What is passing? How will you define it? Is it just the passing aeon – the passing of the stars?
It has been a while since I got down to writing. Or for that matter of fact, reading. Would you say some time has passed or is it a figment of our creation. Can you rationally explain or define passing as a concept? Recently going through a few old pictures of my travel, it suddenly struck me as a blitz – that unbearable and inexplicable itch. It was an old visit. Travelling through the countryside, I came across this thing, this monument – between somewhere and nowhere.
‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art; and unto dust shalt thou return.’ – Genesis 3:19. It is a sweet summarization of our lives. Dust is always there; and always shall be; you are just the passing form.
When we are so perishable, how can we define what is passing? Who are we to define it rather?
Things come and go, we meet new faces, go new places, face new situations – it’s all in passing. Dust to dust – nothing more than a figment of change. Civilisations come and go – history is recorded and rerecorded. Nothing stays – it passes on. Only silence persists – no winners, no losers – nor the sound of clamouring or agony. No sound, not even the breath of air is heard – eternal silence. But that is also in passing.
A small movement in the dust – something stirs. Something long lost and hidden; buried deep within the surface. A wisp of air – a gentle breeze stirs the dust. It opens up the other spores – a breeze. The dust swirls in the breeze.
Contours on a blank board – crests and troughs. A landscape is formed. The breeze channels itself along the shapes. The dust blows up. The silence is past – the dust trickles along. A sweet murmuring, almost like a whisper. The whisper creeps on – smoke rises. The dust sweeps over the contours baring bricks and sticks – unearthing something.
Gradually as the dust blows off, a shape emerges. A design – almost circular. The bricks are now recognisable – mortar and mud. The companion emerges from the depths. A series of bricks – a shape; a wall. But it is not something complete. At places the uniformity pierces through contrasting colours of black and grey. The harsh contrast stares at you like an anomaly – an aberration in the singular landscape. There is no sound, not the faint whisper of the breeze telling the many tales it carries in its wake – just snatched up and carried to distant places and telling a different story to someone else. The tale of the children laughing or the wives gossiping around the well don’t ring anymore. Only the stillness fires up the aberration.
That aberration bothers us. We want it to go away. But it’s etched onto the wall. A memory of times past. We pass on – as we uncover more, more black gives way to the accustomed brown. A town opens up – the dust consumed it, covering it in itself; converting the structure back to its own element. The streets filled with people – the noise, the confusion, and the lights. Organised chaos at work. The chaos muted – the music lost, the colour turned to black and brown. The decay had set in – gradually consuming everything in its path. The desolation echoing in the voices of the dead. The winds shutting out the voice of the multitude. The contours keep changing – it is a maze of ruin. The light of the midday sun breaking upon the harshness – the ruggedness and the destitution. The rape of civilization.
The time has passed for the town – a relic of another time. It is past its time.
I was passing through – a visitor of another time. Entering the town, at the gate sat a hunched retainer. The wrinkled face, the trimmed and maintained moustache, the once shiny beads and earrings – the memory of a time past; still holding onto the crumbling dust – watching it blow away through his fingers. The sun has set for his reign – he will decay and join his generation back in the dust, recalling the glory of day gone. The sun was setting – it was a long day and even the dust and wind was tired of retelling the same story everyday every minute to the multitude who helped in the decay. They stilled as the retainer smiled at the setting sun – the broken and decay reflecting the past, basking in the past. The victors left with their conquest, the agony stilled by the howling wind – now only to fall back to silence.
The sun had set, but the retainer still shone brightly against the decay and the destitution. I had to return to my time leaving the destitution and the decay to complete its work, I could not stop time from wrecking its destruction. The dust will eat up the smile and the bricks – it all happens just in passing. No one to stop it, no one rather wanting to. Unless the old is replaced by the new, dust is recreated and reformed in new shapes and forms – how else will it be just ‘in passing’?
Shirshadeep Bhattacharya | PGDM 2015-17