After reading the letter from the Wanderer, I was all set to meet the Wanderer’s friend at the café. I believed without doubt that I will find him sitting on the same red wood table where I had the two encounters.
I folded the letter into my blazer pocket and headed out. I was back to travelling public transport. Wanted all my time and attention to be on my journey, not on driving, not looking out for traffic of life, not bothered about looking at indicators of turns in life, not sucked into shifting gears, or the need to accelerate or to break. I wanted to be driven to my destination like a prayer.
I kept taking out the letter from my coat pocket and reading portions of it before I put it back. This happed a few times before my ride ended and I was just across the café.
Without wasting time, I rushed into the oriental old-world building that housed the café. I entered this time with such certainty that I could see the Wanderer’s friend smiling at me even before the door opened. There he was, broad-shouldered and quaint, wearing a steel gray cots wool overcoat.
I said hello.
He said, “About time” and smiled.
Without saying much I handed over the letter. He kept staring at me while holding the letter in his left hand. I said, go ahead. Read it. He didn’t care much. But I insisted. Suddenly his face turned a bit tense, a bit irritated, a bit of every emotion that I was uncomfortable with.
He said –“So all this is a damned joke to you. You consider this to be some kind of a thrilling story line. You come here, we tell you some crazy stuff, you glorify it, you pen it down, garner the creative credit, and greed for more. You have any idea how you are making it seem like? Do you have any idea? Any fucking idea?
Boy, do not test my patience. There is nothing that you can test in me. For once get this straight; I am not your juke box of knowledge. I came here because the Wanderer saw something in you, something that I believe to be true. I did not come here for your misguided projectile youth. So stop treating this as your prerogative.
Do I make myself amply clear?”
I was taken aback and it took me a moment before I could gather my thoughts and respond.
I said, in a shocked state of mind, “what did I do? I do not understand what you are saying.”
He retorted – “Well, look around you. What do you think is happening? With you and in your life? Do you actually think that all this while we have been here to gift you a story? Really?
Damn it. Do you think all this brewing is for some forsaken story of love? Do you think this is all about some random guy, who knows nothing but Wandering, falling into love endlessly? Do you think this is about some melancholic story of love, longing and completion? Or do you think this is about some moment in your life when your art of writing has been earmarked and some benefactor has sent down two agents to guide you to your glory. Fuck you!
This is not a linear, chronological, epitaph for you to journal.
This is life as it was commissioned to be. LIFE, the story of its commissioning, the narration of being, the counting of the mid-day cash at the counter, counting of the sheep before moving ahead, this is the journey back, the journey to when it all started, to where it all started, to why it all started, to whom it all started with. This is the story of nature and its beyond. The story of the great beyond.
Look at this picture (taking out a photograph out of his coat pocket). Look at this grand revelation, the spoof of all times, look at this, do you understand what you are looking at? Can you spot anything of significance? Anything at all? Do you even see anything you recognize in there? Anything?
Damn it and you think it is about some wandering bugger. Damn it!
Look closely at this for a moment or as long as you would want to (pushing the photograph towards me on the table).”
I looked at it and could not make head or tale of it. An underexposed photograph with slanting lines going through as if some murky light filtering through a black curtain into a dark room. That’s it. That’s all I saw.
I looked up to him, and made a contorted lip movement amply displaying my ignorance and the disability to make any sense of the photograph.
He asked– “What is your favorite color?”
I responded, “Green, bottle green, in fact clear bottle green to be precise.”
He continued – “Well, do you even see a semblance of green in there? In the photograph! Look closely, young man. Look at the tiny dot on in the middle of the brown inflection bar to the right. Look at that pale blue dot. Do you see it?”
Following instructions, I looked closely. I found what he was referring to.
I said, “Yes”
Moving on, he said – “Well that little spec, that little pale blue dot, that “you don’t even have to blink to miss” dot is our beloved planet. It’s a real photograph. Taken by the Voyager from space panning into our solar system.
Understand the perspective. It is important that you do so. This snapshot puts our planet in perspective of our solar system. Now imagine the enormity of our solar system. Can you? How do you feel? Weird? Small? Insignificant? Like a non entity?
Now consider this. This was just a view from within the solar system. Imagine how our planet will look if we pan out and look at our Galaxy, which contains innumerable such solar systems. Imagine the swirling Milky Way with millions of such solar and interstellar systems and then try and picture earth in that pudding of heavenly bodies and stars. Flummoxed? So soon?
Now try and put it in perspective the fact that in the “known universe”, as we know it, as Science and human race understands and defines it, there are about 500 billion such galaxies. So if one has to spot Milky Way in the burst of galaxies in the known universe it might not even be visible as a dot.
And to loop this up, let us put the so-called “known universe” in perspective to the entire ever expanding cosmos. Well, well! That’s a tricky order. Would you agree? The known universe, the extent of Science’s reach is only a drop in the larger ocean of the unknown universe, perhaps even less.
Having said what I just said, look at the pale blue dot in the larger schema. Does this mean anything? Anything of real consequence?
The life, the complications, the splendor of the perceivable, the aching of the unperceivable, the gimmick of success, the dangling of failure, the edginess of wait, the strut of the gait, the rhythm of the rhyolite, the silent smirk of ignis fatuus, of all that and everything else. Is it of consequence on a nearly non-existent planet of ours, the collective memory of millenniums, the million and one gods, the theology of religions, the billions and billions of life forms, the rock and roll, the blues, the maroons, the long hair, the crew cut, the nose pins, the roadster, the toaster, the ipod, personal gods, the velvet fist with a iron rod, the make belief, the military chiefs, the romantic novel, the white witch, the dark knight, the dull and the bright, the ace of spades, the queen of hearts, the jester card, the Avon bard, the B-52s, the concord cruise, the Titanic, the Carpathia, the Sitar, the electric guitar, the walking mummies, the dying babies, the virgin mother, the unborn god, the fluke, the lucky princess, the unlucky toads, the flying monkey, the barrels of sin, iss din, uss din, ye saare din.
Do you get me young man?
I mean there has to be some grand design. Don’t you think so? I mean this can’t be just for kicks set up. Can it? Look at it, why would someone, say GOD, sprinkle dust of life on this pale blue dot? Importantly, is it not naïve to believe, and not merely assume, that life roots only on this tiny spec of a planet? I mean come on.
Give up your screwed up blockages and think rationally, and I mean truly rationally for once. Putting all this in perspective… Who could have, would have done this? And why? And then what are we supposed to do? Just play out this seemingly insignificant existence of ours in the ant hole? Is that all? Is this all that we have or are meant to do. To foreclose our being in a tiny wormhole in this universe. Loose our sense to anonymity?
Think of this young man and seek your answers. For we will meet again here in a few days time. For now I need to go.”
And he left me there… in this café… with a lukewarm cuppa by my side to chew on this.
End of day!