how do you leave a city once you’ve given it your heart?
maybe dilli is nothing but a city, and maybe the sound of a metro pulling out of a station isn’t supposed to make you fall in love each time you listen to it. maybe we’re supposed to keep walking into — and out of — identities, never wearing the same mask in another place (not because we can’t, but because some lives only belong to certain streets and can only thrive in the unremitting sunshine of a certain gaze). maybe i’ll come back later, as i always have. maybe my life will go on existing here, haunting all the points in space and time that will lie outside my body’s reach. maybe this is what i want. maybe the new place will be just as magical, just as heartbreakingly beautiful. maybe my heart longs to run to new places to have itself torn up there anew.
even the promise of a new love could never make leaving dilli easier. some things never change.
some others do. i’m going to pack and squeeze dilli into my favourite songs and words, force all of it inside and keep pressing until it all explodes into numerous shreds of skin and bone and muscle and blood: spreading everywhere, spreading so far in a spray of ineluctable bloody mist that i’ll never be able to escape it. and then, finally, everywhere and everywhen will be dilli and i will never have to leave again.
gotta anchor all the magic i’ve ever collected to every inch of this city.
do not disturb.
While talking to a friend about breakthroughs in science, I told myself to record what I said to him. So: a brief note, because I often find myself telling people this same thing: most scientific research is incremental in nature.
Science, in all its self-corrective glory, is a collective enterprise. Scientists build upon existing work, — instead of creating a new framework from scratch each time — in the hopes of finding yet another missing piece of the puzzle that the community labours to solve collectively. Disproportionate glory is often bestowed on the ones that find the last (or the first) missing piece of a puzzle but it does little to change that science is, above all, a collective enterprise. Scientific revolutions are rare and major breakthroughs depend on the body of knowledge available to you. You have to be working on the right problem at the right place at the right time with enough funding/resources/genius at your disposal to create a tectonic shift.
Say that we are a puff of warm breath in a very cold universe. By this kind of reckoning we are either immeasurably insignificant or we are incalculably precious and interesting.
— Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child I Read Books
let’s try to move away from the human and the linguistic. let’s move to the place where the words ‘insignificant’ and ‘precious’ mean nothing — there are no words here, no meanings. i rather like it here.
i don’t always approve of the way we try to attach meaning to everything. i hate the way we sometimes desperately try to tease beauty out of the ordinary, the unusual, and the chaotic. we exist and, sometimes, that’s all there’s to it.
I do not want to be a person / I want to be unbearable.
— Anne Carson, “Stanzas, Sexes, Seductions”, Decreation, p. 72
One can be a person and still be unbearable. All people are unbearable: unbearably ethereal, unbearably beautiful, unbearably Other.
I want to invite her and Kundera to dinner, and stay up all night talking to them.
Avant je pensais que ce que je faisais aurais de l’importance. Que ça changerait le monde. Que rien ne serait plus comme avant… Mais c’est inutile. Le monde est trop vieux, il n’y a rien de noeuf. Tout a été dit.
— Arthur Rimbaud, Eclipse Totale (1995)
Not everything, no. I am starting to believe it is the way you say things — perhaps more than any other component of content — that shifts something inside of other people. They may not realise it at the time, but they notice it later when they are alone and trying to gather themselves. That is when they see parts of you that have decided to stick to them permanently. And all your words go rushing back to them.
Nothing will ever be as it was before.
I do not think it is possible to establish a global equilibrium. As long as people are all different, everything you say could be important. Which is why we still read books and engage in dialogue. That is also why someone like Kundera can give you shelter and soothe you with his sentences when no one else in the world can.