The illusion

(This intuitive sense of self is an effortless and fundamental human experience. But it is nothing more than an elaborate illusion. Under scrutiny, many common-sense beliefs about selfhood begin to unravel. Some thinkers even go as far as claiming that there is no such thing as the self.)


Our everyday illusion begins to grow as the sun ripens to a fruit in the tree hanging in glory for its falling moment. Our shirt sticks to the body of illusion, our self growing out of a banana fiber made of words of purported meaning.

Fiber grows transparent as the sun grows making the body a silhouette by dusk. And silhouettes disappear as sketch outlines bodies experience before the sun sets.

Bodies are mind’s constructs in yesterday. Yesterdays are body’s constructs in mind, re-assembled , as we grow out of words and get up and grow, away from the sun like naked holy men who came to the river from the snow hills, hanging their selves.

Expecting the visitor that never comes

(There too, as everywhere, I sometimes expected the Visitor who never comes. The Vishnu Purana says, ‘The house-holder is to remain at eventide in his courtyard as long as it takes to milk a cow, or longer if he pleases, to await the arrival of a guest.’ I often performed this duty of hospitality, waited long enough to milk a whole herd of cows, but did not see the man approaching from the town.

-Thoreau’s Walden)

We have burst upon Thoreau’s solitude when no visitor arrives in the eventide from all those towns in the distant haze as they sit in their prime , beyond fields.

All the while, milking of cow takes place. The cows are a solitude to themselves before their milk flows to morning coffee .Their feet shuffle in slush, their eyes vacant. Only a tiny moon hangs above their tin roof .

Solitude is not away from body’s music, more in the windy creak of dead wood as strange words spring in a white space from the vast wild wastes of our nights. We sit alone, away from milking cows linking their remote existence to solitude.

Loneliness in the city

“Laing examines the particular, pervasive form of loneliness in the eye of a city aswirl with humanity:

Imagine standing by a window at night, on the sixth or seventeenth or forty-third floor of a building. The city reveals itself as a set of cells, a hundred thousand windows, some darkened and some flooded with green or white or golden light. Inside, strangers swim to and fro, attending to the business of their private hours. You can see them, but you can’t reach them, and so this commonplace urban phenomenon, available in any city of the world on any night, conveys to even the most social a tremor of loneliness, its uneasy combination of separation and exposure.

You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people. One might think this state was antithetical to urban living, to the massed presence of other human beings, and yet mere physical proximity is not enough to dispel a sense of internal isolation. It’s possible – easy, even – to feel desolate and unfrequented in oneself while living cheek by jowl with others. Cities can be lonely places, and in admitting this we see that loneliness doesn’t necessarily require physical solitude, but rather an absence or paucity of connection, closeness, kinship: an inability, for one reason or another, to find as much intimacy as is desired. Unhappy, as the dictionary has it, as a result of being without the companionship of others. Hardly any wonder, then, that it can reach its apotheosis in a crowd.”

From Brainpickings by Mary Popova

How true! In the busy city of Hong Kong I had experienced this ,standing on the twentieth floor balcony of a skyscraper. You were hemmed in by a number of high-rise buildings with their lighted windows . You could see the people inside “swim” through the light like luminous little fish in an aquarium. Each window was an aquarium of many hues and the people swam through their light in the tiny spaces, sometimes reaching the dead end of the glass wall and taking quick about turns.

You see their tangible presences but cannot reach out to them. What a splendid isolation, when you feel so alone in the midst of thousands of people. around you.

The amusing thing is that even after people descend from their glass houses on to the streets ,you still see them walk ,staring at each other from glassy eyes as if they are continuing their swim in the lighted windows.