There's a tall, cool glass of kokum juice. It is sweet and tart. The hut is made of clay and there is a large cat sleeping in the corner. There's a bright brass plate which held my dinner some time ago. Dinner was simple. One fried egg, one cup of softly cooked rice, shreds of spicy potatoes, and a small raw onion. Now I have to sleep in here. There's a sandalwood incense burning here and through the tiny window, I can see the moon.
Everything is quiet and filled with untangled peace.
Here I am in Noida in a friend's place. He'd bought two bean bags the other day and we stuffed them with, well, thermocol beans. It is quite an arduous task if you must know. Your back and shoulders hurt (or rather mine did).
Anyway, there's a slim balcony outside the bedroom. It overlooks the apartment complex - all grid-like and neat and tidy with rows of cars lined up oh-so-proper. From the top and enough distance, you forget the real bit of chaos that awaits you when you get down on the ground.
I woke up early. It was six o'clock in the morning. My friend was asleep. His dog, Schenal, was quiet. The house had peace and silence wafting through it like incense.
I took up Rushdie's newest novel, 'The Golden House.'
Schenal and I made coffee. Rather I made, explaining the process to her. She seemed interested enough until I started stirring in sugar. She lost interest then but stayed outside the kitchen giving me a very kind form of companionable silence.
Then I settled down in the bean bag with my coffee and novel to read. There was a sweet, happy dog looking curiously at the ceremony. The world was stirring. It has been nearly five months since I picked up a book to read for pleasure. It has been endless days since I woke up exhausted or anxious about unfinished work. It has possibly been moons since the sour taste of resentment of the ordinary drudgery of a freelance life hits you - no time for self and then finally, no self.
But this morning, things were deep and good. Life seemed to have mellowed. Heart was beating at a pace that seemed human and unrushed. The blood in my veins felt cool.
This morning was special because it just made sense. If you give Time time, you get your peace prize. No matter what has been eroded away until you get to that spot.
As Camus put it, 'Peace is the only battle worth waging.'
I had begun this countdown one tiring day at work. I had decided that, from that day, I would spend exactly these many days on the job and in Pune.
It turns out that I quit the job and left Pune much earlier.
The countdown, though, was interesting.
A friend had told me about a man called Jonathan Harris. He had started this website/ blog called www.cowbird.com. He wanted to take a picture to record each day. That was the project. I think it is like a quote by Virginia Woolfe (also told by my pal), "We marry because we don't want to live an unwitnessed life." (or we need a witness to our life - something like that.)
I wanted to write something every day so that each day of the countdown, as I was preparing for my exit from the job, Pune, and the familiarity of life that I knew it, I was still recording something. Small, beautiful, sad, ordinary, special - whatever. I was recording that.
I wanted to pay respect to the time that I had in Pune, in my job, with my colleagues and friends. Writing about each day was a way of paying respect to the hidden meaning that the hours brought.
Today the countdown ends. I live to tell the tale.
It was good. Now it is over.
Maybe for the rest of the year, I will not have a countdown. I will simply ramble and sketch out my days.
2018 - maybe I will begin a different countdown again.
Don't know. Felt like dressing up today. I am wearing a black cotton salwar-kameez with a colorful dupatta. It's nice and fresh. I love bright, fresh cotton.
Anyway, I dropped off my parents and uncle and aunty at the airport. They are off now and it really feels like they will have a good time. Gosh! Destiny...my parents in Japan!
There's a strange thing that happened. Some moons ago, I was almost working on an assignment for a Japanese company. I was so besotted with the idea that I kept a bunch of Japanese-related stuff around me. I wasn't exactly working on visualization but hey, there were sketches of cherry trees, etc. I guess my folks visualized it stronger than I did.So they are off. :-)
This is an article that I would like to read but won't because there isn't enough time: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/sep/05/how-science-found-a-way-to-help-coma-patients-communicate?CMP=fb_gu
My family is leaving for Japan tomorrow.
Some friends may come over the weekend unless I need to leave the city for some work.
In the last few months of the year, I intend to get fit. My step towards being that way is meditating. Mum had a beautiful string of amber-colored rosaries which I have been using since the last two days. Will do some more meditation today. In fact, will do it right now, make some coffee and get back to work.
A couple of days ago, I had thought of shutting down the blog.
A month ago, I had thought of selling off my car.
Nearly a year ago, I had thought of ending my life.
I think of these three incidents because these thoughts had come to me from a place of very deep, peaceful sadness. I can't explain what this sadness feels like or what this peace feels like. I don't know why I was making such big, final decisions and on the basis of what. Maybe I forgot what all of this meant. Maybe there was no interest in continuing to guard this blog and what it stood for, my car and what that stood for, and my life and what that also stood for.
They all just felt like very big, heavy, wobbly stickers that were peeling off.
Anyway, I am writing the blog now.
My car is still there. I haven't driven it yet but I haven't sold it either.
My life - well, it still has all kinds of emotions and adventures and frustrations embroidered onto it. Haven't ended it.
My decision to continue with all three also came from a place of peaceful sadness. A gentle acknowledgment that I don't know if I am worthy of all the plans I made for each of these things...but as long as there are days when I will breathe and the sun will shine, I will remain with these things.
With a lot of tenderness and humility, I move onwards.
I am a little conflicted about people. Around me, I see people try. I think overall, people try to be good. When they slip up, they do not know how to forgive themselves and I think they pass on that pain and hurt to someone else.
Every day, every single day, old friends - friends you are fond of - family - nodding acquaintances - your city, your world - will give you plenty of reasons to get angry, reject them, shut them off. I think it is important to soothe yourself and remember that we are part of a collective.
A more efficient way to pack for trips between Bombay and Pune is required.
Yesterday I was texting someone about a strange event - of when I had had an eerie experience at the Race Course. Maybe my mind started playing tricks but I got the scent of stables. Reminded me of the line from Richard Bach's 'Illusions' where he says something along the lines of why it's futile to miss friends. Because as soon as you think of them, aren't they already there?
Some sweet things are happening.
Also, I was just thinking that we don't remember when we were born and then we don't know when we are going to die and how can we think of anything that happens in between as reality?
Interesting that I thought of this after citing an observation from 'Illusions'.