in his own image made He him

It was so perfect it seemed man-made. Its slender length was a flawless green, translucent, and its head a neat geometric achievement, a fine wedge. The green-snake is a tree snake and this one had slithered in the grass and I had howled because Sujaya was going to step on it. She and the snake both froze and Sujaya set down her foot a safe distance away, and the snake stayed, unmoving, its head raised and cocked and (apparently) amused. There was no tremble in it, no sign at all of fear. It stayed thus while we walked a U about it, avoiding the head—unsure whether the green-snake is the biting, venomous kind—and even after we moved on, when we looked back before going into the bend in the track, it was there, the head raised, its aspect unchanged.

Readers of this blog would’ve noticed that the Kadamane Estate has been too much on my mind lately.

snake-and-ladderA man-made thing has my attention now, ever since they pulled down the screens that had covered the ITC Hotel while it was under construction, on Rajaram Mohun Roy Road. It is on top of the rear building, quite like a flying saucer, but moored solid. I haven’t inquired, but it seems like a helipad. I see it mornings, halfway to work, and because traffic is usually stalled before it I’m able to study the neat ribs that run down its bowl-like bottom. Some days my spirits have soared up to the saucer from my seat in the back of the car; other days the thing has dunked me into depression, being too much of the spirit of new Bangalore, challenging all citizens to do better, to do their best, to work until breathless.

I had another encounter with snakes the other day, and it haunts me, even if it was only that I watched them on Nat Geo on television. A king-cobra found himself a mate and the camera showed as much as it could of the consummation; after which the couple settled like family, awaiting childbirth. Soon, a competing male nosed in, and a time-honored tradition ensued: The settled male went out and the two fought a gracious wrestling bout that was more a fascinating dance, punctuated by non-venomous strikes at each other. A victory was signaled when the intruder landed a smart butt on the resident’s head, who, without hesitation, slithered away through a mass of dead brown leaves, his fourteen feet full of shame. The moment was as intense as in the end in Romeo and Juliet. But worse came soon, as heart wrenching as in Othello, when the victor went up to claim her and in a short while smelt her pregnant condition. She fought so bravely, he needed forty-five minutes to kill her.

On Sunday, I watched Pulp Fiction, and laughed as I watched the gore. The thought bobbed about in my mind that God created man truly in his own image.

Yesterday, at dinner, a customer from the United States had brought more details than is available here in India about Project GIFT in Gujarat, which is a grand plan to build an industrial city twice the size of Tokyo. The customer, a Fortune 500 corporation, showed computation of the number of their products that they will sell to the project: “Our Indian plants will grow five times in five years.” An upward spiral caught us and we floated up with it, and spoke of the scale of opportunities now loosed upon us, of solar energy, of other infrastructure, and decided that we should shake our mindset somewhat, and get ready for heady growth.

After the fine dinner, on the way back, an hour before midnight, a man came round from behind a metro-column opposite Mayo Hall and melted back into the shadows, looking as lonely as they are around such places at such hours in large cities everywhere. But only some hundred feet up, the junction at Brigade Road was busy and as we drove on through Cubbon Road along the Parade Grounds, watching the new rises of UB City, I sensed the surging energy of Bangalore that until now I’ve doggedly refused entry, and I felt for the first time what could be the beginning of a resonance.

Monkey mind! Can I keep clenched this monkey fist and write with it too?