outside-in/inside-out


photo-6POSTCARD #109: New Delhi: The early morning flight from Bangkok to Delhi leaves in darkness and the sun rises along the way. It takes only three and a half hours; have breakfast, fall asleep, wake up and pretty soon we’re descending. Up go the flaps down go the wheels; we’re on the ground and rumbling along a bumpy runway. Get ready to go, reassemble the parts of who I am and out of the aircraft into the vast arrivals hall. A long walk to immigration, miles of pale tangerine carpeting, entry stamp on my passport thump. I’m through. Find a place at the luggage belt to stand and wait and watch the bags move past the centre of my vision. Feel dizzy… all journeys merge into one; can’t remember what my bag looks like, panic for a moment then remember. I see it, grab the handle, get it on its wheels and leave through the green Nothing-To-Declare exit. Driver is waiting, into the car and we’re away in the traffic.

Adjust my watch back 1½ hours and step into an earlier time, a continuation of events that started before I got here. The flight from Bangkok disappears; a memory replaced by present-time experience – there’s no feeling of ‘me’ having arrived in Delhi, it’s like Delhi has arrived in ‘me’… outside in & inside out. Delhi fills my vision; all the sensations, noise and commotion of morning rush-hour traffic on the airport highway. Car horns honking all around: pap-pap, pee-pee, pah-paah, PEEE….

There’s a hold-up, maybe there’s been an accident. What’s happening? The sound of car horns increases in volume, and slowly we get nearer and begin to see the cause of the obstruction. There’s a vehicle positioned right across the road, but it seems to be moving… wait and see. It looks like the driver is trying to turn round. Yes, he’s doing a three-point turn into the oncoming traffic. What? At this point, the noise of horns stops for a moment; uneasy silence, everybody thinking wow, we don’t know what’s going on here, but this guy must think he has a very good reason for deciding to do this, and they edge past him cautiously. The driver completes the turn, after many stops and starts as the flow of traffic continues to swerve past him whenever there’s a space to get through. Then he’s coming towards us, driving carefully against the traffic flow and assertively looking everybody in the eye.

The first thing that comes to mind is: this is just so… wrong, and I’d like to dwell on how wrong it is, but it’s too weird – searching for something to blame, but can’t find anything with sufficient blameworthiness. One thing is certain; it must be pretty scary to be doing what he’s doing. I see him in silhouette as we pass, gripping the steering wheel, alert, tense, determined. I watch him through the rear window; an enigma, a complete reversal of everything we think of as logical. The rush of traffic engulfs him like water moves around a stone in a fast moving river, then he’s gone.

Up front, in the normal directionality of things, we appear to be getting through the congestion. Traffic picks up speed, acceleration; honks, squeaks and toots all around as if the cars were jamming with each other in an improvisation by Miles Davis on trumpet.

“Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside of them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.” [Rabindranath Tagore]

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22 thoughts on “outside-in/inside-out

  1. Love the imagery of this post Tiramit!

    Somehow these off moments that you describe so well here, heighten our awareness of how much we expect the familiar pattern of traffic to take place every time we are in a car.

    • Thanks Debra, the mystery is always present of course and maybe easier to see it in a place like Delhi where the pattern of traffic is not so familiar. There’s also something about human behaviour here that seems to be driven by an uncontainable willpower…

  2. “I” have just returned home after two months overseas and “I” have this very strong sense of the past trip having a dream like quality- not me- and that there is only right now which is “me”

    • The dream like quality is familiar, Rupert Spira says something along these lines: it’s not so much that “I” left England, more like England left me, and “I” didn’t arrive in Australia – Australia arrived in me. Everything in conscious experience is always ‘right now’

  3. Love the way you take the reader with you landing in Delhi and directly into the streets. It is so vivid. And so like the descriptions my husband gives of Cairo where he lived for some time. All done with the bare bones of language which is so effective in getting us there with you, dizzy and awed.

    • Thanks Ellen, it’s really helpful to have your responses to something I just give form to, more or less as it is; trying to get it to reflect the immediacy of what’s going on. Cairo is probably like this, I went there only once. People live in such proximity; so much is on the surface, seen and experienced, there’s a synchronicity of a great number and diversity of events taking place everywhere in this present moment…

      • And I thank you for in some comment for some post you mentioned David Bingham and I have found him saying what Mooji says in a different way that is very helpful. Time is running out and I have to find some way of stepping back from anxiety and other feelings of the person. So thank you.

      • About the David Bingham interview, I just had another look at the link and the interesting one, I thought, was the first interview with Ian McNay (click the link). But maybe you have seen that one already. I hope you manage to find something that’ll help with stepping back from these anxious feelings…

      • Thank you for the link. I listened to it a second time. Do remember as a child having similar, almost mystical experiences? Did you? Think many children do. Could have been my Bipolar because the meds for that really put a wrinkle in Being. Anyhow thank you again.

      • I remember lying in the garden looking up at the sky and clouds and getting kinda scared about the vast space entering.
        I think David Bingham is saying consciousness is so much greater than mind, and he found it’s possible to allow the smallness of mind to be swept away. In the context of our discussion, the body could then recover from the physiolgical effects of the meds… is it possible? Maybe encouraging to think it’s not impossible to unlock the holding on to the idea that it can’t be changed?

      • Yes, I think you are right and it may be possible though difficult to circumvent the meds. Mooji says basically Bipolar is of the mind and the mind is identified with the ego not Awareness. I am not explaining it well but I am sure you understand.

  4. Hi,

    Being a Delhi guy myself, I loved that ball by ball commentary of the traffic imbroglio!

    My experience over recent years of landing at T-3 airport and then going into the city has been fairly uneventful. The road network access is much better and the way it occurs to me, the traffic discipline a mite better.

    Shakti

    • Thanks, yes it’s orderly enough these days. I usually come in from the airport at the busy time and there are a couple of bottle-necks we get held up in, slow for a while but it moves in the end. I was writing about the extraordinary driver who decided to turn around and drive back through oncoming traffic. Any ideas what that could have been about?

  5. Great post Tiramit. As usual I feel like I’m right there with you – astonished at the vehicle turning around in traffic. Maybe the driver had a call on his mobile telling him his wife was giving birth?! Loved your description as you were about to disembark the plane: ‘Get ready to go, reassemble the parts of who I am … ‘

    • Thanks again Jude for a really observant comment; his wife was giving birth, wonderful! It’s possible – something more important than anything else. Getting my act together, ‘reassemble the parts of who I am,’ the other drivers maybe acknowledge, let it go, this is India; a place where profound things happen from time to time…

  6. I love how you reassembled yourself when the plane landed, had a momentary panic about what kind of bag you had, then everything fell into place. You paint pictures of the profound out of the mundane with such ease. I could hear the Miles Davis traffic ensemble, and sense the momentarily necessary fierceness of a person who felt for reasons both vital and incommunicable, that they had to fight their way upstream. Sometimes we’re caught in those situations. We want to put up a sign so the whole world knows– I left the gas oven on… my child is somewhere and needs me… I left my computer at home and the meeting starts in thirteen minutes– but we can’t, so we project to the world our discomfort at our inability to explain. We project our pain, our need for compassion… Work with me here, people… This isn’t who I really am, but I’m caught inside of it… Oh my, how we want to be rational beings… 🙂

    Michael

    • Thanks Michael, maybe it’s exactly this stumbling predicament and inability to explain convincingly why it has to be like this sometimes, that leads to the collapsible ‘self’ option, worn like a suit of clothing (Clark Kent steps into a phone booth), a kind of skill in invisibility develops…

  7. I am tempted to say, “Only in Delhi”. Then it switches to metaphor and I recall times in life when I, or someone else in my world is doing this, determinedly turning moving against the flow

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