Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Sky

I own a slice of the sky. I sit and look at it whole day, and sometimes whole night.

Correction: my company owns this slice of the sky, and they make me sit at a place where I can look at it.

My slice of the sky lies on the western corner. I can watch it through one half of a glass window that is about twenty feet across. There are thirty such windows on this face of our building, and my half on the fourth floor is the only portion that has the curtains moved back. Others prefer the fluorescent lighting.

When I reach office in the morning every day, the curtains are closed. The housekeeping staff likes to have it that way. Usually my day starts with moving the curtains aside and gazing out towards the sunlit buildings and lawns of my office and the sunlit buildings of Salt Lake City. As long as I’m standing, I can see the Anandalok Nursing Home, the State Government offices, the City Centre beyond that, and some tall blocks of flats in Ultodanga right at the horizon. As soon as I sit down at my cubicle, all these buildings vanish from sight and all I’m left with is my slice of the sky. I too, like the palm tree, feel as if I’m flying.

As the day progresses, the sun moves across the sky. I see crows pester kites in flight. And around 11:00 am, a red bellied aeroplane flies into my view from the right and follows a curved path towards the North West; it is so bright that I look up from my work everyday when it passes. In summer, I sometimes draw the curtains around this time to escape the heat. But not all seasons are equally hot.

During the monsoons, I have seen dark clouds forming on the western sky and spectacular lightning displays in my sky plot. I have seen Ultodanga getting drenched in rain while there’s sunshine around me. I have also seen the sun touch the top of the City Centre buildings and then slowly spread to the other parts of the city as a gloomy day turned bright. During the autumn, the sky turned a pristine blue, and pure white clouds floated about like huge mounds of cotton wool forming fantastic and often vaguely familiar shapes.

As the sun inches towards the western horizon in the afternoon, the first rays hit my table and my face. If it’s a hot day, I close the curtains for some time. I always remember to open them in time for the sunset. If the day is cloudless, the sun sinks down as a huge orange ball. If the sky is cloudy, I get to see the most spectacular sunsets. Birds fly home around this time, or a little later. Crows, kites, mynahs, maybe flocks of parrots and pigeons. Often a pair of mynahs will land on my windowsill and decide to settle some argument then and there by chirping loudly. Sometime a flock of wild geese will fly overhead, flying in a V formation. Swallows will dart in all directions. Some jet planes will fly very high over Kolkata, glittering like diamonds as the low sun’s rays catches them, leaving white contrails behind them if the weather is cooler. Sometimes people fly kites, but that is rare in this part of Salt Lake.

Soon after sunset, the light decreases rapidly. If I stand up and peer down, I will see that the lights on our lawn have been switched on. The city lights up even before the sky turns dark. And as the sky turns dark, do I see stars through my window? No! As the outside world darkens, my sky turns into a mirror, the window pane reflecting the room where I’m sitting. Unless there is a lightning storm or a fireworks display going on outside, the only way to see the sky now is to press my eye against the window.

Actually no. There is something else which is visible. On a night like tonight, when I have to spend the whole night in the office, the moon shows itself towards the end of the night, as it retraces the sun’s path across the sky. When I look towards the window, I see the moon hanging from the ceiling of my cubicle there. And if like tonight, the night is a full moon night, the moon will stay late enough to fade into the morning light before it sets. Then as the early birds start looking for their worms, the sky shows a hint of light. If I walk across the building and look out through one of the eastern windows, I’ll see that it’s already bright that side. In a matter of seconds, the west catches up with the east, and a pink glow spreads across the horizon. As the moon seems to turn transparent and vanish behind this glow, the tops of the tallest buildings of our office block catch the first rays of dawn. The golden sunlight spreads downwards pretty fast until it floods the lawns and everything around them.

So that’s what I get paid for. Sitting in my seat and looking at the sky. When I get bored with it, I turn towards my PC and write blog posts. That’s a nice job, isn’t it?


  1. Very nice Joy. I always like the way you write.

  2. @shreemoyee: Thank you! I like the way you write too. Why have you stopped writing?

  3. In our office, we would kill for a wee bit of your celestial real estate. Our building was built in the days when cubicle farms were in, so only the corner office guys get to look out. For us plebians its just cubicles and more cubicles and sometimes a wall. For the really wretched there is the occassional glass window set in an interior wall!!
    And by the way blogging was totally devised to relieve work place boredom...atleast that's what I think.

  4. @anyesha: Although my office has comparatively large windows on all sides, not everyone has his/her share. I am lucky to sit along an exterior wall. Even those who have windows seldom open them.

    About blogging, I agree with you to some extent. For me, it provided a much needed relief from being a victim of brain hoarding.

  5. A very nice description...wish even I cud get my piece of sky in my office...but everyone is not blessed with everything...but than Saturday & Sunday's are holidays for me :P.....i always like to see new post from your side :)

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    Thanking you,

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. You are really lucky to have that slice of sky. Difficult to get such a desk in office.