My office terrace is pretty humble to look at. One can imagine it to be the sullen backdrop of a withering Christmas tree - in the manner of some art-house film. It doesn’t have seats or shade, except the kind afforded by a vacant sky. But there is a slim roof above the threshold of the terrace. This is where smokers (the group that is constantly in need of ‘fresh’ air), slouch around, finding their own zones of comfort.
The last coffee break had me on the terrace, looking across at a grey-blue building. Colleagues who I haven’t met yet wondered why I was there, without a coffee or a cigarette in my hand. After all, what can you expect to see in Noida, right? Even if it is a view from the top.
But I like what I see. There are coarse squares of concrete, bricks, and walls. These enclose dry, parched earth, tufts of coarse grass, and emaciated, dusty trees. While other cities may be urban jungles, Noida still has the feel of an urban farmland.
Getting back to the coffee break. I was generally walking around on the terrace in the sun. It was so hot and bright that I could feel the skin on my nose start to peel off. But I’ve been so fed up of winter lately, that a little bit of extreme heat was quite welcome. I couldn’t really see anything without squinting though. Everything was just swathed in this searing, white, dusty coat.
And then it started raining. Nothing else had changed. It was still bright and hot. The trees still looked wilted and the ground still looked like portions of it might flake and fall off. But added to that now was rain, sharp shards of rain. It actually hurt if you stood out. But then you had to, because, well…in the list of things that can never be explained is how one just wants to engage in the outdoors when it is raining.
The sky was remarkably blue, and in front of me was a tree that seemed to have perked up and become verdant. It swayed as if to some rhythm. Against the backdrop of a cloudless, blue sky was this bushel of slim, thin leaves moving. It looked like a Japanese painting that would be on white parchment, painted with a slim brush and a precise hand.
And beyond that, a sight to upstage every breathtaking moment in my life, was a huge, bright rainbow. A horizon to horizon rainbow. A rainbow where even the violet was vivid. A rainbow you wanted to chase and slide down over. A rainbow you wanted to put in your hair so that it shone in the sun. A rainbow you wanted to wrap as a ribbon around your favorite plant. A rainbow you would put under your pillow and peep to see if it’s there every morning. A rainbow you would put in a glass jar. A rainbow you would put in the grasp of a new-born baby. A rainbow you would nestle on a silk cushion. A rainbow you would trade a pot of gold for. That kind of a rainbow.
My colleague told me that this happens pretty often when it rains.
And they say there’s nothing to see in Noida.