Messenger: Forced Containment
The current pandemic has been wreaking havoc around the world for over eighteen months now. People are forced to stay indoors from time to time, thanks to lockdowns declared by governments. Understandably, many of those who breathed a sigh of relief as they left their homes each morning called the forced confinement monotonous. My sympathies go with them.
Health issues have forced me to be locked in my home for some time now. Although it was just as irritating and boring for me at first, I changed my attitude.
My room is on the first floor of my house facing the rising sun. Adjacent to this there is a spacious balcony with its open front part. Being away from bustling cities with high rise buildings, I have a clear view of the outside world when I sit there with my books, cell phone, and laptop.
Sometimes my attention is drawn to the screeching noise made by some birds on the golden shower tree in front of the house. They often have other birds, butterflies, ants, squirrels and chameleons for company. A few bulbuls suddenly leave the tree and sit next to each other on the cable over the road in front of my house, whispering sweet words to each other. When the tree is loaded with bunches of flowers, swarms of bees alight on it, sucking the honey to their satisfaction.
During the rainy season, the sky is suddenly overrun with dark clouds, constantly changing shape, hurrying through it. Lightning bolts and thunder warns me of the approaching downpour, forcing me to move my chair further inward. In the distance, I see women hastily picking up clothes from the clotheslines on their patio, spraying water as they pass. Children playing on the road abandon their games and run home, enjoying the change of atmosphere. It reminds me of my childhood playmates and questions me about those who might still be alive.
Often there was a strong wind preceding the rains, causing the trees to sway violently. Broken branches fly through the air and land in the distance. The birds flying in combat formation to their distant nests are violently lifted from their path, but they soon manage to resume their original path.
Bats leave their host trees in groups at dusk, heading to orchards to feast on fruit overnight. They remind me of the sprawling cashew tree in the grounds of my village house and me, along with my siblings, searching for cashews at the end of apples sucked by bats on the ground.
During Uttarayan, I watch men, women and children, wearing glasses and caps, fly kites on their decks, compete with their neighbors to cut each other’s kites. . At intervals, one can see uncontrolled kites, dragging their cut ropes, floating in the sky, chased by children holding long poles to catch them.
My attention is drawn from time to time by the hum of planes in regular flight, peering very small above, playing hide and seek among the clouds.
Despite its negative impacts, I believe that containment has brought man closer to nature.