POSTCARD #228: New Delhi: I have developed prehensile palms and soles of feet to walk like a gekho upside down on the ceiling. Vertigo of spiral staircase (going up is easier than coming down), and up to the room at the top of the stairs where I’ve put into action a plan, carefully considered all through these months since February. This will be my quiet place, doorway open to the sunlit terrace, the roof is the sky, birds fly through, inhabit my world.
Climbing down again and up with more boxes and bags, an electric kettle, cups and teaspoons. Playing a sound track on speakers, it sounds so different here, in the new acoustics. Sit in the doorway to listen, intervals of birdsong, voices of neighbours below in their homes, windows open to the world we all are contained in. Wash floor, wipe windows, boxes of acryllic paint, Cadmium Red, Bleached Titanium.
I shall be an Easel Painter, energised by how much the weather has changed here, suddenly it’s cool like an English summer. Air con shut down, ceiling fans switched off, and windows open wide. The hearing mechanism dulled by the usual hum and click of background noise 24/7 we live with in order to have our artificial temperature. But the hot season is over, ears strain to receive the sound of these machines, and it’s not there… only this shocking and shocked silence.
Surprised how everything that’s outside the dwelling comes inside; in through the windows, the doors and apertures of the skull, into our rooms and down through our corridors, into our corners, arriving in these enclosed spaces where only the Hoover has recharged the air these months of heat. A cool breeze moves the curtains as if an unseen presence has just passed by.
Somebody’s ring tone somewhere; pause… voice says hello? Dialogue in a language I don’t know – the quietness of not having to be being pulled into it. Stillness of mind, ease of breath, calm and sitting on floor cushion with folded legs
“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.” [Virginia Woolf, The Waves]