I heard about a guy who set up a camera at a window of his office, recording that point-of-view of the activity on the street below him for 12 years. I'm told he calls it a work in progress. I once had a video camera with me for a week, and never having had access before to such a piece of equipment for so long a time, I filmed life from my window at all times of the day and night. It was fascinating to see what I'd filmed when I played back the tape. After about three days, I began to notice a recurring feature in the film – people carting loads, carrying burdens. Animals too, though not as many and as frequently. The other interesting feature that showed up was of people using public and private transport, the interaction of humans and machinery. Candid camera if you please.
At this point in time, at 11:54 tonight, three yellow vehicles of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, outfitted as tankers with swivel arms and pipes, are making enough of a racket to wake the dead as they clean the drains of this junction my window opens out on to. Yellow taxis are parked strategically around this 6-point crossing, and the sodium vapour street lamps give Vivekananda a dirty yellow tinge. There are about 12 lamps at this road junction and at night the view is remarkably jaundiced.
I'm listening to Donovan, once, and unfairly known as the Dylan of Britain. Wonder where he is today? Two of the songs in the compilation I have are aptly suitable to this piece I'm writing. The following are lyrics from Season of the Witch, “When I look out my window, so many sights to see / And when I look in my window, so many different people to be / That is strange, so strange...”. The other is Mellow Yellow, “I'm just mad about Saffron, And she's just mad about me / They call me Mellow Yellow...”. Both colours figure in this open window topic of mine but probably not the way Mr Leitch imagined it.
(Ah! Google and Wikipedia have informed me in 14 seconds that Donovan, though afflicted by a tendency to keep disappearing off the musical map every so often, released an album in 2004 called Beat Café. What I didn't know was that he apparently was a great friend of The Beatles and collaborated on songs with them. Well, well... don't you just love trivia?)
One of the streets which meet at this junction is directly in my line of sight across the traffic island. It leads south into the super built-up density of Behala, but more importantly, it acts as a passage for the wonderful southern breezes which Calcutta is blessed with most of the year. A scientifically informed person told me it's known as the Venturi effect. Let's not get into an overdose of trivia though... Suffice it to say, during the monsoon, the breeze is cool and damp and even if I could afford an air conditioner, I wouldn't need one with this breeze blowing through my open window.