from Caltech, Alan is a teacher at MIT. He teaches astrophysics, thermodynamics and creative writing.
When we first met, I gifted him CK Raju’s book, The Eleven Pictures of Time, that challenged Stephen Hawking’s Judeo-Christian theories. Raju had also received the Telesio-Galilei Academy of Science Award for pointing out a mistake made by Einstein and then correcting it. Alan, who hadn’t heard of Raju, was amazed and enthralled by the book. I was thrilled to have brought about a meeting of intellects.
Alan’s book has been translated into over 30 languages. Every dream that he creates in the mind of a genius, who distorted our simple concepts of time and space and left us dangling like Trishanku between realities and metaphysics, is a fascinating look at time in every possible dimension. In Landour, time acquires an expansive space whose limits stretch beyond human imagination and so the present is always a hallucination. Full of wonder and utterly awesome; humouring and unfathomable.
As the logs glow, I place large chunks of dry coal and dung balls and patties over them. The heat now would radiate and spread. Years ago, living in the quiet and peaceful tea plantations of Assam, my father had taught me not to burn newspapers in the fireplace because they sooted the chimneys. Decades have gone by and now, suddenly, after all these years, a numbing coldness spreads across our home as the daak edition of the papers arrive to tell us in the mountains all about what happened in the plains yesterday.
Unable to read any more of the same cruelty, inhumanity and callous injustices that perpetuate differences, divides and inequalities, day after day after day, I crumple each headline with a broken heart and cast it into the fire, consigning our present to flames, and then quietly pray that our future is as amusing as Einstein might ever have dreamed.
(The writer is an actor)