Friday, February 17, 2006


It’s a worrying schedule for the next few days – I want to travel next month and that means double quick on existing deadlines. I’m editing a research book, and the next proofs are in. I mean to check and sign the pages off today. As it is, I’m stealing time from another piece that needs to be done by next week.

It’s never as smooth as you expect. The footnote styles are awry and one table has gone missing. The system I’m allotted doesn’t have the fonts it needs, so I’m shooting in the dark and hoping to hit six sigma. As my father philosophised only yesterday, rework is a fact of life.


Lunch break is better. This research institute is a beautiful spot, and a birder’s paradise. Absolutely the best thing I like about coming here is seeing the horizon. So much room… unhindered by ugly buildings, wires. Sight can soar, choosing to alight and sharpen on anything at all, from my palm to infinity.

Lunch is heavy and I’m drowsy. It’s a golden red sun but I walk on a bit in the open. Across the grass, beyond the clump of eucalyptus, are four trees standing together in a rough square. The branches are jostling for space and the shade is nicely dark. I look about for the softest patch of grass I can find and sink into it. The banyan tree just across is full of birdcalls and twitters. A few mynahs and drongos I notice, but for once, I’m not too fussed about pinning a species on the rest. They’re there and that’s enough. Just lie there, with the breeze stirring my dupatta, and be autumn leaved upon.

I’m thinking, I like trees. It’s pathetic, really – I just see one with character, or even without, and I fall in love. We have a few at home, and I feel strongly for each one. The guava is dying. That’s not how I want it, a few tree acquaintances. I want so many I don’t notice them anymore. I want a forestful so I can take them for granted, so familiar as to almost breed contempt. I want to be able to rest one afternoon and forget the next day which one it was that protected my slumber.


the One said...

Liked this very much. The comment-disabling trick worked, it would seem.

One wishes Singapore had a proper autumn just so one could be autumn-leaved upon.

Anonymous said...

OH no - I've come over all nostalgic for ICRISAT. Those eucalyptus trees were what I loved best about the place - just sit in the shade - always cool, always breezy - it was like being in a totally different place.

Sheetal said...

Sweet One, thank you - that means a lot to me.

N: beaut, ain' it? I wish we'd had more overlapping days there.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Karuna here. Beautiful pics and an equally beautiful description. You went to ICRISAT without me :(

Sheetal said...

Thanks Karuna - nice to see you here. Sorry re, kaam se suddenly jaana pada. We're going again this Sunday (society monthly outing) - do do come. We might see the wryneck again.