Wednesday, March 10, 2010

impressions of a delhi afternoon whilst stuck in a long ride - a metaphor for life.

Mercifully I am spared the daily commute that most people have to make from home to their work space as my studio is only a short while from home, often I walk the distance which is just fine by me as I am a distracted soul who walks in her own thoughts most of the time, so often people and places are merely backdrop for my thoughts, its easier then if the setting is familiar, more space for thoughts, no intrusion of mindspace.

However on those rare days when I have to step out into this crazy crawl of traffic in this amazing city, i can't decide if i am a vouyer or a tourist but today after staying in this city for over two years now, not as a traveller, I had a moment of epiphany; I realized that so much of me is like this amazing, amazing city. This city which I put in as mine on innumerable forms; this city which is still not home. She witholds from me as I do; she gives me as I give to others, at times with an open heart and at times with gruding resentment. Just as it is littered with too many cars and people, so is often my mind with thoughts. Bottlenecks and landfills, crows and kids scavenging for the best bits though rubbish and refuse. Is that not me, looking for pieces of lost gold in the dark, musty corners of my mind.

Stuck in a traffic listening to the RJ cheering me up about it being a Tuesday and suddenly on the horizon I spot the tall minaret of the Qutub, quiet and majestic amidst construction, chaos and clutter. Is there not a sense of us, somewhere deep down inside, an anchoring thought which holds us back when we teether too close to the precipice? Been there, done that my child, softly whisper the ancient ghosts of this city. I am its new avatar. A million I's; a million cliches, each a throbbing wound. Constant new improvemnts, flyovers, make-overs and half-baked schemes are they not me somewhere, somewhere struggling to find myself, somewhere struggling to become the woman i dreamt of once?

Charlatans and fakirs roam this city as new deals are brokered all over; opportunities are sought, the buzz is thick, the spiel never-ending, oh this is definitely a city swarming thick with dreams.... the buzz mightier than mosquitoes at dusk. This is me, born years ago and today back, claiming it and still unsure if its home. I see myself in restoration schemes, in city projects; i see myself in the crazy guy in tatters staring at the gate, not begging for alms. I see pieces of myself reflected all around me as in the broken shards of a mirror. I see it in the beauty around me. I see it in the neglect. The cityscape changes every few kilometers. The address marks your station in life but it is fluid.

A fat man crossed the road in a dainty run, arms stuck to his side, pinky sticking out. A traditionally dressed middle aged woman leisurely rode past on an ageing scooter, bun and bindi in place. A slick gentleman in a fancy car never even looked up even once, reading up on his agreement i guess before he signs the merger. A Japanese woman recording the traffic jam, on her neat camcorder; a nun out for some shopping; the child on the asphalt, fleeting impressions ; each scene contains a story, a story too long, oft repeated, barely remembered but sadder still with no listeners. The play of life is same regardless of address, the flavor albeit hits it mark and sucks you in.

Spring is bursting all over the city, like barely contained lust. Its only a few more lovely days before the sun scorches out the skies and then we will have the Indian summer laying itself out prone and parched for the monsoons to have its way with her. Its a continum of hope and anguish of waiting and wanting.

In it and by it, I discover aspects of self in my recognition of those aspects in the people around me. I am not seperate. I am a part of this, good and bad. a speck. a tiny flutter of the butterfly. a mood of my maker. facades and apperances drop their veil and I am stunned at the fragility of egos, at the vulnerability of the grandness of our lives. If ugliness of small minds is a common denominatior than the largesse of the big blue sky is a singular shroud.

I am you my brother. You are me my sister. The pain that isolates us is the the thread that binds us. Without me your story is untold and without you I don't have a story.

6 comments:

C.J.Duffy said...

I know precisely how you feel as I feel the same way about London.

gulnaz said...

Thanks CJ! these big cities!!! i have spent most of my life in a much smaller town...

Pal Sin said...

beautiful concluding lines.. love it!

gulnaz said...

thanks Pal!! :))

reshma said...

Beautiful piece of writing ! loved the metaphor

gulnaz said...

thanks Reshma :))