Wednesday, 21 September 2011


September 21st.

We (Georgia and I) left Athens on August 21st, and are due to return on October 21st.
This is the half-way mark. 

Appropriately enough, it is also the Equinox. This is the day that in my mind heralds the end of Summer and ushers in the dreaded Winter. As of tomorrow, each day will be shorter than the one before and true to my nature, I will wane right along with the daylight. What can I say? I have suspected for a long time now that I may be part-bear.

I find myself torn between the longing to return to my own turf, my family and friends, Bafos and Karamouzakis (my loving feline concubines), my partners in music, my work, my own hours and my own bed (in my new and practically yet unlived-in home) and the entirely surprising desire to stay.

Stay? Where? Surely, not here here.
What have I seen of this wondrous strange land that would create such a pull?
Nothing. Three blocks worth of street at Green Park. The route to and from Gautam Nagar. Part of a gigantic western-type shopping mall that goes by the improbable sobriquet of "Select CityWalk".

And yet!

I think that what I am really finding so enchanting is that, unbelievably (considering the millennia of History that have unfolded on this soil), the overwhelming sensation that reverberates in every aspect of this place, is one of promise. Of things to come. Of things unborn. Of potential. 

I don't consider myself to be a mindless creature. Not unintelligent, still, I primarily  perceive the world at large with my gut. Invariably I will gather as much data about a given topic as I can. But ultimately, I will fly by the seat of my pants. Play it by ear.
Against all reasoning, more than about the Past, more than about the Present, this feels like it's about the Future.

But then again, had I not been told that this is the land of Paradox?
Had I not read the textbook tales of slums next to unfathomable wealth? Of illiteracy and scientific cutting edge avant-garde? Of filthy cities and virgin nature? Of gaudiness and breathtaking artistic expression?

Still, what I sense goes farther, much much farther than any of these (even though they seem  to hold perfectly true).

For instance: Supposedly, this is meant to be the epitome of, as James Brown put it in his inimitable manner, A Man's Man's Man's World.

And yet, the energy here is unmistakeably female. In the sense that it is nurturing. It feels like a womb.It feels like a fluvial delta or basin, rich with sediment. I mean, just take a look at the geographical map, for crying out loud! It even looks like a womb! Interestingly enough, the Greek word for pelvis (wherein the womb) and basin, is one and the same: λεκάνη [lekáni].

One feels safe here. Protected. Not by virtue of might, but by virtue, alone. 
While sitting with a slumbering child's cheek resting on your lap, you might make the assumption that you are its guardian. But if you think about it, you will realize that the assumption is false. It is you who are kept safe by the child's presence, alone. This is how I feel here in India.

I realize I must sound like I'm "not all there" but I know what I am sensing and anyone who knows me, will tell you I'm not prone to flighty metaphysics. 

This sentiment is equally manifest in the people I have encountered here. The same nurturing smile. The authentic kind: their smiles reside in their eyes, not their mouths. Again, I had been told of the Indian people's politeness. "Politeness" is a notion that never sat comfortably with me. It leaves me with an after-taste of pretence (as indeed does my other pet peeve: "nice"). I have not found the Indian people to be in the least bit "polite". Or "nice". I have found them to be gentle, especially when verbal communication is difficult. Supposedly famous for their lack of display, emotion is definitely palpable, barely contained in skin. Gentle and caring. Attentive and unassuming. And delightfully, disarmingly, liberatingly funny. 

In the meantime, the atmosphere permeating the various communication channels with my home town is becoming increasingly alarming. Angst. Fear. Unrest. Some have gone as far as saying "you will not be returning to the same country you left behind". It's not meant as a good thing. 

My particular situation seems precarious to say the least. The "season" is almost upon us, yet I haven't the faintest clue as to where, how and under what circumstances I will (will I?) be engaging in my profession.

Seems to me, that the best thing to do is adopt the local attitude to all things temporal, that is to ignore them.

After all, this is the half way mark.

So I'll leave it at that, for now.

Before I surrender to this Equinox though, I will venture two predictions:

There will be tears at both ends of our journey back to Athens.

I will be returning to this blessed land.


Stratos Bacalis said...

their gentleness is a thing that comes through even their Bollywood films! I want to visit India too!

Eva said...

Strato, you must! I am sure you will be as spellbound as I :)