Archive for time

Touchy-Feely

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama was very fond of Zadam, the strange man with an upside-down head and senses reversed. Since he had met him last week, crossing the railway tracks, they had visited the coffee shop and community centre together, and met up in other places too. It was difficult to know where to go with Zadam. Wherever they went, people stared.

It was the first time that most people had seen someone with mouth and eyes reversed on his head. They didn’t even know about his ability to smell what things would become, his ability to see all sides of a situation, and his ability to hear answers rather than questions. He was an odd-bod indeed.

How about visiting the museum together; was that a good idea? Shama’s ex-wife, Dimpy, was director there, but it was a part-time position, only one or two days a week. He could go on a day when she wasn’t working.

After the split he had followed her to Lucerne in the misguided hope of reconciliation. They had never made up, and she wouldn’t let him see their daughter either. He didn’t have money to hire a lawyer right now, so would fight when he could afford to. He didn’t want to think about it; it hurt too much.

They entered the museum grounds, a few small buildings scattered around a courtyard. There wasn’t a “main museum”, but rather a collection of historic cabins filled with antiques. The cabins had been donated to, or purchased by, the museum, dismantled, transported and rebuilt.

When they entered the Roseman Cabin, Shama said to Zadam, “Please don’t touch anything. It is not allowed.”

“No touching, no touching,” said Zadam. “I don’t need to do touching. I can feel what things are like already.”

So this is another one of his qualities, thought Shama. Great! But he kept an eye on Zadam as they wandered around the cabins, looking at hand-tinted photographs, tin chamber pots, bunk-beds, and horsehair-stuffed sofas.

One cabin had been set up as a village classroom, with a large slate board and a dozen small desks. On the board was written: “Greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.”

“I know about him,” said Zadam, suddenly excited. He danced the beginning of a jig. His large green coat crumpled and filled like a hot air balloon being prepared for launch. I had better get him out of the museum, thought Shama, before he breaks something, but Zadam was bursting to say something, which would only be possible once he stopped moving. “He was the stupidest man ever!”

“Who?”

“Aristotle! He said we have five senses. He said we have sight, and hearing, and taste, and smell, and touch.” He restarted the jig, and couldn’t speak for a while. “What about balance, and temperature, and posture, and pain, and time? He only knew about half of them! What about the rest? I studied them all in the hospital. I have them all! You have them all! We have them all!”

They continued looking around the cabins. They saw a baby’s crib, a tin bath, a tea urn, and then a rosewood pipe. Zadam began dancing again, and chanting, and crying. “They are all dead!” he said. “The people are dead. The things are dead. We will be dead.”

“Not for a long time,” said Shama.

“But I can feel it already.”

Looky-Wooky

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama made appointments with Zadam but things never worked out. The strange, disfigured man who called himself “Upside-downy” also had a reversed view of time.

It was unclear whether he swapped a.m. for p.m., seconds for minutes, or dates for hours, or some combination of them all. The result was that Shama waited around, became annoyed and went home. His calls to Zadam never went through. Those numbers were probably mixed up too.

Shama bumped into him crossing railway tracks. Zadam was chanting to himself again, saying, “Upside-downy; Upside down me; Everything is and everything isn’t; As it should be and as it shouldn’t; Upside-downy…”

Shama stopped right in front of him and said, “Hello there, stranger.”

Zadam replied in his usual backwards manner, “Goodbye.”

“That’s three appointments you haven’t kept this week. Is it worth making another one?”

Zadam’s mouth rose. This is what happens when it is set near the top, rather than the bottom, of your face. For once he was stuck for words. After a moment he said, “I would like to go for coffee, yes.”

He sometimes sees things so clearly, thought Shama. He anticipates whole conversations and relates them backwards, and can smell what things will become, but he misses so many things. His world is darkened by a hood pulled tightly around his deformed head. He is cut off. Shama felt that he should befriend him further to expand his existence.

They arrived at the coffee shop and took an empty table on the patio. Mt Alba shone white, seeming like an enormous pyramid that could only have been built by aliens. Maybe it was a symbol placed there in hope that we would one day understand. Despite it towering over the village, people remained unaware of its message, so clear, pointing upwards.

Shama brought two coffees to the table. Zadam raised his cup over his eyes and nose, to his lips. Some people stared.

“Does that bother you?” said Shama. “People staring at you?”

“They’ve never seen me before, so I don’t mind. Let them stare.”

Raising his mug, Zadam seemed cross-eyed, which somehow didn’t seem odd. It was the least strange thing about him. He said, “People have expectations. One view of things. But then they see other ways, and after a while they get used to them.”

Was Zadam speaking normally? Were his sentences now progressive rather than reversed? Or was it Shama’s mind compensating somehow?

Zadam continued, “It is silly to have only one view of things. Birds sing sweetly but also shit on your head. Electricity gives light but is made by burning fossil fuel. Cars take you places but also kill people. Rods and cones. Pods and bones. My mother and father, teachers, myself and God, are all good and bad. We see with rods and cones. Lights and colours. Sods and tones. Everything can be seen two ways. This way and that way.”

He was suddenly annoyed by something. He stood up and shouted at the coffee drinkers on the patio, “What are you all looking at?”