India !

Johannes Manjrekar

The Giraffe

When I first saw the orange giraffe, I laughed out loud. It had appeared overnight on the previously giraffe-less little traffic island. It was not quite life-size, not quite correctly proportioned, and what the colours lacked in rightness was made up for in brightness. But it seemed to adapt so well to its new existence in the middle of the traffic fumes and the dust and the heat, that before long it became difficult to imagine the traffic island without its giraffe. Although with time it accumulated dust and its fine orange faded to a more modest hue, for me the giraffe acquired a sort of cars-may-come-and-cars-may-go-but-I-glow-on-forever aura. I rarely passed the little circle without a glance at that stoic giraffe presiding over the traffic.

This morning the sunlight is filtering through a wintry haze. The traffic sounds more muted and is still a little thin. As I approach the traffic island I look up to nod at the giraffe. But it is not there. The spot where it had stood has been freshly cemented over. That is the only trace of the orange giraffe. Traffic flows past and around the traffic island the way it always does.

bare traffic island -
a pigeon circles it
and flies off


Copyright Johannes Manjrekar, 2007