I went on a walk with Goldie. I noticed a shrub that has birds & squirrels living in it. I stood there & looked at birds. If I were a bird, I would somersault often & in good lighting, so people got a full view of my plumage. I would also make friends with squirrels & wake up late. After I came back, I wrote a letter with a face mask on, to my friend, let’s call him ‘I’. I neither like the feel of nor have the patience for face masks but it sounds like something people who have their lives in control do.
‘I’ is 80, I think, & easily the kindest person I know. I went to his house last month. He made me & my colleagues rice & egg curry (pronounced Cuddy). I stood next to him, chopping this, peeling that, hearing him talk about things one talks about while doing something routine. Aunty liked Basmati, while he likes the local brand better. He met her 40 years ago at his workplace. She was his subordinate. They had not talked much till she passed him a note written on a blank margin of a newspaper in Bengali, English & Hindi that said ‘I have told my parents that I will marry you’. She did. I saw the Ravindra sangeet books she gifted him. He referred to her as ‘Pagli’ when he told me these stories & sometimes spoke of her in the present tense, but corrected himself. ‘I’ did not get rid of her belongings after she passed away in 2018. He gives away an item at a time to someone he knows will value it. He roasted for us the last rice papad she had made, gave me 2 bottles of nail polish she had bought to give away as gifts. Purple & grey. A packet of hair ties & a nail filer.
I flew, tried to fly, a kite on his terrace & kept getting distracted by the flocks of parrots that flew homewards. The prettiest thing a city can do is have a flock of parrots fly over it.
I met a little girl on the terrace who was too short to see beyond the wall. So I lifted her & walked around. I would point at a kite stuck in a tree & ask her what color it is. I pointed at an orange kite, she answered blue. The pink kite, she said was orange. I asked what color the green kite was & she said ‘2’ holding her index, middle & ring fingers out. The kite was the color 2. Stay with that.