There are a few advantages to the new job. For one, I leave at an hour when it’s still light outside and now that we are officially in monsoon, you have to see the light to believe it. The sky was pretty yesterday too, but today it was spectacular and of course, I didn’t carry my camera. This damned iPhone makes you forget that there are actually occasions when Instagram isn’t quite enough. When I left the office, the sky looked like it was lit up. It looked warm, pinkish-gold and just luminous. A few spattered clouds stained the sky with shadowy purplish patches. The streets near my office are by and large residential. As a result, they’re also quite leafy and there are quite a few flame trees (what we call “gulmohar”). That soft light, that glowing sky and then the red flowers of the gulmohar, brighter than bright. It was so beautiful and so completely beyond the scope of the poor old iPhone camera. I tried a couple of times and then when I saw the bleached shots that I was getting, I didn’t bother. Instead I stared and stared and stared, as though blinking as little as possible would somehow let me touch this light and soak it in.
And then, it got a little darker and the sky became the kind of pink you expect to see in flowers and oil paints. Amateur painters use colours like that glistening shade of pink to depict sunset skies, and those landscapes always feel fake. I realised why today. It’s not that the pink is out of place. The sky was as flamboyantly pink when I made it into Bandra, but there are also shadows and impressions of so many other colours — yellow, blue, purple, indigo, white, black — that most amateurs miss. By this time though, I’d figured out how to tilt and tweak the cameraphone’s eye to make sure the image was somewhere close to the real thing.
Looking at light like that, it feels weird. Because it’s so beautiful that you can’t believe that we’re getting to see this. With all the things that we’re screwing up so royally within homes, cities and nations; with all the mismanagement, the callousness and the cruelty, it doesn’t feel like we deserve to have this kind of magic. But there it was this evening, and it was breathtaking enough to forget all the sadnesses, big and small, of the present.