Saturday, 27 July 2013

Going to Ceylon (2)

It may sound strange to you but the fact is that sometimes I see people who would like to come to me, walking along this street, but they cannot find my house.
(spoken by the 'Magician' (Gurdjieff ?)from The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin by Ouspensky)

Yes, so I had arrived in Delhi with a certain sense that a fate was a fait accompli. Still you can't just decide your own fate in the way that might be expressed as 'this has to happen so I will decide to make it happen'. This is a 'saved' Calvinist tense that I could not comprehend then and cannot now. I could not simply decide to make my journey home a pilgrimage as a freak of my own, it was not part of my religion sanctioned by God or Guru. No, it was too dangerous to go all that way through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece,Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, England and then finally to Ireland penniless. It amounted to unwarranted testing of my luck and would end in death by the side of the road. I had given my contact address as the American Express office in Delhi to my parents and I knew that they would send some money there or so I thought but I hadn't come right out and asked for it, a double-minded vacillation while entertaining my romantic project.

No money came to the American Express for me and though someone who had befriended me at the Siva Temple near Connaught Circus was giving me meals of chapati and vegetable curry I was sleeping at the railway station. 'Excellent facilities at the Delhi Railway Station' said a fellow sleeper in in the waiting room. While sleeping there I had my recurring dream of being harried by a large dog. Suddenly a figure appeared in a black robe with a spear like a Sikh sadhu. Flinging this at the dog he killed it on the spot. I have never had that dream since.

I was getting the feeling that it was time to move on so the ultimate recourse of the marooned traveler would have to be resorted to – the Embassy.

When I look at the journal again, its violet ink retains its fin de siècle tint, I see that there are a great many references to glyphs and symbols that now baffle me. It is as though I swam in a sea of omens and when I think of it the sea is itself for mariners a force that cannot be controlled and gives rise to the multitude of superstitions that chart it on the subtle plane. It was the alertness of fear and its attempt to control through augury what cannot be so controlled that made me interpretive beyond reason.  I note the remark on the top of a page “I wouldn’t like to tell a psychiatrist any of this”.

In any case I made for the Irish Embassy which was in the region of Golf Links Road at that time.  I probably walked there and I remember that the day was foggy.  This was in late November.  I had the address and I walked up and down but couldn’t find it.  I wasn’t lost or anything like that, the fog wasn’t so bad  but having spent hours looking for it I finally gave up the search.  The strange thing is that two years later I was in Delhi and had reason to go to the Embassy and I walked straight there  It was a  nice villa in a very pucca neighborhood right where I had been looking.

‘This is not meant to be’, I said to myself and turned to make my way back.  An elderly man passing by stopped  and started talking to me.  He turned out to be a devotee of Baba’s and he brought me along with him to a youth club that he was connected with.  He gave me tea there and let me sleep on the floor for the night then in the morning he gave me breakfast and 20 Rupees.  Having changed my mind or accepted that I should not have recourse to the Embassy  the speed at which my fortune altered was, what else, a sign.

1 comment:

skholiast said...

I started a comment, but then it got out of hand.