Tuesday, June 22, 2010

As I walk to and from my place of intern-ship, I see different kinds of people. We all do. See each other.

I have been noticed as an anomaly in my building. I am a curious thing to the Gujju wives, who sit on the stairs to catch the cool air that spirals upwards, but never enters their homes for some strange and infuriating reason.

My hair cut in a side-swipe mullet, a swirl that would make Justin Beiber blanch with envy; my penchant for pants and my silent demeanour, all combine to make me a perfect reason to loathe with awe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pandering to myself. I've done enough of that, with disastrous results for the egos around me. ha ha!

It is this initial reaction to my person, that switched on my observation radar and it has been on auto-pilot since.

So back to my walks.

Today, I watched an old man slowly walk his route around the gated 'society' that he lives in. I overtook him in a few strides, but not before noticing that his thin cotton kurta, worn to battle the heat was soaked to the threads. It stuck to his enormous canvas of a back like wet mache.

His dhoti billowed around him, like he was sitting on a cloud that moved at the pace of snail. His walking stick, an oar.

I realised that he could do nothing about his situation, except to keep walking, until he reached his gate. As I passed him, he looked over at me. A moving pan shot, was my view. What he saw, a passing comet.

His eyes said most of what he wanted to; his eventual avoidance of my returning gaze was the end of the brief exchange.

"I used to walk faster than you; you should know that. I wasn't so big, I had a defining frame. Does it feel good to walk fast? It must, I know it made me feel powerful. We all slow down after awhile, some more than the rest. I am part of the more, the excess. I know that, you don't have to tell me. Go on, there's nothing left to see. Nothing."

For a moment, I wondered what it would be like. Old, without the distractions of our created environments. It would be such deafening silence. The mind would then start to speak again, and all that wisdom we wanted then, would come spilling out now. And we would try and impart it, desperately and as a result look desperate. Trying to claw meaning back with this knowledge. But will it come?

We would be looking at the noise from the outside in. Sadness of knowing would no doubt become our responsibility. Who else would want it? And then in that knowledge, we wait for our next journey out of the inside, out of the outside. To the infinite.

"Then my love, I will be the light; faster, brighter and stronger. I will be the comet."

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