After months of the lockdown, many of us are quite likely exhausted from being within our spaces, and trying to get out here and there as safely as we can. Even as we empathize with the pain that countless others are going through, especially the thousands of migrant workers making their way back to their own homes in the heartland by whatever means they can find in these hot, arid days amidst the lockdown, not to mention those that are struggling with the virus itself either as victims themselves or as front-line workers, and we wish there could be a better deal for all of us, it is only natural that we still look at our own pain, and our own circumstances and try to see if we can be a bit better off.
The spaces we have with and between each other has been tested significantly in these few months. Those living in close proximity have found ways for themselves to hold some degree of privacy and some semblance of boundaries, but it has just not been easy at all for anyone. While we are all suffering, of course the degree of pain each of us in is different.
Some years ago, when waiting in one of the then interminable and legendary traffic jams at Silk Board on the way back from a play in RangaShankara at J P Nagar, my friend and I were looking at all the traffic around us, watching two wheelers squeeze through trucks and cars to get ahead, and then even after they settled down, cyclists still managing to squeeze on ahead, and one remarked to the other with the deep insight of a Realized One, how so many people could cram into such a tiny space and how different it was compared to how traffic behaved in most other places, including parts of our own country. There was a little philosophical joke about how it didn’t matter whether you were in a Mercedes Benz or a beat up old KInetic Honda, that you were still in the same traffic jam and waiting like everyone else, but mostly we were talking about the spaces we allowed between us in public spaces and private spaces, and how here in Bangalore, space was quickly becoming a premium, especially the public spaces.
Today, with CoVid, public spaces are vast and empty. One could zip across Silk Board in seconds, and yet, at home, our private spaces are so different. We can feel the space crowd around us, even if we are the only people in a large three bedroom apartment, and we can certainly feel the space as if it is a physical oppressor if we were sharing it with a bunch of others.
Our relationship with our space is changing, just as much as it is with the people in it. We are looking at our public spaces with more longing, while holding on dearly to our private spaces. We know we need to love our spaces more.
As written for The New Indian Express
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.