With every step the wooden stump left an impression. The mechanism was simple; the rhythmic 'tick, tock' created sound waves that entered the ears, and thereby to the brain. These waves got converted into impressions. I usually accept scientist's explanation; it is always based on reason and logic. The ultimate complexity, of course, is the brain. Some may say: no, it's the mind. And the compromise immediately follows - the brain-mind complex.
Uma was laughing, as she always does when confronted with mystifying obscurities. In the first place she never liked the noise of the stump, and here it was being stretched to subconscious impressions! But I am a post-modernist. I can stretch anything to any limit; if not, I would not remain what I am - a post-modern person.
We laughed to our heart's content. The clich' gave identity to our life, although the modernists abhor the very mention of this word. In place of clich' phrases we invented clich' symbols. That is our invention, and strength too. The noise of the stumpy walk receded in the background, and Uma felt a bit nervous. Strange things happen here. Words like peace and tranquility, serenity and calmness are anathema in the cozy comfort of our hearth. That was the reason we came together, Uma and myself.
"Katyayani, here's your ashrama; take care of the students and Brahmacharinis. And Maitreyi, I am sure you would join her in this noble endeavour." The post-modernist Maitreyi inquired, "And where, my lord, you be?" "Why, I am going to the forest. To seek my Self, that Self which is lost in the din and bustle of this ashrama."
"My, my; Lord, how cruel you are! You leave your wife in the jungle of this ashrama, and want to enjoy the bliss all alone! But I am also not easy to deter, you know, I shall accompany you." "But, dear, where there are two, there is fear. Let me first overcome the fear." "No, no. Fear or no fear; self or no self; realization or no realization; knowledge or no knowledge, I will accompany you."
The radio was incoherent in its dramatic conversation; or were they my ears? I had recited Yajnavalka and Maitreyi dialogue many times in my ashrama days, but it was not like what I heard on the radio. Something was missing. What was that, I asked Uma; but she had already left for the office.
Since Uma had come to stay with me, after a gap of seven years, we were happy. At least I was. It was not much of the physical company, but the change in her style of conversation that made the difference. Initially, of course seven years back, she was like 'reading a scripture without commentary', now she was the commentary on scriptural text. We both wanted to be the commentators, and not the original. Original is too placid, they say. And we always agree to whatever we find post-modern*
Uma's office was self-created edifice of dreamy illusion. We use words to overemphasize our point. Dream is an illusion; dreamy illusion is the emphasis. She created, or at least showed she created, post-modern architect. It was many times not even valid; the basis was wrong, the foundation not capable of holding the edifice. But she did not bother, day will come when conditions will be created for whatever she thought; for thought cannot come in the mind unless it has reciprocating structure outside, she always believed.
"Ananda, do not be surprised by anything in this world. Strange things happen here. Anything is possible; nothing is unnatural in this world of make-believe and makeshift arrangements, " the Buddha had said. Uma explains this to me. I agree, as is my wont. I have decided never to disagree with oddity; it pays in the long run. It bolsters the imagination and creativity.
Third one must come, when there are two. Hence enter the modernist. He is also our friend; at least we take him so, still. He is cross with us, for having become post-modernist. He despises such a shift or the change. "Listen my dear, you two, modern science is all-inclusive, self-explanatory and sufficient to answer all the queries, solve all the problems. Nothing is post-modern. The very term is irritating." "But you have coined this phrase, and we have accepted it. Now why this remorse? You live in outdated world of reason and rationality. We have transcended the same. Come join us," said Uma.
He felt gloomy, and probably was thinking about the dilemma. In fact, there is never a dilemma for us. We enjoy getting confused, or at least show such reaction to our discoveries and inventions. We invent and suffer from the gains of having invented, for science and its applied aspect never match. Nuclear physics and nuclear bomb are asynchronous, but factual. To build a house and not live in it is the story of modernism. See! This is the position of post-modernist.
He studied the sheets drawn by Uma. The lines were neat, but incomprehensible. The planes and the layers touched the unimaginable heights in the sky and went deep to the oceanic bottom. Strange drawing, he thought. A man and woman were entrapped in a wheel within the wheel. An effulgent figure was standing outside the wheel, controlling the speed and revolutions. The topsy-turvy world revolved around with gusto, limbs thrown in desperate poise, reminiscent of Picasso.
He suddenly fell down. Dizziness had overpowered him. The mobile worked, and the ambulance took him to the nearest hospital.
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Dr. C.S. Shah
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