Monday, June 2, 2008

Muscat Morning Meditations

You get up and are surprised to see its not even 5 am and yet the morning is very bright. The Sun is still not up and you go to the kitchen balcony to see two pigeons necking next to you on the other side of the glassed railing. One of them looks like a typical Indian grey pigeon but the other one is a cross between a grey and a white with white head and neck and grey wings.

As you light a cigarette, they stop frolicking and watch you alertly, ready to fly off at first sign of danger. You lower the light slowly and don’t look at them directly, not wishing to scare them. They keep watching you. As you exhale a stream of smoke they fly off in panic probably scared of the fire breathing monster. You watch them with regret.

Then a sparrow flies into the next balcony chasing a moth. The moth dives and ducks and twists and turns and the sparrow keeps missing it but finally the moth’s luck runs out. The sparrow sits on the balustrade, its morning breakfast in between its beak. Your next puff sends it soaring in the sky.

You are on the seventh floor (the maximum allowed in Oman) and can clearly see the city skyline and soon notice the two flags of Oman fluttering in the brisk breeze. One is on top of the Central Bank of Oman and the other on a building about 70 meters away across on the other side of the road. You notice they are flying in different directions at 90 degrees to each other. Puzzled you try to figure out what’s happening and it takes a while to realize that the wind is running in some sort of cyclic swirl. Soon you see that the flag on the opposite side has wrapped itself around the flag pole. You wonder if that happens often and if it requires some one to unfurl it somehow.

Inside the kitchen the air is still and you notice the smoke you are exhaling hangs in midair in distinct layers looking like evening clouds in the sky. You take a deep puff and blow it at the center of the clouds. The beam of smoke goes like a rocket burrowing a hole in the cloud and they starts swirling in all directions even as some parts form rotating rings while others swirl in different directions, the whole effect is as if you are watching stars and galaxies in outer space and you wonder if that’s the kick Old Man in the Heaven is getting watching His creation. Transfixed you repeat the act again and again till your head spins with all the deep smoking so early in the morning. The forms and shapes of the smoke remind you of something you read somewhere, “Just as water can be solid, liquid or gaseous, consciousness can be seen to be ‘frozen’ as physical matter, ‘liquid’ as mind and thought, or ‘formless’ as pure consciousness.”

And then the Golden Orb jumps out from behind the Muscat hills and the within minutes the air starts heating up. By the time you finish your first cup of tea and the second cigarette, you are drenched in sweat and another hot day has begun.

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