He would have been an outcast within the scientific community had it not been his begrudgingly celebrated status of the Theoretical Physicist who's algorithm explained some of the mysteries in the universe. He was also an oddity among his colleagues because unlike most contemporaries, he chose to believe.
He was known to spend most of his working hours at the desk, theoretically probing deep into the apparent complexities and unravel the enigma; breaking it all down until he got to the simple solutions, a neat, short algorithm that explains it all. He theorized that most complex problems have simple solutions, that there is an underlying simplicity in the universal design by the Creator. With an almost sly smile, he said he had the algorithm to prove it.
I was told he moonlighted as a storyteller too, not for money or recognition but as an emotional stimulant. Being a journalist, I asked him about this particular passion and he simply replied, ‘I write what I feel, not feel what I write’, leaving me wondering as to what that would mean.
He had this flair of projecting his thoughts in a grandiose manner, talking about the larger things in life, leaving one in awe. It was also so easy for him to enslave me with his words, amaze me with his simplistic clarity. By the end of that interview, I grudgingly accepted that the scientist was also a great storyteller. But like his scientific feat, his tales are otherworldly, far detached from the practicalities of our complicated lives.
And goddammit, I still fell for him. Had the reckless audacity to love him.
For a small-town girl, I can say I know a thing or two about life. Working through college for a degree in Journalism, I struggled my way into the ruthless world of media houses until finally landing at an insignificant position of a junior investigative journalist. I call it insignificant because I was always behind the camera, never in front of it. The anchors and the newscasters shared the limelight, leaving me in the shadowy recesses.
One day, I am determined to find my moment of glory, bask in the success of my face recognized by millions. I think I should, then, do a coverage on that scientist who thinks he knows it all…, should be fun!
My success would also disprove his ah-so-knowledgeable claim that our life is actually all about the choices we make, not the subsequent direction it takes. It sounded like a riddle until he explained, 'had life followed our self-created roadmap, the essential element of caring and human decency would have been an early casualty'.
Still sounds like a riddle to me!
He led me to believe that just like with the magnificent universe, being helpless in controlling our personal destiny, was ultimately good for us because it stimulates the struggle to understand. That, it is through the trials of helplessness, the grain gets sifted from the chaff. ‘Passing through these ordeals,’ he had said, ‘helps win the race.’
It somehow seemed to make sense then, doesn’t anymore.
Maybe I should stop using narrative style and talk to you directly… it was always your preference anyway.
You should understand that I have to live my normal, everyday life, not the one in your fairyland. But I guess you would be sitting comfortably on your knowledgeable high-ground, thinking, ‘Why can’t she do the right thing?’ Well, Sir, it is selfishly easy to be critical and I wonder when you would learn to do the right thing and leave me and my life alone.
You talked about passing the mantle on to me. Huh...as if you are someone so very special, a cherished prize, a valued souvenir! You can never understand the stifling constraints of mere earthlings like me, struggling to earn a name in this society, to find a life of success!
Your simplistic answer would be, ‘Life holds far deeper meaning if we cherish the ones who care for us. Feel their importance, for other things never mattered.’
Words so easily spoken! You conveniently neglected to feel how you affected my life, or maybe you took off your caring-lover hat and replaced it with the heartless-scientist cap? After all, you are a scientist, a theoretical physicist to be exact! And by-the-way, you were always such a geek for love, like a starry-eyed teenager! I wish you could show me any scientific proof of these emotional utterances of a hopeless romantic!
Get real Sir, these are the realities of life! Sitting comfortable in glory and fame, yours is a different worldview…
I resent your trying to mold me.
Starry-eyed that I had become, I began to think like you, feel like you, and to believe that I am in a state of bliss as long as I am with you!
Talking of bliss… you even made me think beyond life itself. So convincingly telling me that it all just does not end here, that there is life beyond the curtain that we call death. You oh-so-truthfully said that if you gave it a couple of years, you could develop an algorithm to scientifically prove it. Huh..., Mister-Know-all, do it then! You would probably rig up an equation or two, but how would it help people like me? Would you change the world around me? Fix society in the process?
And talking about society, how easy it is for you to say that one should not bother about people, that you can never please everyone. So where do I live? On a far-out island in the middle of the ocean? Cut off from that very humanity that you claim to cherish?
And ah, yes! Talking of humanity, didn’t you say there are billions of people on earth and, except for maybe a handful, it doesn’t matter to you who does what? That you would not be thinking about someone who lives in some house, in a small neighborhood, in a distant town, of a remote country in another continent? Well, Mr. Feelings-Personified, I don’t care too.
The difference is, you want me to be among that handful of chosen ones in your life while I have decided you to be that someone who may be living in some house, in a small neighborhood, in a distant town, of a remote country in another continent! Get it!
And don’t you ever talk to me about the afterlife. You have such a romantic view of it and seem to take it in stride. Maybe you should spend some time at that crummy desk of yours where you figure out the simplification of the universe, only this time just come to terms with the reality; to step into the afterlife, there is this painful and terrifying episode of death! Or have you broken down that complexity into a simple process too?
How cruel of you to coax me into believing that I should neither seek death, nor shy away from it. Well, let me tell you, I am in no rush of dying, would rather live forever, if I could.
And what do I die for? Like you said, there are billions of people on earth and many more billions in the life beyond, not many of them you would search for. You may have that handful of people you would like to meet on the other side, whom do I look for? My cat?
And that final straw!
You said you loved me, and I am your one within. And what was that ultimate tribute of love for you? That you would like to die in my arms?
How heartlessly insensitive of you! Subjecting me to the agony of having you die in my arms! Ah, yes… you had explained that some bonds are beyond time, and it is only the truly caring ones who see you off when you travel away.
You probably think I have forgotten your habit of never looking back once you said good-bye. You said looking back doesn’t make any sense, because your heart may have been left behind but your journey lies ahead.
But I would stand waiting at the airport while you walked away. So why did you feel the agony when I told you I won’t be there if you pass away? It might be your desire to die in my arms, not mine.
How I hate you!
How much I hate you for putting me in this mess! For causing all this agony! For haunting me, not leaving me alone. I hate you for making me live a lifetime of guilt.
I was just a small-town girl, looking at making something out of my life, and your simplistic views on complex problems took it all away.
Give me back my life. Can you hear me… give me back my life!!
But how can you? You died all alone, without my arms, but still remain the one within.