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My favourite pass time once upon a time was to sit in my backyard and look at the subtle proceedings of nature around me. Tiny movements. Small creatures scurrying across the undergrowth. And above, a koel on the branch of a tamarind tree, and over there a few mynas on a small neem tree. Then a sudden flap of wings. There goes a warbler, flying off a tender branch after crooning for a long time which I was relishing all the while. The branch trembles for a few moments. Then it stops. Then there is silence. But this silence was not real, for there was an incessant din that was produced by a multitude of creatures; cawing of crows, a cat meowing somewhere nearby sitting on a granite wall and a dog relentlessly barking from a distant countryside, besides people yelling from afar only the heavens knew for what. My senses were so accustomed to them that they ceased to be noises; an all pervasive and enduring noise-silence of the afternoons, exquisite and excruciating at the same time.

 

Those years were the happiest in my entire life, for I was so much content with the bounties the nature around me offered my senses. I could sit around watching the falling of leaves and flocks of cranes gracefully flying into the horizon. Nature for me was a big art museum filled with the most dynamic installations, sculptures and paintings. Everything in it was so painstakingly put together; the patterns, the colours, the heartening shapes; the intricate workings of all forms of life around me. I thought humanity did not need anything else for its enjoyment and fulfilment of its needs than nature and its generous supply of beauty and purpose, purpose to exist, perpetuate and outlive the infinitesimal moments in which everything actually exists.


Journeys to the Zoo and Aquarium

 

There was also something else that used to give me immense pleasure and joy those days. And that was the occasional excursions to the city zoo and the aquarium by the beach. I would say IT IS still the most beautiful zoo I have ever seen in my life. Whenever a bunch of relatives come from a distant town or village, they would express their wish to go around the city for sight-seeing. I would suddenly jump in and say that no sight-seeing is complete without a visit to the zoo and the aquarium. But they did not know that more than they it was I who wanted to visit them. And probably they were the most important attractions in our city those days, before the malls and amusement parks crept up.


The zoo starts with the cages of the primates, and I still remember how the visitors amused themselves by throwing peanuts to their simian friends inside the cages, even though it was prohibited by the zoo authorities. Then our course winds around the aviaries. I used to stand spellbound by the riot of colours (I loathe this expression though, but for want of a better one I still use it) on display in the birds’ plumages. I would stand, as if in a trance, until one of my relatives who have already progressed further, comes back and takes me along, chiding me for my irresponsible behaviour. I walk along the cages still spellbound by the fragments of beauty that are on display inside each one of them. Then come the cages of the most ferocious animals, their pent up instincts manifested through huffs, grunts growls, and occasional roars - tigers, leopards, lions, jaguars, bears, hyenas – the patterns on their coats caught my imagination more than anything else I have ever encountered; what beauty! What magnificence! And then on to the moats of the amphibians where the crocs and alligators meditated with their maws agape. And, after the moat of the lone rhino, the visit to the zoo culminates around the open patches of the more docile kinds – elephants, zebras, giraffes, deer of different varieties.

 

Then off we go to the beach side aquarium. Schools of fish in different shapes and hues swam rapidly in the turquoise water in different glassed containments. Their movements, shapes and colours sent me to a realm of unimaginable proportions. I used to stand completely dazed and unaware of the place, until, again, someone came back and pulled me along.

 

Each pattern, each shade of colour, each shape was etched deep into my mind and when I try to remember them now they come to my mind like kaleidoscopic patterns, abstractions of forms, colours and movements blended with a whirl of emotions and memories.


Through this series which I call ‘The Creature Abstractions’ I am trying to recapture the patterns of life that I have seen over the years, as they from time to time reflect upon the mirror of my mind.

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Eugin Robinson
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Bharathiraja Muruganandham
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The Creature Abstractions
Through this series I am trying to recapture the patterns of life that I have seen over the years as they from time to time reflect upon the mirror of my mind.
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