Saturday, April 19, 2014

Early Morning Musings...

As a nocturnal being, waking up early in the morning can be epiphanic, particularly when you wake up naturally, unplanned, and refreshed. The visual and sensory experiences that greet you are those that elude you during the rest of the day, and night; almost being revelatory.

To begin with, you realise that there is nothing to beat that ever-so-slight early morning cool breeze. No fan or gusts from air-conditioners, or even the much-favoured sea breezes match the poetic quality of the zephyr at dawn. To take it further, early mornings bring you closer to nature, especially when you are living in a bustling city. Firstly, this serene period before the onset of noisy vehicles and traffic affords you the sounds of birds and squirrels that are hardly perceptible otherwise. This is also the time you can catch hold the sight of the dwindling population of sparrows. With not much activity on the streets, my vision is drawn to the trees in the vicinity, and for the first time in my seven-month stay in this apartment, I notice the presence of Coconut trees, Pine, a Mango tree, a Neem tree, and some Golden Shower Trees (Cassia fistula). There is also a tree species which I had seen from the window of my hotel room in Port Blair. I also spy a bird’s nest in the fig (Peepal) tree across the window, and lo! A kingfisher poised on the cable running between my building and the one opposite.

The dusty coconut and Golden Shower Trees that I was blind to!

Being early, you are also granted the spectacular sight of the passing flights of migratory birds. And once they pass, you also become aware of the antics of your not-so-exotic local neighbourhood pigeons, who also present a commendable show of group flight over the tops of buildings.
Yet, one of the fortunate spectacles is being able to catch the first rays of the rising sun, and more importantly, knowing the exact spot it rises from. This gave me a first – the sight of the pristine white building opposite me glowing in the halo of the sun-beams behind it; whereas otherwise I have always had to keep my curtains drawn due to the exorbitant brightness caused by the sun shining directly upon it. Seeing the tops of buildings gilt-edged with the golden hues is also rewarding.

The spotless neighbours, with the Pine and Fig trees

Coming to the more human level, it is interesting to observe the common breed of joggers. But what arouses the interest is the vast difference among them. A couple where only the wife is attired in the proper gear of walking shoes, yoga pants and sweat bands; while the husband trudges along in flip-flops and trousers. The solitary dude rolls smoothly showing off his sculpted biceps and calf-muscles; while another hobbles huffing and panting under the burden he is trying to reduce. A slim-figured belle with her music strapped on, as her high pony-tail swings in pace with her measured trot, looking right out of some commercial for a health drink. The bloke with a dog tugging along in front of him, but is more interested in his phablet; it is hard to understand who is walking the other. The three wise men dressed alike in white t-shirts and black trousers discuss the performance of the yellow and blue jerseys at the IPL match last night; while a squad of tiny footballers in red jerseys troops into the playground and begin their warm-up.

The three wise men, rapt in post-match analysis

Early mornings also reveal the secret elves – who get your work done while magically remaining unseen. So now I know the lanky boy with the roll of newspapers under his arm; the topi-wallah silently dropping milk-sachets from door to door; the car-washer who leaves your automobile sparkling for you; and the faceless sweepers paving the way for the day’s pedestrian rush.
The next to hit the senses are the aromas of freshly-brewed teas from the thele walla chai-wallah that are so full of life and invigorating, as opposed to the sanitised synthetic salubriousness seen in television commercials. Fragrances of cheap sambar-dosa from the chai-wallah’s neighbouring push-cart, and those wafting from the kitchens of flats next door signal the beginning of the day’s grind.
The honking cars, barking dogs, exhaust fumes, and the intensifying sun awaken me from this beautiful early morning stupor, for it is not ‘early’ any more. Who says you forget to blink only while sitting in front of computer screens; ask me as I’ve sat these two hours without batting an eyelid at these early morning discoveries. At the end of it, the personal achievement remains going beyond the mere drawing of curtains as the daybreak enticed me into venturing forth and sitting awhile on the dusty ledge of my window, from where I could drink in these sights and sounds of the early morning bliss.