It was late evening and we were looking at rock and mineral specimens from somebody’s personal collection, on display, in an old, forgotten building in CP. The particular specimen in front of us was a sparkling thing, some sort of a zeolite with a scientific name that was hard to pronounce. It had a beautiful broad base and finger like projections that dazzled under the pale light.
I looked at him, by my side, and we exchanged a little surprised glance.
‘It is found near waterfalls. It looks like this because of being hit by the forceful running water, for hundreds of years,’ we were informed.
The idea of becoming so interesting by constantly being in the way of something forceful seemed fascinating to me. The water didn’t matter to that rock anymore. But it was a part of the way the rock was, its pressure had been internalized and made into the shape and being of the rock. It was like life and evolution. Things impact you, things go, but the impact stays and becomes a part of you.
We didn’t intend to go to anyplace remotely like a museum. Not that day, not then. We’d just come out to eat and take a stroll.
It’s a little strange, but, for me the line between imagining things and recollecting them from memory blurs if there aren’t distinct external things that I can tag some of my memories to. Such and such a thing with person X in that restaurant, that street, that corner, makes the whole episode with person X easier to remember. It’s as if I need the physical world to testify to me that I’m not hallucinating, that things I remember actually happened.
So we were out on a stroll when we landed there, in that gallery. Some sign board caught his eye and we climbed up the steps, curious and smiling in our languor.
In a corner of my mind I knew that it was going to be the last hour or so we would spend together. We could go back to his room after that. But there wasn’t any point in that because he would need time to pack his stuff.
I came across a blue octagonal specimen that seemed to have razor sharp edges. It was frozen as an iceberg, with very fine cuts all over, that refracted light. I turned to my side to draw his attention to it, but realized that he was a few paces ahead of me.
He was looking at a massive Scolecite, studying it with clean, simple attention.
I like looking at him from a distance. At such times, I tell myself that I don’t know that man. He’s just somebody I have seen for the first time. Then I ask myself if I find him interesting, like that, from a distance, as an outsider. Having asked the question, I try to answer myself. That day, the answer was a very violent yes.
I was still gazing at him when he turned to me. He noticed the look in my eyes before I could do anything about it. He smiled his measured, deep smile. He walked back.
His arm felt warm around me. “That’s some good time together, isn’t it?” he said.
“That’s some really good time together,” I said.
We started walking toward the exit.
“So, when exactly do you leave?” I said.
I looked at my watch. “It’s about time you started packing.”
“Packing’s done. I did it while you were asleep,” he said.
©Rasagya Kabra, December 14, 2011