My humble verandah stands behind bars today. Stripped of freedom, its walls that earlier soaked in the morning sunshine, beckoned the birds to have their first meeting on the parapet and hugged me tight while I stretched my arms and yawned to a breath of fresh air, now, stare at me with a sheepish grin.
For security reasons and theft control, administrative authorities ordered iron grills to be fitted as ‘protective’ screen to every verandah that did not have this veil till now.
The metal grills that united to form a fourth wall appeared to me like adamant tenants who boss their landlords in claiming a property not their own. The cruel claws of the metal grids too strengthened their hold on the verandah with each passing day.
Not that my verandah nodded to this encroachment lying down. Everyday, I would be a quiet spectator to its many acts of protests. Sun rays that once uninterruptedly greeted my verandah’s benign walls, now, had to struggle through the crevasses of the barbed railings to reach them. Winds and rains too had to pay a tax at this metal gate before shaking hands with their stationary friend.
Two of my flower pots suffered. The plants complained of a deficient supply of light and air that hindered their growth. The withering leaves made me feel nothing less than a failed doctor who could not assure his patient of a speedy recovery but hid inside him a bitter truth of the latter’s imminent death.
The insensitive barricades turned a deaf ear to the many cries of the dying leaves. Unable to negotiate any further, the flowers gave up. The little saplings knew where they were heading to.
Soon, everything came to a standstill.
Two days later, a glass sheath was buckled covering the metal fencing as the final door of closure.
I woke up to a rainy morning the next day. As the rains lashed angrily against the newly installed transparent glass pane, the impressions that the drops left on it seemed to be like tears. To me these tears symbolised nature’s deep sorrow at being rendered incapable of showering love to the verandah dressed dry and dull.
Oh! How the partition led to terrible pain and loss. Birds did not flock to their usual address on learning that it had been fortified. They do, however, hit the glass hard with their sharp beaks every morning, in the hope of knocking the damn thing down into pieces, but in vain. Pigeons that had accumulated wooden sticks on top of the window pane of one of the adjacent verandah walls gazed helplessly without any clue. The mission to build a nest there stood incomplete… rather aborted!
The sturdy walls of my verandah had sheltered shy leaves, parented mischievous cats that would often steal quick afternoon naps on its lap and guarded timid birds on days of storms and heavy rains.
Orphaned, my verandah is lifeless…
The fourth wall like a heartless step mother has broken the family.