A deer darted across the front of our car when we drove out yesterday. Today I started my day by walking out barefoot, biting into a fresh plum and photographing the Tuscan countryside. We are surrounded by silence, save for the chirping of birds and the clanging of sheep's bells. The Tiwari's annual summer run from Bombay has begun.
I've been wondering why I write less and less in Bombay and I think that it's a combination of not being able to step back enough from daily events and not being surprised enough by them, after precisely five years in the city. When I see a cow being chased down the sidewalk by its owner I wonder about the spot that it's going to occupy (is this the 'in front of the kids' school cow' or the 'outside Mantralaya, the seat of Government cow'?) and not why there is a cow being chased down a sidewalk.
My bride, given to profound questions, asked me why it is that we lead a "non stop full on life" (there's Bombay English for you) for fifty weeks in the year and then go to the other extreme of a nature filled TV - less life for two weeks, and why there can't be more of a balance. It was the first full day of the vacation, we were lying by the pool and so, stumped by the question, I fell asleep.
Stepping back requires time for reflection, not running around in a non stop full on city from Colaba to Parel to Powai to Juhu and back to Nariman Point, all in one day.
You can of course 'write' in the moment itself, and Twitter is the ultimate 'writing in the moment' tool, for twits and tweets alike. The Dutch use it to complain that a bus is five minutes late, Americans and Australians use it to post photographs of themselves running onwards to greater health and Indians use it to fire public salvos against enemies which can only be answered by equally public salvos in return. One of the top trending Twitter hashtags in India right now is #MainBanaUllu (I've been duped), a way for Indians to post their frustration at having voted for a particular political candidate.
The cacophony of Indian news, political protests, the scandal of the month and the release of the latest blockbuster (Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Salman Khan's saccharin dipped movie) continues unabated. The combined marketing apparatus of Indian polity, big business, news channels and Bollywood is so very effective at getting its message out to every nook and cranny of India that there isn't a forgotten part of the country. Forgotten from a development point of view perhaps, but no relief from non stop full on messaging.
The crickets here in Val d'Orcia really need to stop making so much noise, I can't think.
Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.