POSTCARD#280: Delhi: Sunday morning, early, everyone deeply asleep. A dog barks, forming a single sound isolated in the quietness like the frog haiku (the old pond, a frog jumps in: plop!). The echo reflected off the walls, window glass, and metal of parked cars, ting! For a moment I feel like I’m not here, invisible. This is how it’ll be after we move away from here and the house is to be demolished as soon as we leave, the house agent says. A new apartment building will take its place. How does this feel? Hovering at the edge of vision, large men with jack-hammers, iron picks and shovels, restless, waiting for us to go.
There are huge profits to be made renting out apartments in this area. Our old house is wasted real estate. For us, the tenants, of course we suffer the loss. The entire space we inhabit right now will disappear completely, only the Frangipani tree remaining; leaves covered in masonry dust until the monsoon winds blow, then the rains come and wash the leaves clean again. I try to picture it; we move out and the same day demolition begins; roof is off before lunchtime, walls come down in the afternoon, trucks drive away with all the rubble and there’s nothing but empty space… birds fly through.
Long after this, maybe we forget our old house has been deleted from memory files, and try to remember what it was like being here… unsupported imaginings, totally gone, no evidence here of the building we used to call home – nothing to back it up. Is death like this? This is the end; a future un-lived in, present time has no materiality. I see myself here in an almost invisible house, standing on the second floor with vestiges of walls, floor crumbling away, and I’m just floating up there.
The vanishing of it also somehow associated with darkness, I can’t see anything; for example, entering a darkened room, and have to search for the light switch at the edge of the door by practiced palm and fingertip reaching over the cool wall until it gets to the switch click! In the other rooms it’s more difficult to find the switch and I’m often stuck there groping in the darkness but no light switch to be found. I close my eyes as if that might help, trying again and again. How can this be? Am I comfortable with the thought I don’t know, and knowing I don’t know? Yes, it was there, but it’s not there now.
No resting place, all is movement, a composition of joined-up pieces which fit together like a jigsaw puzzle makes a picture, then broken up into pieces and back in the box, lid closed. Next time it’s opened and put together, a different picture appears and different players. Transition of moving parts everything has changed again. Not ‘here’ for long enough to say much, just passing through. Sorry, can’t stay, got to go now. But wait, not yet… we’re here until the end of September. This short time we’re in right now is only one moment in countless tiny instances, citta moments, and in larger chunks of time, a sequence of images form movement like the ‘stills’ creating continuity in the old 35 mm celluloid film shown in the cinema, the Moving Picture Show.
annicam: all of conditioned existence, without exception, is “transient, evanescent, inconstant”. All temporal things, whether material or mental, are compounded objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction.
Thank you for this excellent meditation. So much more there than meets the eye. But that’s okay because, of course, the eye is a temporary phenomenon but wisdom will outlive it to shine into other sets of eyes, infinitely.
Hey, good to meet you here! This is it exactly, temporary phenomena as infinite – the whole thing is a metaphor…
Change is constant. But we notice the big changes. Yes, a good meditation. Inspiring.
Some changes are so big, they result in altered states, seldom more than once…
🙂 Very interesting stuff!
When self was flushed down the toilet (for the first and last time) temporality went down too!
Thanks Tom, it’s about breaking free of the construct for long enough to see how everything works, and back again before schizoid personality disorder sets in. Sometimes I’m glad there is the stability found in cause/effect and a self most people believe in (as if it were a religion).
Enjoyed your thoughts here.
Everything is always flowing, changing, renewing either in small or larger, more noticeable ways. Letting go and accepting are so challenging to the human mind! ❤
Thanks Eliza, formation and transformation down to the smallest mind moment even as we speak. So we ride with it – generosity of letting go…
A wonderful post Tiramit! The first thing I noticed was how the loss of your headache has in some way freed your writing. You write quite beautifully and I loved the whole story in this post – in my simple terms it’s the story of ‘Nothing is forever’ Your example of a jig-saw puzzle gradually created and then broken up is perfect. I often think about the house we live in, isolated on a wooded hillside. After we had lived here for a while I found out that the previous owner (who built the house and retired here) was an aircraft engineer (as is my husband). They obviously loved nature judging by the bird table and the bat boxes, as we do, and we’ve kept many things they built because we felt a strong connection to them. They lived here until they died, and I feel we’re kind of carrying their torch, which may sound silly! Maybe one day when we’re gone someone will bulldoze the place down, but maybe history will repeat itself and a similar couple will buy it and carry on! 🙂
Hey Jude, What an interesting parallel! The house in it’s alone position, the main room as a stage and the actors appear. They change but the story is the same or strangely similar – it would make a good Stephen King-like mystery story. Then in the end it’s demolished, a new house rises from the ashes and new actors appear. The story that arises is different but oddly similar… and so on.
Yes I’m really almost pain-free at the moment, energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to take on projects I’d not have had the incentive to do when the headache was there. It’s also because we’re leaving India after nearly seven years, something entirely new begins…
I’ll think about that story idea! Good luck with your new direction, and keep us updated! 😘
And I’ll think of you there in the house on wooded hillside with a retired aircraft engineer, bird tables and bat boxes. My new direction will hold up for maybe another month, then back to Bangkok for another tweak of the nerve. So far, so good…
With you all the way! 🙆
Love your opening paragraph Tiramit, you’ve swept me into your footprints.
Thanks David, I figured the beginning needs to be an attention grab so that the reader has patience enough to find a way through the fairly not-easy to follow story line idea, if they don’t know the background…