The diary of contradictions
You can only be as mad. After a point, you tip over. And become really mad. I’m in Delhi on a summer day. It’s 45 degrees celcius but I’m carrying a minus 5 degree sleeping bag along with my rucksack. That’s because I’ve returned from Spiti which goes till minus five in the summers. Both these places are North India. That’s this country for you. Kaza, the capital of Spiti is quickly urbanising. The fact that it is at 3600m above sea level doesn’t mean anything to capitalism.
Back in upper Kinnaur, just before Spiti if you’re going from Shimla, I’m staying with a local family in the village Chulling. There’s only one bus that comes in and one bus that goes out of this village everyday. It’s like a world 50 to 60 years ago. The locals tend to their animals and live life. There is beauty, there is contentment, there are quarrels, there are thefts, human condition is the same but the means are of a different era. There is hardly anyone in sight and there is space but there still creeps in a feeling of insecurity. Even more so sometimes because the world is that much smaller. There are only 100 people in your world (your village) and there’s no place else you can think of going to.
Fast forward two days and I’m in Delhi. In Paharganj. There’s a struggle for life. There are people. Everywhere. On the station, on the roads, in hotels, on the minds. Some seem happy, some seem free, some seem caged, some seem dead. The human condition is same. Insecurities and fear. Why do I come here? Every time? What’s the lure of Paharganj? The stench and the dirt, the sweat and the heat? Amidst all this as well, there is an opening. Some opening of the heart, the rawness is genuine. Everything is out there in the open. That is the beauty, there is no pretence. There can be no pretence when living is a struggle. The big mansions and even the so called middle class can afford pretence but the poverty of Paharganj is fertile. Its heart breathes. Even though the air is putrid. Other hearts hardly breathe. They purify all the air but if you don’t breathe, what’s the point?
While back in Spiti, the beauty is very apparent. There’s beautiful visuals and sounds all around, it’s hard to miss for an outsider. The calm is all pervading. The nature is so powerful, it quietens everything, sometimes the mind too. But give it a few days, and the questions arise. The same ones. Even a small village can feel crowded. The human condition is the same.
I was in a better state. Everything was joy, the happiness and the sadness. It was a constant state of being. But then the turbulence came. Things start to shake. It is very easy to tremble while walking on a tight rope. And once you tremble, the trepidations of life return They grip you with a vengeance. That is happening now. You know it’s a cycle, like a wave it comes and goes. But this time, the disconnect is strong. Things are not coming together, the universe is not feeling one. There is this ‘I’ which is standing alone. It is crying. It wants to be carried and become united but something is stopping the progress. The flower is not blooming. When will it happen? How will it happen? The struggle is unbearable sometimes. You know it’ll subside. The answer is not asking the question since you already know the answer but the question is like an itch. Only experience can quench it. The experience has to come, it comes on its own. You can only be open, completely open. But one does not know how! There’s only a signal. Too much mysticism and allegory but the belief is strong, the faith is strong, the thirst is strong.
Spiti or Delhi, the urge must be urgent. But nothing is in your control. You’re doing things again and again. There were certain lessons I already learnt but I am learning them again. Why am I going to Paharganj again? Why am I self inflicting suffering again? Why? Something inside knows why but it is not revealing itself. The quest is in the wait. The wait must also be urgent. Just writing this is a release, atlas it feels like. Would reading this also bring about the same? You can only float it out in the universe. For all of us to know. At our own times.