The string puppet hanging from the peg in the niche is creating an illusion, or did it really bend the right knee forward! I move closer and watch it minutely. This times it is his partner, the pink faced women with deep red lipstick and khol lined eyes, she certianly swung her hip... up, up it went in jerky moves... there, there her skrit twitched revealing her bare leg - the silver anklet girdling her foot reflected a fraction of light playing yet another trick.
My eyes move up towards the strings. I can almost sense a fading quiver as if someone was plucking them through the alcove above. I stand still locking my eyes on the two waiting for their next move. Pigeons flutter behind the skylight and the spell breaks for a few seconds.
I turn around and rest my back against the cold basement wall. All around there are books lined in shelves, artworks clutched in frames, photos jacketed behind glass, curios in various states of animated movement. The eyes gradually get used to the dim light beaming on the floor through a ventilator and scan the floor finally resting on my own feet. Who is this? Where are the legs and the rest of the body? I give up. The neck refuses to bend and the eyes can't seem to find another object. Every thing is still, there is no motion, no movement - even the light beam seems frozen, there are no dust specks playing in it.
Among them, for twelve days, I too have become an object. Lifeless, not dead. Confined, distanced, trapped, isolated in a place that tells me it is my home. At times other objects around me whisper, I can't catch what they say. It seems I am one of them, only that I have suddenly developed feeble sensory abilities.
I have possibly jumped out of that shelf, that one on the far right, and, am now taking inventory of my companions, my fellow beings in a museum closed for a long break. They - like me, I - like them. Objects. Each having a label, a business card to be exchanged in mutual muteness. Each explained as "Title; Year; Origin; Size; Material". Where is mine? Just like the mask on the wall, the bronze sculpture, the centre table and hundreds of others that have been confined within the walls for years. In a few days, I assume, I would be a curio, a large one, occupying one corner. Not entombed though.
From time to time when conscious mind fleetingly nudges me I feel some of these objects have been moved or shifted from one place to another, like a chair or a cushion. I too have become like them or forced to. Tired of reading on a chair I shift or move, like dust, to the sofa and from there to the couch. Like the trumpet on the shelf I am quiet, not disturbing the solitude. Unlike the colourful painting, I merge with the pale wall. But I ain't hung as yet.
Like the Buddha figurine my eyes have drooped, my hair matted and curled. I would soon be like the illegible spine of an old tome, stacked one next to the other. Lying on the floor, I take Shavasana, like the carpet holding its breath.
In another week, I suspect, I would be like the uplighter which doesn't respond to the switch on another wall. Filaments alone dont light a bulb.
* April 6, 2020 - Covid times - 7