mardi 13 janvier 2009

Lonely Roads in an Indian Reservation


Lonely Roads, Bright Sun and a Blue Sky

UmonHon Indian Reservation 13th January 2009

A very sound sleep, after the trouble getting home through 50 km winds playing ballet with the snow, cold, immeasurably cold, cold that enters with your breath into the depths of your soul. The house is warm, the thermostat is set at 72 F (about 19 C), has a cocoon like feeling, like a thief I look out through the glass windows, at the wind outside, snow swirling, the trees protecting their naked limbs with some inner strength. This morning, calm had descended, an absolute silence, like the one you feel after a hurricane had passed through. No wind. The sun is up and bright and the blue skies are just interrupted here and there with wisps of clouds...

Today is Tuesday; last Tuesday had left Pondicherry where people have no memories of snow but of Tsunami? Ah well... it is a fair exchange I suppose. Kovalam, Triplicane, Guindy, Raja Annamalai nagar sonorous Dravidian names, an extremely courteous driver who had lost a finger in an industrial accident thirty years ago, Balu by name and soon it was Air France and a load of coolies headed to the west.

A cup of coffee from Baracoa sweetened with raw sugar from Baracoa. Four layers of clothes, two scarves, sunglasses, walking like a scarecrow in the deep snow in front of the house, just a few meters to the car. Thank god for good cars they rent... starts with no problem but moving the car is another story. The tyres have stuck to the ground, and bit of forward and reverse motions, the car is able to move, slide would be a better word, and then we are off, like the dinghy on Kerala backwaters...

I noticed one thing. There was not a single person on the road. The school next door was deserted, normally there is some moment or other this time of the morning, children going to school, someone or other struggling to get to work, but absolute silence in this village of the Indians. Got to the main road, ditto, not a soul, no cars, no sound... the sun glistening on the surface of the road now covered with ice and snow... reflecting on thesunglasses..

The incongruity of all these was that I was listening to BBC World Services on the Satellite radio in the car. A staid British accent comes over discussing internet business strategies, it felt like either he or I was in another planet and this dissociation with nature and nurture, what has been here for thousands of years and what is to come...

I looked at the sky, remembered the Indian patient asking me, everything good in life is fee, doctor, you just have to look around for it... I enjoyed the changing hues of the blue skies, with cotton clouds standing as silent as the guards at Buckingham palace.

It was just me in this heated car, bundled up, listening to BBC , sliding along the  lonely road over the hills trying not to sway too far from the centre of the road, lest I end up in the ditch.

Suddenly a visitor. A deer, was not an adult one, looked like a little one, not a baby, jumped from the hills and crossed the road in front of me, paying no attention to me, as if it had an appointment to keep with its mother. My spirits immediately rose, here is a picture perfect cameo of this world of our ancestors: lonely road, snow on the ground, blue skies, bright sun, nothing man made to be seen... except the road.

I was a little puzzled as I pulled into the Clinic grounds, once again no cars, no one milling around, no patients in a hurry to get in there for attention.. Same inside the clinic. I went to the kitchen which was busy preparing the meals for lunch time, my friend was there. What happened, I asked her? Don’t you watch TV? They announced the late start of offices and schools and clinics today on TV, so no one would be here for another hour or two.

So I use this opportunity to write about my little journey this morning. And the tranquility it gave me.

I thought of M in Paris and all my other friends in Malaysia, Japan, Cambodia, Cuba etc etc; and I thanked the Indians for giving me this opportunity to enjoy their earth without causing too much damage with my presence.

Have a good day /evening wherever you are, my dear friends, lovers and other sweeties, little butterflies that make my heart flutter