I’ve met once a time traveller, during one of my many sabbaticals from life it was. He was like a peaceful child, unperturbed by the loud world around him. The blind world that shouted at him as if their disability were deafness. And he listened to it all, all the curses they send his way, all the orders at odds, all the cruel jokes and other manifestations of stress. I’ve often wondered the source of his peace and it is clear to me now, clear yet heady like vodka. It is their high levels of stress that fuels his travails in time.
He was in his sixties last Wednesday. A fun time to be in life, I imagine-settled, retired, relaxed-I wonder what he sees, I can only hear his replies. Future or past, wherever he might go, it’s an uncomfortable feeling-like eavesdropping-listening to someone time-travel. But he doesn’t leave me a choice, I have to stay with him at all times and he leaves without notice.
He met an acquaintance the other day. He wanted to learn her whereabouts in real time. Our efforts fell to their beautiful death like autumn leaves because I couldn’t travel with him but the intriguing dimensions I reconstructed of his reality were beautiful. I am into reconstruction, big time. Mainly because he doesn’t take me with him.
Seated next to me on an old bed that sagged like a soaked slice of bread, he could see not the nondescript lane outside our window but a life lived in another eon, equally commonplace, even more so. Instead of the room lived in by our lives, he saw a clinic with sloping rooms fit for terrace farming. He met with children who stood atop the tube light and he was quick to caution the man who stood inside the table fan. When the cupboard was opened, his eager voice wanted a nameless someone to get ready on time for the chauffeured car that would soon be sent to get them.
One day he was a magician who had lost his pouch of gold dust in his handkerchief and on other rare days he was a positively resigned old man in purgatory. On a usual day, he would stop feeling generous and want to account for all ten of his wife’s gold bangles. Quite a wife, to own ten gold bangles! He led an expedition far and wide to search, count, pat down and account for every one of those ten bangles and didn’t want to stop till every inch of his vast empire of an entire bed was turned inside out.
Such information did alarm me before I knew he was a time traveller. Now I roam mindless, my ears always alongside him on his trips, mesmerised by what his mind’s eye conjures, from the shackles of his bed and I imagine I am with him, holding his hand, seeing what he sees. He used to be my grandfather, before he was a time traveller, now he always will be…