I’d met him in school on the lakeside School-cum- dormitory where I grew up. I had no idea who my parents were or where they had come from. The past is as decipherable as a clear sky. White soft clouds make a million patterns and you can never tell which pattern is more legitimate than the other. All we do is choose a pattern that suits our wandering mind the most and move on or else finding the most appropriate pattern would be the most tedious and fruitless job.
The school was founded as a day boarding school for children and later was extended for those who were godforsaken. I was. We were served three meals and a snack. Of course you couldn’t get out of the boundary but there were many other perks. I applied for the library assistant’s post and as a perk got to read endless number of books, the only condition being I returned them intact, which I did. You cannot miss something you never had. It didn’t really hurt me to not have some sort of kin but I always wondered how it would feel to have parents or a brother or even a house and a neighbor for that matter.
The damned will either grow up too fast or will not grow up at all. I was in the former category. I always found children my age too immature to share my feelings with. Was it because I gave my books so much space that there wasn’t any left for anyone? Or was it their indifference towards someone the found unentertaining. I wouldn’t know.
That evening at around 5.30 I sat on the lakeside with Darwin’s Origin Of Species in my lap. I was 14 then he 16. He was lazing around the shore after which he finally spoke to me. Was he nervous? I wouldn’t know.
” Why do you read Darwin? ”
” Because I think he has tried to make a valid point. ”
” Survival of the fittest, you mean? ”
” Indeed. ”
” They’ve found better theories you know. ”
” It is important nevertheless. Breaking the ice for the first time is something of great importance. To devise something is one thing to improve on it is another. Both are equally important. ”
” Well. I see you have a point. ”
” Ram ”
” Rekha ”
He did not say bye. Walked away abruptly.