Monday, July 07, 2008

Groundhog Life

Repetition—the implement to turn the hands of time. The old man’s utterances and actions prosper in iteration. In a distinctly personal manner, he orchestrates quotidian happenings. Putting the electronic shaver to his skin, first thing in the morning. Driving to the tender coconut vendor after lunch. Paying him the exact change. Folding the newspaper in exactly the same way. Watching the Great Indian Laughter Challenge every evening. Opening the doors for perfectly expected mirth at the appointed hour.

Everything in order and everyone as expected. The maid who is always faced with the same enquiry: did she buy bread and milk? did she mop the bedroom floor? The gatekeeper who is always asked if the car had been given a wash. The bhaajiwala who is queried about the freshness of vegetables.

Immersion in simple, continual needs.

Empty, urgent, itchy needs. The machinery attending to needs chugging along like clockwork. A clockwork orang. To whom is known all the hues contained in the portrait of life. No sudden realizations, no discoveries; only a quiet manner of putting brush to canvas.

Engrossment in tasks that do not pose dilemmas. Preoccupation with positively conditioned reactions. Life as the inversion of childhood. Life as the answer to the perfunctory ‘How do you do?’