A path will emerge

As I have perhaps mentioned before, somewhere or other — I write a lot, you know — there is a saying among the drivers of Delhi three-wheelers that deeply appeals to me. I have cited it in my headline.

Some context is necessary to understand this saying. Gentle reader must place himself imaginatively on the bench behind the driver of one of these frail, motorized rickshaws (as these). He is going around one of New Delhi’s innumerable traffic circles (worse than Washington, I think), along with many other tuk-tuks, cars, proper taxis, little trucks, buses, bicycles, big trucks, motorcycles, and possibly farm animals. Or rather, he is hopelessly caught in their jam, with an appointment to get to, that is gradually receding into the fog of history.

The more enveloping and immediate fog is of intense petrol fumes and of smoke discharging, into which is mixed the rich tropical scents of rotting fruit and vegetables, and other odours unhappier to describe. The sides of the little cart are open. The temperature is in three figures of Fahrenheit. It is also quite humid, and there is no breeze. One is wearing a tie, which one might mistake for a garrote vil.

But one’s driver is serene. He has, to understate the case, been here before. He reassures his apparently distraught Western passenger that the destination — some several miles away — is nearly in view. “A path will emerge,” he observes, sagely.

I recall being myself once in the position of this passenger, approaching one of the Shajahanabad gates, through which, if we ever passed, the streets would become much narrower, and twisting. But I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Instead, I noticed, with growing alarm, that two Delhi transit buses — whose diesel exhaust I was now tasting — were closing in upon each other, from our either side. It struck me that their drivers were mounted so high that they would not see us. I pictured the mangled metal in which we would die. Perhaps my alarm was communicated.

“A path will emerge,” repeated my tuk-tuk charioteer, Krishna to my Arjuna.

I queried him on the likelihood of our being crushed.

His philosophical serenity undisturbed, he added, “Death is a kind of path.”

It takes some work, some hard-earned life experience, to attain such a degree of fatalism. I had yet to climb that mountain. I still have not climbed, these last twenty years, to the upper reaches, in which the truth, in its seeming inevitability, comes in view above the clouds, and one may accept the Gloria. My mind instead craves more oxygen. But if you can’t breathe, you can’t breathe — what could be simpler than that?

Actually, gentle reader, I draughted for today a long and rather stern post, touching upon the behaviour of our Holy Father, who, to my mind, is leading our Church into the equivalent of the space between converging Delhi buses. And this, on perhaps a dozen levels, which I was attempting to enumerate. But the same information can be had from elsewhere, so why add my vexation to it? Hardly for the first time in the history of this anti-blog, I deleted my disconsolating words.

Let us consider the matter from a different perspective.

A path will emerge.