I. silence fills space and into me the noiseless hum embraces time on all its faces inside time he pierces my blood- stream shards of mirrors reflect holes within holes within mirrors and full smiles echo across flickering eyes watching blood move to mehndi a finger tip whirls it into Rekha’s scalp and unseen cries of the peacock at Sughad slip between the humming cracks and one thought rises
Ahmedabad is my context. For four days, I thought my reality was there, and that the rest of my life’s experiences have just been out of context.
As I sprawled on the grass face down on Friday night after the silent dinner, mosquitoes ate me alive. But, for once, the keyword in that phrase was alive. I couldn’t embrace every inch of the ground just as I couldn’t fix the world’s problems, but still, the connection of skin to soil, human to world gave me hope.
Here the heat didn’t cling to me; it embraced me. No air conditioning swatted away that embrace, but fans creaked, pushing air gently. My feet remained bare, the doors remained open. Walls were the only distinction between inside and outside. A cup dove into a bucket of cold water every day and cleansed my hands first, then my body. And people smiled with their eyes.
And in the dark that night, when we sat in a circle on the lawn, seeing only silhouettes, I imagined in my mind the people around me. Leaves on which words like empathy, give, and love were written were left next to our plates for each of us to discover during the silent dinner. Mine was Truth. As we each spoke our thoughts about our word, I remembered my experiences at the Gandhi ashram. I had especially connected to the idea of needing to speak the truth.
I realized in Ahmedabad that the truth is an active force, and I think it’s the way that everybody associated with Manav Sadhna strives to be—truthful. Acting genuinely in relation to what is on the inside is a moral obligation for me, and in order to do so, I must express what I feel. I have this newfound sense of duty to give and to be an active citizen of the world. And it’s unfair to ignore the responsibility I have in my privilege.
Yet, knowing all this, I have lapsed into passivity in Mumbai just as I suspected I would. There is toilet paper and there is a TV and there are marble floors. I am comfortable here, and I am slipping into closed eyes. But I don’t know how to open them. How do I remember this context or explain it to anyone else? How can I be at Andover among people who have such privilege and choose, oftentimes passively, to ignore their responsibility to use it?
black on black backs opening full hearts which receive minds blank mosquitoes nibble, suck what they can but take nothing the air gives and gives pushes until we are swallowed until blank bodies are black bodies and yet, I am seen in the dark