Sheer imagination

  • He took a long breath and whispered, “I imagine”. He took a long pause after saying those words. On my way home, I was surprised to find that all I had in my head were those words that person had said. I kept on contemplating over what he was really sign
  • fiction park
- Ashvin Oli
Sheer imagination

Mar 21, 2015-

We are so lost in reality, in our everyday acts, that we rarely imagine. We rarely explore the infinite possibilities we are bequeathed by birth”.

His loquacity was beginning to bug me. I was not there to hear his ‘divine words’. I was very lonely, deeply wounded and exhausted and so I wanted a moment of silence. But still, I couldn’t completely figure out whether I wanted to hear him or shut him down, because somewhere I found his words blending perfectly with the serene environment I was surrounded with. I could neither stand the morbid silence before his presence, nor his cacophony by itself. But those two fitted together just fine for me. Maybe listening to him would soothe my pain of losing my best friend Shiva.

So I sat in front of the lake, with my feet drenched. The sensation was different, though. Then I let him speak. And he went on, “You know, I sometimes wonder about people who commit suicide. I understand that there are tough times in life, but it doesn’t mean you simply have to give up. Take me as an example. I don’t know who my parents were. I grew up eating garbage, lived in garbage, and I practically know no skill, but still I can say I am happy.” I was startled. How did he know about my friend’s suicide? I wanted to ask him, but instead I reassured by telling myself that it might just have been a coincidence and that he was talking about another story. Anyway, he felt like an insane man to me, so just for the sake of asking, I asked, “How do you do it? I mean how can you still remain happy?”

He took a long breath and whispered, “I imagine”.  He took a long pause after saying those words. I was already late to get home, so it was no surprise that I got a phone call from my mom, who questioned me about my whereabouts. I told her I was coming home. On my way home, I was surprised to find that all I had in my head were those words that person had said. I kept on contemplating over what he was really signalling with his words, but I hardly found any signs of rationality.

 After I reached home, my mother informed me of Manish’s family’s invitation. She told me about Manish’s father’s promotion and that we were invited to the party on Monday. At that time, I had no idea that the “Sleepy Manish” (as he was called in school) might help me understand the subtleties in the insane person’s words.

Manish was my friend who lived inside his movies. He used to say that he wouldn’t even be alive if there were no movies. It was obviously a hyperbole, but what he implied was real, for he meant it. Whenever I went to his house, I would find him watching a movie. The glare in his eyes and the satisfaction in his heart were easily communicated to me. His infectious enthusiasm about movies would affect everyone around him. He would say, “What if there were two earths just like in the movie Upside Down. What if the the Elder Wand in the Harry Potter movie was real?” His “what ifs” were innumerable, but even then you couldn’t be bored by them. It was certain that Manish would be a writer and a filmmaker someday. He would then make a beautiful movie where one of his “what ifs” would become real.

It’s really a wonderful experience witnessing a person who is lost in his own world. His indifference to the world, not unlike that of the politicians to the people, is beautiful and admirable in a unique way. And it is an undeniable fact that such passion is a must to excel in any field. Manish had led me a few steps closer to comprehending what it really was to live in “imagination”.

 After the party was over, at around 12 am, we returned to our home. My mother asked me to sleep, so that I could wake up early for my classes, but her words didn’t register because the man’s words had formed an impregnable barrier around my head. Still I had to sleep, because I wanted to find out more about living in virtual worlds.

It wasn’t really a miracle (as my mum told me) that I woke up even earlier than my mum. I knew I would because

whenever there is something you want badly, whether it is a meeting with a new girlfriend or to perform a mundane search for some answers, the brain is sure to wake up in time. And so without much ado, I had my breakfast and

rushed to the nearest library without thinking about my morning classes. I paid very little attention to what my mum was telling me.

After reaching the library,  I scanned shelves in search of books on imagination. For a moment, I felt there was some truth to the insane man’s words— that people had forgotten how to imagine—for there were hardly any books on the subject. But I calmed down when I came to the realisation that there is imagination in everything, so why would anyone bother compiling a separate book on it?

Days passed by, months flew by like swifts, but I still had no answer for how the insane man could stay happy despite all those hardships. The closeness to the answer Manish had made me feel was infinitely diluted by my languishing efforts. After trying this hard I couldn’t give up, so I decided that I would again talk to the insane man. In the past month I had been to the lake more times than there were days in the month, but to no avail: I couldn’t find him. But with a little hope in my heart, I felt like going there once more. So I did.

To my surprise there was no lake this time. And thus, of course, neither was the man. I asked the people around the place if there was any lake there.

The reply was a unanimous “no”.  

I don’t know why I felt a sudden relief.

A heavy burden had just lifted off me. I felt like a bird.

Published: 22-03-2015 08:12

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