I was standing on a very narrow landing. The flooring was rough and dusty asphalt, with that small base of the railing at its edge. My feet were on the edge of that narrower base, each fit tightly in the space between two spindles. I was rocking myself back and forth, with my hands tightly clasped to the wooden handrail that creaked with the movement.
Behind me was the music society, drumming away with their guitars and vocals, practicing for their latest gig. It was quite dark, they preferred it that way. Every few minutes, I would see a silhouette of someone coming up the stairs. Their face got illuminated for a slight minute as they passed that ray of moonlight coming in from the slit across them. The blue glint lit across their features and contours, there was beauty in that look, and their expressions were revealed in a space dark enough for them to hide in. The thud across the wooden stairs that accompanied each step, at some moments added to the music played in the background and at other times just disturbed the aura.
The views around me played with the serenity of the moment. The landing right below me was flooded in light, from a small naked bulb hanging underneath the outer stringer; it rocked and squeaked with every slight movement. Right in front of it was a glass wall that overlooked the theatre stage, where the theatre society was practicing its skits. It was an amusing scene. I couldn’t hear a word of what they were shouting about, but there they were; 7 to 8 students standing in odd positions across the stage, looking at the supposed audience in that empty hall, almost envisioning a crowd of 500 people cheering them on. They moved swiftly across the wooden board, props in hand, clad as beggars and sardars and pirs, their expressions accompanied by those hand and body movements that added color to the performance. I could imagine my own storyline right there for what could be happening down there. From my viewpoint, I was on eye level with the hanging lights and curtain railings. I could see the props guy shifting the aluminum truss along with actor’s positions to see where it hit them best with the light, where the sounds of the speakers were at their optimum. A slight turn to the left, and I could see all the structural details to the building that were essentially visible from the outside, hidden behind that curtain that led to the backstage.
There was so much happening in that moment. I was a spectator to all the actors in front of me, and behind me, carrying out acts of their lives.