Friday, August 31, 2012

The Power of Coordinates


DOOR TO AMNESIA: A bedroom light bulb burns out. New bulbs are in the kitchen. Off you go, but when you arrive you think, why am I here? That brain blip may not be mere absent mindedness. Gabe Radvansky, a psychology professor at Notre Dame, had study participants carry objects around a house. “They couldn’t remember objects as well when they crossed through a doorway,” he says. Conclusion: Change of venue makes the brain “push old stuff out and focus on what’s going on now,”…

That was a small piece from The National Geographic magazine that shows the power of context in our lives.

The actual extent of influence of physical coordinates is far greater than most of us would ever imagine. Though the above example is about the influence of venue, the idea could very well extend to climate as well.

I have always believed that climate is a very important consideration in our lives (and living in Bangalore is a great blessing) but my tour to Everest Base Camp was an experience as well as witness to the extent and more importantly, the absoluteness of influence that climate has on our lives, on the very meaning and purpose of our lives.

Everything else remaining the same - the individual, his nature, his innate aspirations, likes, tastes, goals, aims, passions and more, his actual physical coordinates, that is his location, determine to a large extent, the colour, meaning, purpose and direction of his life.

Sitting before a Tandoor at the culminating point of our altitude and cold, looking back at the few days of our trek, I actually felt that Climate was everything.

Only after a person has tackled, addressed basic issues of existence/subsistence, can he spend the remaining of his time, resources and focus towards culture, arts, recreation, creativity and higher civilization.
Man’s primary or basic issues change with climate.
Every climate gives life, its own distinct colour, dimension, purpose and focus.

And the extreme of that Himalayan cold colours life unforgivingly every minute of every hour.
When you brush your teeth and wash your face in the morning, the cold water hurts like a hundred needles pricking your hands and your face. The idea of unwinding in the bathroom, 'taking one's own time' is fearsome…

Lime juice is always served hot…
Breakfast is drab. So are lunch and dinner. Potato, Onion, Cabbage. May be Carrot. There is none of the allure of French Beans, capsicum, tomato, cauliflower, peas…

A building’s ia only as good as it’s insulation, the carpets on the floor, ceiling and wall; the d├ęcor, the paintings on the wall become irrelevant…
Three layers of clothing clothe you any time of the day; fashion, no one cares for…

The only thing you look forward to most of the time is the lighting up of the Tandoor to heat up the place…
What consumes the hours is the stoking of the fire; not the stroke of the brush, nor the stroke of a pen…
Going outdoors becomes painful and avoided…
Your only movement is the moving forward and backward before the Tandoor, as it gets too hot and then it gets too cold…

Touch requires preparation, for, all objects, metal, wood, glass and cloth are soaking in the cold…
You have only four senses, for what can you smell when you have a cold so bad in a bleeding nose?
There is no talk, for there is no stimulus…
Time expands, for nothing happens…
There being no electricity after 7, life comes to a full halt with sunset; I mean half-life comes to a full halt. With only so much oxygen to breathe, where is the question of full life?

Colours, red and green, purple and pink have to be recollected from memory, for all world is monochrome - the black of the ridge, the white of the snow and the grey of the fog…
Stills are the order of the day; motion is rare like a falling star in a fixed night sky: for the mountains have never moved and will never move…

The range of human emotions goes as if to sleep, frozen as if in the cold; the only emotion that wakes up now and then is anger – at the fellow who went out the door and that fellow who came in, letting in that blast of cold wind…

1 comment:

SM said...

Hi Sowmya - I met you yesterday at the bookshop in Jayanagar 4th Block, and as promised, I have looked up your blog :).

Very interesting post on the effect of environment / climate on one's outlook towards life.