Monday, February 01, 2010

Life in Varanasi

"We think of renunciation happening formally, definitively..., but it can happen gradually, so gradually it doesn't feel like renunciation. I didn't renounce the world; I just became gradually less interested in certain aspects of it, less involved with it - and that diminution of interest was slowly reciprocated. That's how it works. The world stops singling you out; you stop feeling singled out by the world.

I remembered how personally I used to take everything. Two years previously, I'd been given tickets for the opening day at Wimbledon, Centre Court. It rained, off and on...By the end of the day, not a shot had been played. It was as if there was a curse on me. No one else - not the players or anyone else in the stadium - suffered to the extent that I did. It was my day, my Wimbledon, my parade that was being rained on.

The weather had come between me and what I wanted - which was to watch tennis. The pain and the rain were intolerable because they conformed to a broader climatic pattern: something was always coming between me and what I wanted. That afternoon at Wimbledon it was the rain; another day it was another thing. But there was always something. I realized now that that thing was me. I was in my way. I was ahead of me in the queue. I was keeping me waiting. Everything was a kind of waiting. Varanasi I no longer felt like I was waiting. The waiting was over. I had taken myself out of the equation."

Lines that made it worth reading Geoff Dyer's "Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi".