POSTCARD #169: New Delhi: Sitting at a table in the mall, the frothy cup of coffee positioned in its saucer with spoon lying there dutifully present. The splintered present time, persistent headache dulled by meds… ‘comfortably numb’, watching people go by, hearing snatches of conversations, fragments of stories, and I never see them again; actions that will forever remain unfinished. There’s too much happening, I’d like to be content with just the movement of it, like a river rushing by, the awareness of the thinking process goes on by itself; I’m kinda flying away from it; looking back when something catches the attention and a glance to see what that could be. Not having any inclination to have it be different than what it is – not wishing it were something else. Just being open, a kind of alertness about the sensory function, face turns here and there, eyes take things in, ears hear the music track drifting in and out. Colours, lights, and things are sort of pink… childlike. It’s a state of awake receptivity, a curiosity about pieces of small events taking place. What’s this? What’s that?
Jiab comes back from having her nails done, arms extended and hands held out with fingers straight and separated from each other because the nail varnish isn’t dry yet; has a startled look, cartoon-like. In my whole life I’ve never had my nails varnished, maybe I should. She holds her bag by the tip of the thumb – doesn’t want to smear the still-wet surfaces. Wants me to take out her things, pull back the chair a bit, she can’t touch anything… open her bag, get her iPad out please, thanks and she’ll have cappuccino, pain chocolat. So I go tell the waiter.
We’re moving house, and I don’t know what to think about it except I suppose I’m glad we’re leaving because the guy next door just bought his son a drum kit: brrrr-kaboom-crash! He practices in the evenings and weekends. But the whole thing is slightly complicated by the fact I’ll not be there when the move takes place; Swissair Flight to Zurich departs 2 o’clock in the morning on Thursday November 19. I return November 30 and by then we’ll be in the new place. Sad to think the birds surrounding the old house will go on chirping in the small twigs of tree branches and I’ll not be there listening near the windows, or lying on the sofa surrounded by the sound of it in the early morning. The sofa will be gone, silhouettes on the walls where pictures used to hang, empty rooms. The whole accumulation of what we were there dismantled and removed. Birdsong enters the empty rooms echoes off the bare walls and cold marble floor.
‘… we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here.’ [Psalm 103, 14-16]