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]
Don’t sweat it tiramit. They evolved to have their fruit picked. It’s how they reproduce. Having an orange plucked must be their equivalent of orgasm.
There. Don’t you feel much better about that orange juice running down your chin?
Nice Spira quote, BTW. I might nick it for an upcoming post on mind-brain monism.
Thanks, yes I do feel better after that…
It’s something they politely acknowledge and things left unsaid among the aunties and mothers and daughters in the village, so that’s how I thought I’d play it. But yes, thanks – it puts a whole new perspective on things.
Great closing quote.
Glad you liked it – like most things, it’s not a noun it’s a verb…
Wonderful writing, a verbal snapshot into your life, seemingly very different from mine, yet very familiar. We prepare our home of decades for repainting before selling, and much must be donated or discarded, or packed to move. The idea of a fresh start with less burdensome belongings beckons, but getting there is not so simple. I say, I strive to be free from attachment, and see my spouse as a clinger. Then he says, let’s give away that candlestick, and I say, but it was a gift! Oy. I have too many such gifts. Best to you in your new home, my powerful positive example that you are!
Thank you Sonnische, I suppose things here are different. I remember how it was when we were in Europe, but really, we’re all in different circumstances; sensory awareness, perception… the world is how you perceive it. We look into each other’s lives as in ‘a verbal snapshot’, a window opens into another realm. I’ve noticed I’ve been attached so much to things that it’s like they’re pulled from my grasp by the situation itself; no choice – we have moved so many times, I can’t count. Thanks again for your good wishes