POSTCARD #162: New Delhi: November in North India is the best time. The heat has gone and our orange tree is heavy with fruit. When the first basketful is picked we have to keep it with loving kindness for a few days in a place that’s separate from the tree. This is to allow the tree to forget about its lost fruit. Our curious seasonal change is like a brief springtime that occurs as we’re heading towards winter. It’s suddenly pleasantly warm like an early English summer, plants flower, and the bougainvillea on the roof terrace (Jiab calls them ‘bookend-villas’) transforming with more and more new blossoms.
I go up to the roof terrace and the yoghurt bowl is sitting on the table in the shade because the kitchen is too cold for it now – yoghurt is made without any artificial warmth, just room temperature itself. The milk is boiled, allowed to cool to about 45°C (113°F). The bacterial culture is added, and the warm temperature has to be maintained for 4 to 7 hours. I sit at the table next to the small bowl, feeling I ought to be quiet as this liquid is changing its form, bacteria active, fermentation. It needs some respect and privacy… I shall not look at it. Maybe it’ll work, maybe not, because after November it’s too cold for yoghurt – except that a Japanese friend said she’d managed to make it by placing the bowl on the Wi-Fi router (horizontal type), covered with a plastic box all night, and ready in the morning. Interesting idea, yoghurt made with Internet signal.
As it happens, seasonal change for us coincides with a change in accommodation. We’re moving to a different part of Delhi. It happens once every three or four years, living in rented houses for intervals of time, watching the paint slowly peeling off in the heat and letting it all be as it is. No agitation about anything that needs fixing because, just at the edge of vision, household items are ready for the next move, poised… the choreography of the dance step/transfiguration, the great leap, percussive scatter of objects landing. Wake up in somebody else’s house with all your own things looking out of context… everything that’s old has been forgotten in the confrontation with the new, that’s not yet been gotten used to. Perception takes it all in, files it away in a new folder, a new reference point: ‘this’ is what we shall call reality for now… before that happens there’s the transition, looking for things:
‘Where’s the coffee filter cone?’
‘In the box.’
‘The one in the room.’
sound of footsteps walking off in search of it…
The separate self is not an entity; it is an activity: the activity of thinking and feeling that our essential nature of pure Awareness shares the limits and the destiny of the body and mind. [Rupert Spira]