendour of the night before. Only to the debris of the morning after. I wrinkle my nose in disgust. No civic sense, I mutter to myself, and pick my way around gingerly to avoid the remains of the mountains of food.
I chart a course for myself by which I can avoid that particular area altogether. Which is as well, because a crow has come to investigate the pile, and I don’t like crows.
As I set up a brisk pace, I think about the myriad things I do think about at this time of the day. Out of the corner of my eye, I register two ragamuffin girls wandering about amidst the forlorn, drooping tents. With their hair dry and tangled, they are a common sight everywhere. They poke about in dustbins and in places like this park for scraps to sell or eat. I don’t give them a second glance.
A couple of laps later, I notice the girls again. They are not looking for food or kabari. They are pulling off garlands of flowers from the poles and boards. I just hope that no officious resident comes and hollers at them for adding to the already considerable mess.
But the next minute, I check myself. They are not pulling off the flowers at random. They are carefully unraveling the strings. They want those faded, no-longer-sweet-smelling flowers.
My interest is awakened. I don’t stand and stare, but I do slow down my pace. My gaze follows those raggedy girls.
They make their way to the swings, and there proceed to wind the flowers around the chains of the swings. Soon the swings are flower bedecked. A pretty sight. I am reminded of Madhubala singing on a huge flowery swing in a black and white film of yore.
My preoccupation leads me past the heap of leftover food that I have been avoiding. The crow is still there. He appears a dull black to the disinterested gaze. The morning sun catches his feathers and I notice they are iridescent with purple, blue and green hues. Colours that I normally associate with the splendour of the peacock.
The rag picker girls are dirty, unkempt, illiterate. Yet somewhere in the depths of their hearts or minds, there is a spark of creativity, an eye for beauty.
Somewhere in their drab lives there is a minute to spare to play with flowers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:47 PM   
Blogger Sachin said...

Really good...tell you what...I checked out a crow close up myself and saw those deep but vibrant colours myself....and we call them black...we must be crazy....

Also, its said that kids can see the beauty in anything....its mostly true and thats one thing I wish we could have retained from our to this particular incident; just goes to show that even under-privileged kids do appreciate colour in life...

3:38 AM   

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