“Duality is the nature of all things,” I was at the chiropractor’s office, lying face down on the his table as he gently massaged my neck and said these words. I have been thinking about this the whole day. My chiropractor, a ninety two year old Australian gentleman has lived for more than forty years I have heard in Pune, as eloquent with his words as he is with his treatment. India and duality. The woman worshipped as mother and goddess, aborted illegally still. Hindus and Muslims, neighbors and friends made foes by a line drawn through their neighborhoods, made enemies then and still now by warring politicians. So much affluence and color, so much poverty, stark and dark. So much to take, so little to give. I have mulled on these dualities and everywhere I have turned today they have stared me in my face daring me to write about my own. I demur and turn elsewhere.
I think of a man I met last night. Erudite, higher than middle class education, intelligence and earning, a lover of bikes and travel. At his house, his mother shows me a picture of a prospective bride. A protruding tooth is offensive but could be removed. The long curly hair too curly but can perhaps be straightened and styled? She must be educated but be willing to care for the house, to cook, to clean, to be molded like clay, like art, like words, like plastic. I laugh, I smile. I hide the dualities of my responses. I swallow bitter bile. The evening is replete with home cooked food.
Later this day, I am on my way to Pondicherry. In the middle of the sky, suspended between the clouds and sky, the airplane trembles. I type my words fiercely and quickly. My ferocity masks my fear of flying. I know in a moment these words can fall from the sky and mean nothing. And if I continue, these and all those thoughts and expressions tripping at the tip of my tongue can still exist and can still mean nought.