On one particular day, not very long ago, I can recall having spent a few pensive moments in introspective contemplation all by myself, in my exclusive solitude. The occasion was filling up of an application form for my son's admission to school and a routine query regarding our permanent address had arrested my vision and my thoughts. All through the times, there must have been many such occasions in life earlier too when a similar query must have been answered by my parents for me and by me for myself also and by many others all over the world. Whether registering a birth or intimating a death, applying for a school admission or a career opportunity one cannot think of any important event in one's life without a sheet of paper with some queries and some blank spaces required to be filled. But what was so peculiar in that particular query about my permanent address that arrested my attention, and diverted my roaming thoughts?
Undoubtedly, the query about permanent address had remained unchanged over the generations but how about the answer? Although the question had remained immutable, yet the answer to this question kept on acquiring a new meaning and complexion at each turning point along the journey of life. A few numerals and a collection of some alphabets arranged in a particular manner descriptive of some particular premises did not make them my address and no amount of physical association whatsoever gave it the legitimacy of being permanent. The address that might have been mentioned as permanent by my father for me and by me for my self or for my son had never remained the same.
The door that once opened on to new vistas for me now guards a storehouse of memories where a part of my world still exists in a quiet, lonely stillness and that door now appears as a window in a vast labyrinthine building of destiny. The street that showed the way for me to explore the avenues of the world appears to have merged imperceptibly into a maze of trails and roads recognized only by their ever-appearing and disappearing milestones. Though the courtyard enclosed by those ageing walls still reverberates with the echoes of my yearnings, my aspirations, my hopes and ambitions, my successes and failures yet they no longer can convey what anyone would like to know as my permanent address. Within their static confines they enclosed a repository of the tales of all the milestones reached with the flux in my life but they no longer conveyed the most appropriate answer to the query in the application form for my son's admission to school.
My address had changed though the premises itself had remained more or less unchanged. Although even I had changed in physical appearance with each moment in the ever-ongoing process of life yet something had remained unchanged deep inside the mortal confines. Can terrestrial territories; mundane boundaries and physical parameters of a part of the entire existence constitute one's address? In the entire process of life as manifest all around us and also in the faraway nebulous realms a perennial change is the only permanent, changeless substrate on which all that is manifest makes itself apparent to us.
The more I reflected upon that query its answer became more and more elusive. Where does one find one's address and how does one give it a tinge of permanence, if at all? The search of permanence takes us to various temporary shelters that we tend to identify as our address. Do the shelters that we make out of brick and mortar, wood and steel, mud and marble qualify to be labeled as our permanent address? And in the scheme of the corporeal and the carnal can we call this ever changing shelter for our being - shaped by an unseen hand out of bone and blood, muscle and marrow, flesh and fat - this body of ours, as our permanent address?
The world around us with its myriads of shapes, sizes, names, forms and appearances belies our individuality. Concealed by this vast diversity there is a universally true, all-pervading, permanent and changeless reality that supports all that appears unique to each one of as individual entities. Be it a human dwelling or a human body, or for that matter the dwelling or body of any other living being, the fundamental building blocks are just the same everywhere for everyone.
So where and how does one find one's unique address that should be permanent too? To be able to provide a satisfactory answer to this query we just have to go back to ourselves, undertake a journey to the innermost hallowed precincts of our beings and find the permanent address that houses all of us irrespective of our material becoming and mundane belongings. Our bonafide, authentic and veritable permanent address transcends all numerals, all alphabets and all corporeal limits. It is the same for me, for you and for all of us.