See You Yesterday

February 13, 2009

Lotus Flower

A ridiculous statement I keep hearing is that India’s chaotic traffic is linked to reincarnation. Such reckless driving can only happen in a culture where death is not a big deal, peach-faced people tell me, their nose deep into their pretty guidebooks.

Well, honey, the reason why death is not a big deal here is because it’s not a concept in the first place. It’s a damn reality. In an overpopulated country, where 75% of the population lives with less than $2 a day, death is part of life. It’s got to do with food, sweat and dirty water. Not with a concept.

Concepts bore me. They’re so pretentious. Looking down upon us from the happy snooty clouds of metaphysics.

I prefer language. It’s so much more palpable, earthly, tasty. And it says so much.

Take, say, Indians and time. In Hindi the same word, “kal“, means “yesterday” and “tomorrow”.

Isn’t it extraordinary?

“Hey, so, when can you deliver this fridge to my house?”

“Ma’am, I will deliver to you yesterday only.”

“Right. Wicked. That would be just great.”

Language. We don’t pay attention to it but it’s got many, many answers.



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