Monday, February 05, 2007

Home And The Universe

So I am supposed to pick up the book lying closest to me, go to page 123 and write down sentences no. 5 to 9, right Atul? And then I am required to write a few words/lines describing what they mean to me.

In my newly-arranged shelf, the book closest, at the moment, to me is The Words -- The Autobiography of Jean-Paul Sartre. The passage goes like this:

At a later time, the transpositions and rotations of triangles reminded me of the gliding figures on the screen. I loved the cinema even in plane geometry. To me, black and white were the supercolors that contained all the others and revealed them only to the initiate; I was thrilled at seeing the invisible. Above all, I liked the incurable muteness of my heroes. But no, they weren't mute, since they knew how to make themselves understood.

Now, what this means to me. Only a madman will seek to derive meaning out of Sartre: some works are like pieces of art encased in the museum. The idea is to look at them and marvel. If you wish to discuss the art, do so at your own risk. But having just shifted to a new house, I can relate quite well to sentence no. 3: To me, black and white were the supercolors that contained all the others and revealed them only to the initiate.

For six whole years, as I described in the previous post, I lived in an apartment that had a hall, a bedroom and a kitchen. A small bathroom was attached to the bedroom, and a small balcony to the kitchen. That's about it. But to me that meant the universe. It had the warmth of the universe. Reclining in the hall and smoking a cigarette, I always felt a part of the moving world, and whenever I wanted, I could escape to my privacy without being isolated.

At an arm's length was Planet Music: almost everything created by R.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar and Salil Choudhury. And if, while still reclining, I stretched my legs apart, one would touch Landmark and another Crossword -- about 200 books in each shelf. At my elbow would be the mobile phone -- my connection to the real world; and in the front, the laptop -- my connection to, who else, you! And if the eyes got tired, I would look at the green coconut leaves poking into the large window. Occasionally a squirrel would lose its way in and quickly retreat.

Today is my fifth day in the new house. No, I don't miss the old house: whatever is gone, is gone. Maybe also because I carried along the portable part of my universe immediately: the internet was the first thing to become functional, even before the movers and packers had delivered the last of the cartons. But still, during the first few days, I felt as if I was staying in a hotel, even though I shifted within the building. Being on the top floor, the noise of the neighbours is cut off. The same street looks strange from the balcony. The windows overlook most trees and houses, rather than having the leaves poke through them. And yesterday, I considered using the mobile phone to call my wife who was in the kitchen: my voice was refusing to carry through the huge hall.

Today, however, the place looks somewhat familiar because I arranged the books. (Arranging the books merits a separate post because there was so much I discovered). And in a few days, I might begin to consider this as my new home. For the lay observer, I have progressed a step further in life, moving from the bachelor's pad to a house that is three times its size.

But the size of your home does not determine the size of your universe. In fact, the two could be inversely proportional. But then, this is obvious only to the initiate.


Anonymous said...

thank you for taking this up! Am glad am not mad @ Only a madman will seek to derive meaning out of Sartre: some works are like pieces of art encased in the museum.


Anonymous said...

Lovely how you related what was written in that portion of the book with whats happening in your own life now.

dharmabum said...

the house the house the house. i mean the old one. had already commented on your previous post. now yet another post on the subject, and am quite ...enamoured, shall we say? :)

"my voice was refusing to carry through the huge hall."

:) can't stop grinning, but is this b'coz u're newly married???

i think i'm definitely mad. am desperately trying to make sense from those sentences - mebbe i'll pick up the book and understand them in the context?

Anonymous said...

will surely visit u sometime. Maybe at ur book launch.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your posts!

By the way, thanks for the Kishore Kumar link in the site!

The Ugly One said...

staring at the ceiling and pouring over the pages could well be things of past. may be, time has come to take care of babies, bish. wishing happiness in the new home

Usha said...

loved this post and wish you all the best in your new home. May it be the site for many happy memories which you will then recount to us in your casual, slow sttle that carries the reader with you!