POSTCARD #196: DELHI: Skating along with our trolleys on the smooth floors of airport halls and passageways, all these people coming and going. That feeling of familiarity, that déjà vu… I become you, he, she or it, we, you, they. We’ve been away and on our way back, or we’ve gone away and gone is gone… surrender your documents to the immigration officer, passport examined for as long as it takes the facial recognition system to get a hit. Passport stamped thump and through to the other side. Take out computer, remove your watch, phone, belt, and shoes and stand up on the box for a full body search. Wow! By the time we’re done and getting dressed again I feel like I’m a member of the family.
The relief from officialdom, we’re through at last, and welcome to the duty-free shopping mall extravaganza. Gold, diamonds and good-looking people; Hollywood celebrities posing as themselves wearing a watch or a necklace that costs a small fortune. There’s that familiarity, I look closely, but can’t remember the name, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio? Trying to remember who is who, like this, and thus the idea is beginning to rise to the surface that I could get that watch and be like them, posing as myself. The three-quarter turn, they smile at me, comfortable with themselves, don’t seem to suffer from that great yawning chasm of emptiness situated in the center of everything – they become all I want to see, in my seeing of them: confident, secure happy and yes, this is how it should be….
With just the right amount of energy required to wrench myself free, the polished steel of the purchasing trap snaps shut on itself, and the ricocheted impact propels the escapee forwards in the direction we all seem to be heading anyway. You can’t miss it, the massive head sculpture in the departures hall – dramatic indeed (see photo above). I’ve walked around it a few times looking for an information plate explaining what it’s a sculpture of – the Buddha or a monument to the exaltation of self? It looks feminine, maybe somebody reading this can tell me. No time, no time. Into the queue, on to the aircraft, fasten your seatbelts, and we’re catapulted up in the air for a 3-hour flight. The hydraulics of retracting landing gear is such a reassuring sound, and audible click as it locks into place. We’re part of the sky and clouds, just this is enough.
Incalculable is the beginning of this faring on. The earliest point is not revealed of the running on, faring on, of beings cloaked in ignorance, tied to craving [Saɱyutta-Nikāya, Nidāna-vaggo]