Saturday, September 25, 2021

Unintegrated experiences - a thin awareness

This dawn I woke to the sound of near pounding rain. It is of course a matter of concern that an elder member in the neighbourhood chose to record the accompanying sounds from terra firma on video format. Not that we can deny him the pleasure. But if he enquires if someone’s making that sound in human form? A pitiful sadness in me for the aged man who cannot yet recognise croaking frogs of the season from snores of fellow humans.

22 degrees C. The wisp of the Bengaluru morning breeze. That’s what we pine for. I cleared the dry dishes to their respective shelves. Gin and tonic weather for those with the common cold, I thought. And where does gin come from?  The juniper ‘pine’ tree! As I walked indoors, I reminisced the use of the word ‘brisk’ too. Not long ago, between Flagstaff and Phoenix in Arizona, a school music teacher mentioned her elation for the weather at a scenic stopover. “This is the brisk weather we love here” she said to a look of wonderment in me. I had never heard the word used in conjunction with the weather. Quite the cue for her fingers on a catchy tune she would teach her students I imagined!

After making myself a lemon water mix with ginger, cinnamon and shreds of apple margins, I recalled the contrasting sunrise of the morning the day before. 

It looked like the clouds were giving way today too. So, I went on to the balcony to see the gerbera bloom, facing the sun like Helen Keller’s fierce optimism would.

I made myself a cup of oats. After adding a sprinkle of muesli, it was apt for breakfast. To complement the dietary fibre, I ate a small palayan thodan variety plantain. Not to let go the remainder of the apple half, whose margins were crushed into the morning lemon squeeze. I heard the newspaper thud that the delivery boy sounded outside the door. That did not move me enough to cling to the details the headlines would canopy for any traveling leader in politics or the contra-indications of the roads meant for city commutes. I left it to the pleasure of the morning maid to pick up. She, who cleans the floors and windows of the house has developed a fetish to pick up the newspaper and bring it into the house.

No sooner than she entered to commence her cleanse, I asked, “What was the rain like yesterday?” She promptly responded “Very heavy. Our house was leaking”. My wife then asked, “so is that why you needed the old plastic cover we were using?” “Yes, but I have not used it yet. I have kept it safely”.

I was even more curious “Is it because you need someone to climb atop the house?” “My youngest son does that for me”, she responded.

It did not seem like they were using the latest cover for protection from the rain. Saving for a rainy day, takes a literal and sombre tone. The briskness of the weather gave way to the uncertain living conditions. It did not please me a bit to know what other manner of burden the lady traversed to reach our home. She would have to walk about 50 to 100 metres parallel to an apartment complex which hosted 16 COVID cases. We are glad she completed two weeks since her second vaccination shot.

Within minutes she emptied the tabletop to clean the glass that collects the fine dust of construction strafing in from about 150 metres from our window. As she completed her cleanse, we got news of another 8 cases of COVID-19 from the apartment complex across our main road.

Amid the pleasures to the eyes, the palate and the privileges of being served, I am left with the reality of dolour. 

One is awakened not by thieves of the night, but by rain water leakage. Sleep lost in nature to nature. 

Others battle the pandemic. The taboos on unexpressed realities and pains unshared linger as unintegrated experiences. A pandemic of such trauma is small change, when the ones experiencing the discomfort are also carrying the weight of the world with them. 

One among the thousand funeral experiences of people whom we knew differently before, and have died to in the moment. As they flicker their realities and then withdraw into a necessary darkness for our growth. They were once like that. And this is now. Our choice. Do we integrate the light, the darkness and the versions of bandwidth or spectrum between in ways that honour their existence?