Friday 24 July 2009

Moving in the dark

Sometimes when I am doing something that I think is absolutely important, the electricity goes off. Now, considering India, this is a pretty regular feature which has almost become as natural as scratching one's back with the dominant hand. The first reaction is to get angry and frown over the timing of the power cuts. The act that was engaging me has to be suspended in mid air as there is no point in continuing it. But then, there is also this thought that forces me to continue doing what I was doing albeit in the dark. If you notice, as soon as the electricity goes off, the first few minutes are the darkest which seem spine chilling but eventually the eye gets used to the darkness and it seems as if we were always conducting ourselves in this fashion. Perhaps somewhere in our genetic make up there is a bit of the caveman days still ticking softly. I try to act that I have always been like this -- in the dark. I even try to imagine myself like a blind individual. The experience is very humbling. Why? One: The power of vision which we have taken for granted is a gift which many have been deprived of. Two: Moving in the dark enables us to hone other faculties, which, again we take for granted. The second factor enables me to relate to animals, which according to us, have five senses (though humans often pride in the fact that they possess 'six' senses). No matter how consciously one tries, the using of the other senses like smell, touch and auditory are largely limited or rather not used at all. We use the sense that we are familiar with and have grown comfortable with. We can take any activity be it courtship, eating, walking, etc. Everything uses the power of vision predominantly.

The modern civilisation with its glitz and glory has rendered many of our faculties scarce and rather dormant. Responding to the simple touch of a dew drop or a cat is slowly fading away apart from existing in a few pockets of the human race. Smelling the freshly made dosa or the aroma from the coconut chutney is taken for granted which is almost subsumed in the din of the hectic mornings. Giving a ear to the gentle rustle of a leaf or trying to locate the source of a sound is becoming something that takes away 'precious time.' To remind myself of the existence of the different faculties, power cuts come in handy which enable me to move in the dark as comfortable as moving in the light for as the wise man said "Light and darkness are two sides of the same coin."

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