POSTCARD 140: New Delhi: 6.30am Sunday, wake up, turn over on my back and watch the ceiling fan spinning… waves of air movement and coolness on the surface of wet eyes blinking. There’s this rhythmical creak. The fan needs to have oil. A familiarity with the small sound; it’s been going on all night as I was sleeping – half-awake, I’ve been singing a song in my head around the rhythm of it. A curious rising tone, it’s as if it were a question: creak? And, occasionally but not always, there’s a lesser sound, in offbeat syncopation, a small ‘quack’ sound, like a duck, a flat tone, not complying with the question; quack, a response that’s sort of dismissive: quack… creak? quack… creak? creak?… quack. Sometimes the rhythm alters and the ‘quack’ comes before the ‘creak?’ – as if the creak? is asking the quack to confirm what it just said, quack… creak? (What did you say?) creak?
There’s a limit to this kind of entertainment, even in a house where there’s no TV. Time to get up, the air seems different, humid, what is it? Upright position, legs swing over the bed; mindfulness of bare feet on cold floor… switch off the fan and the creak-quack-creak? slows down, stops. I hear rain on the roof window. Go through to the front room and look out; yes, it’s raining. An unusual darkness, heavy grey clouds up there form a kind of low-ceilinged sky. Pixel-filtered light has the quality of mother-of-pearl. Jiab’s slippers are outside, small puddles of rainwater beginning to form in the hollows where her feet have shaped the rubber – we live in a house where you leave your shoes by the door, step inside and walk around barefoot… should have taken them in.
I bring my chair to sit by the open door and look out at the rain, open the glass doors, take in the slippers, warm air enters. It’s always hot… when I first experienced monsoon weather I thought the rain would make it cool, but it just makes the ‘hot’ wet. So I sit there and listen for a while. The rain is a vast sea of tiny finger-snapping sounds. Individual collisions with the concrete seem to jump out of context with a sharpness – noticable against a background of random pitter-patter sounds that are always just on the edge of hearing – as if the listening process itself chooses the sound. Mindful of the mechanisms of focusing, receiving the ‘world’ in this unknowing pre-selected form.
Somehow it answers a question I’ve been pondering over for a while, but can’t quite remember what it was… what was it? Maybe I haven’t gotten round to seeing it as a question yet… answer arrives before the question? Mindful about the fact that I can’t get to where I want to get to, but seem to be trying anyway – mindfulness of mindlessness. Mindfulness of the times when I forget to be mindful – the tendency to fall into the dream, into the fiction I’ve created; the unaware habituality. Mindfulness as a lightness, an alertness surrounding thoughts. Intermittent rain continues for the rest of the morning.
“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” [Robin S. Sharma]
Source for lower image.
Note: low-ceilinged sky comes from the title of an album by stefan andersson
Boy, that Sharma book polarises reviewers.
Yes, I didn’t expect that when I decided to use the quote. Maybe I should read it and see…
🙂 necessity of humour…
Mindfulness of mindlessness … drifting between worlds. I love the dreamy nature of this T. 🙂
Thanks for pointing that out Val, it’s like I just woke up from it…
“when I first experienced monsoon weather I thought the rain would make it cool, but it just makes the ‘hot’ wet.”
Oh yes. 🙂
And even the things in your leather wallet are sodden. 😦 🙂
Mould develops on surfaces and nail scissors go rusty
Ah, happy days. 😉
very nice- love the image…
Thanks, this kind of footwear doesn’t last long in these weather conditions…
A few times I’ve left my sandals outside in the hot wet and have had the stray dogs run off with them. I’ve learned to be mindful of my shoes hours after they’ve been away from my feet.
I’ve heard of it happening, also if you have many pairs there (a lot of guests) sometimes you discover the pair you need has been borrowed by someone else going out for a quick errand…
You’re jamming with the ceiling fan was delightful. If you had whining floor boards, too, I can see things might have gotten out of hand… I think that question at the edge of your mind’s reach is the creak of a ‘self’… the nebulous answer the quack of its non-existence… And you, standing in the mindful middle of it all… a blurry who can say what!? 🙂
(Something that should have brought in those sandals… That’s what…)
Your writing is mindful of even my own mindlessness, T. Maybe that’s why I relate…! 🙂
Someone left the cake out in the rain. The experience is one of sleepy unwillingness yet refreshed alertness. Awareness is way out at the edge of mind’s reach – I have to create a concept of direction to get there… I have to ‘think it’. Maybe it’s just the ‘creak’ of the question itself? Questions are like that. Another early morning here in Delhi, good to receive your early evening comment, thanks…
Didn’t hear a ceiling fan in 3 years but you recorded it with words and my mind did a playback. Strange how thoughts can cross two continents and an ocean of time. Thank you.
There’s a dreamlike quality of timelessness about it… an old aeroplane propeller fixed on the ceiling – spinning when you go to sleep and spinning when you wake up.
Love this. I’ve said it again, but again I felt as if I was pulled in the image you pictured. Again I felt as if I was there. Also, this story reminded me of a phrase I’ve once heard about Venice (my hometown): “Venice gives its best under the rain as the stone releases its parfume”. So my question for you is, are you mindful also of the parfumes released by the soil under the monsoon? Can one perceive that as well?
Thanks for your comment, it’s really nice to hear the descriptions are so vivid. I wrote a post last year about the smell of rain, it’s about how it reminds me of something, triggers a memory. The mind scans through the files containing everything that’s known – traces of a familiarity created by this fragrance but connected with what? I can recognise the earth smells, the perfume of stone, as you describe it in Venice… but there’s something indescribable too, a kind of nostalgia of smell.
I suspect the answer often arrives before the question. It may well resemble the quote you cite regarding the twice creation of everything. Lovely post,Tiramit, and thank you for it.
Hi Karen, yes there’s this twice created feeling about things. Maybe something to do with the echo bounce-back of the event taking place before it’s properly located in our time construct.
Sorry about the lateness of this reply, I just noticed it had gone unanswered…