The park I frequent is not big. In fact it is about the size of two large traffic islands you see in New Delhi; like the one at Janpath and Akbar road crossing or one near Udhyog Bhavan. Its shape is like a loose rubber band, uneven oblong. It mostly has fragile Rain trees along the periphery. Their grip of earth is very weak therefore often uproot in stormy rains. Rain trees normally form nice round dome like canopy but here they are in competition with tall buildings for sunlight therefore take vertical route for growth. The result is; the park looks like bottom of an irregular shaped high walled vessel. There is a raised walking track along the perimeter just enough for three people to walk abreast. A circular pagoda like shed at one end of the park is used mostly by smug but stern looking wise women/men imparting wisdom to lesser mortals. Inside of walking track on the lush green are concrete benches for people to relax.
I generally take a few rounds of brisk walking then settle down on one of the empty benches to catch my breath, spend time observing people. To each his idiosyncrasies! Like any other day the stretch of grass was dotted with islands of human clusters. Groups of ladies were gossiping while attached children having fun around them. Occasionally someone from them would yell out some instruction to children ‘don’t do …….’ The group near me had a south Indian woman, young absentminded, striking for her detached demeanor. Dark complexioned she had that fatal appeal, not the sexy kind but of feminine vulnerability that spurs men to reach out and protect them. Suddenly she became violently animate…..
I could see a dark malevolent man standing behind the fence on the edge of park. Just the torso visible making deep guttural threatening sounds the kind hardly audible in lower range but very disturbing. The woman got up began speaking animatedly with in her native language with exaggerated gestures. She stayed rooted to her spot, staccato outburst quickly changed tone, now indignant, now cajoling and now issuing threats. The man at the fence kept steady supply of provocation lest the woman relax.
Everyone of the group had now risen looked at her in stultified horror some totally flummoxed. I was surprised that none bothered to confront the offending man. The old man sitting next me on the bench whispered, ‘She is schizophrenic!’
‘What nonsense! Can’t you see the man on the fence threatening her?’
‘What man?’ he looked at me bewildered.
I saw what she saw because I also had the same mirror to see......