Thursday, June 20, 2013

A spot of philosophy is something we all hate to digest. It strikes us as medicine fit to be discarded; or, like old, yellowed linen meant to be stuffed in those boxes hidden in cupboards that never see the sun. Nevertheless, self-made philosophical thoughts, those nuggets of pure, unadulterated wisdom that come to you on certain contemplative mornings/nights when the earth with all its noises seems to be far behind, are little gems we all cherish. Tonight is one such contemplative nighttime for me.

Tonight, as I sit in my bed listening to the three-speared ceiling fan make its customary din, I feel relieved. Having switched off all the devices, websites and applications that grab my attention for good (except for the laptop and the virtual papyrus I now use), I concentrate on the real world surrounding me and dedicate my undivided attention to its silent syncopation.

The night outside is still; the house noiseless. I close my eyes and listen to my  breath and smell the curry-infused odor of my home. A little quote I read in the Paris Review has got me thinking once again about home. “Do buildings,” it asks “absorb traces of their inhabitants? Can yesterday’s private joys and pains retire—like stale nicotine—into the walls?”

With the advent of the virtual-world with all its mind-boggling applications and time-passing devices, we hear the rumbling noise of time’s “winged chariot hurrying near” with such swiftness that we can hardly keep pace with its contrapuntal rhythm. Oftentimes, it feels we are walking away from the quintessential joys of old-world life, the kind we experienced as we grew up. Home, as we now see it, has changed its form too: the open-spaced two-storied structures of youth have taken on the form of sky-scraping apartment buildings. Still, despite the transmogrification, we always regard home as a beloved space of comfort and joy.

I look at my own little house: the lemon yellow walls, the antiques I gathered painstakingly, the family heirlooms I restored, the flowers I planted, the furniture I organized, the pictures I hung, and come to the conclusion that this eclectic bunch tells a story— a story about me. My house makes me feel special; it’s my own creative space where freedom of mind reigns supreme.

The house is my ubiquitous friend who knows me well having seen me laugh and fight, fail and achieve, sleep and dream; I have nothing to hide from this beloved space. I don’t have to change for the house; I can change the house if I wish. Nonetheless, behind all the changes, all the alterations, I see myself change as well. If you are sensitive enough you too can experience this brilliant sensation of silently acquiescing to the unsaid wish of a brick-and-mortar structure of being good to it, and everything that surrounds it.

Being an enthusiastic interior decorator, I have experimented with several d├ęcor techniques in my home. The crafty little home that bears the fruits of my limitless experimentation is no olla podrida, but my dreamscape surrounded by things I love and cherish. It is those sweet nothings that together give me the peace and comfort I need when the world outside seems too demanding and un-creative. Like a child returning to a beloved grandparent, I return to my house to be mollified.

Sometimes, on lonely afternoons when faint rays of sunshine make their way into my room, I feel that anybody who came to my house will sense a great deal of love in its atmosphere. The thought is usually followed with the trepidation as to what might happen if I have to leave this house and move into another. If such be the case then maybe I will recreate another haven of joy and comfort and move on, so to speak.  But will this house ever forget me and my love for it? Will not the walls hold in its womb the invisible, yet colorful imprints of my palm? May be it will; and maybe someday somebody sensitive enough to imbibe the unforgettable echoes of past will listen to them and contemplate if the houses that build us remember or forget us when we move out of their comforting crevasses.