Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcome to my Rooftop

For the first time in my life, I have access to a rooftop. Having lived in rented premises for most of my life before moving to my own apartment, my visits to the rooftop were dictated by the will and whim of the house owner. That translated into rare visits to the top of the world. And I used to gulp down the new vistas, trying to etch them in my memory. Trying to check if the view had changed from my last visit. Swallowing big mouthfuls of fresh air, that tasted sweetly of freedom. Hoarding the big vast sky and its myriad hues in my heart.

Now, despite having no restrictions, my visits to the rooftop still hold a sense of wonder. The novelty is still fresh and perhaps always be. The hour or the few minutes, as the case may be, that I spend there are my private indulgence. My own.

The rooftop of my apartment building is huge. The building is the tallest in the area currently and since it’s very close to the airport (the planes sometimes cast their blinking red light into my window), taller buildings are unlikely. So, what I am treated to is a view that pans over smaller houses of different hues – bright pink to sky blue to a timorous green – leading to the distant skyline of the posh housing societies in the adjoining neighbourhoods. I can see the electric banners of a swanky mall, that is only 10 minutes drive away.

On quiet Sunday evenings, I like to go up with a book and sit on one of the stone benches that have been installed. I have found a favourite corner towards the back of the rooftop. Most other visitors do not venture towards the back. There are clotheslines criss-crossing this section. But in the evenings, they are bare of their burden and thus give no reason to maids to disturb my haven. Only a lone kite flown by a young boy from a nearby rooftop would flirt with the sky above me, swooping low enough on occasion to startle me out of my book induced reverie.

Sometimes, I play music on my phone when I sit there. Sometimes, I let the wind play its music. I even enjoy the ferocity of her banshee-like voice when she whips up a storm. I spread my arms and dare her to blow me if she can. I think she enjoys it too. And sometimes I sway to my own inner tune, the bound and stretched ropes of the clotheslines like strings of a novel harp.

Then there are times, when the clouds in so many shades of grey, white, blue and black hang low in the sky. Occasionally, the lightning would brighten their dark interiors and sometimes it would streak across the sky playfully. Their roar to me is like that of a proud lion in its prime. Both a little scary and awesome at the same time. The trees also bow their green heads in deference then.

The night sky is a revelation. So bright. So littered with diamonds that I could just reach out and pluck. I try to count the stars sometimes. At the others, I imagine walking up the silver beams to the moon. I feel the texture and the taste of the moonlight. Of freshest springs and of untouched snow.

I follow the aeroplanes that traverse the expanse, trying to imagine where they are going. I wonder if  somebody sketches the trajectory of the planes that I have travelled in , when they are so low in the sky. I keep my eyes on them till they vanish somewhere into the horizon.

The rooftop is tiled in a chequerboard pattern, with red and ochre stone tiles creating an elaborate chessboard. The pattern invites me to play. Takes me back to childhood. I invent games, daring myself to keep to only red tiles, else a curse would befall me. It makes me forget the mundane and the tedious. I view every nook and cranny, trying to think how I could use it if I were to play the childhood games of hide & seek or various ball games that we had devised. I imagine what it would be like to have all my childhood memories of fun and sports enacted here. And I feel free.

It is a magical place. My rooftop. Here’s a view worthy of sharing with you.
View from my rooftop

Until next time. Ciao.

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