“Excuse me, Sir! Can you please suggest me the way to the Conference Hall No. 12?”
The fading pale blue light allowed only his beefy presence to be felt under the cellar ceiling of that museum.
“First right up this way”, he answered pointing to the staircase on his left, his back still facing me.
His curiosity had been quaintly engulfed by those shards of pottery seemingly dating back to the medieval Europe.
My five year old research on dark energy and black holes at the TIFR, Mumbai had made me felicitous enough to be invited to the 22nd Annual Conference on the Discoveries in Cosmology, in New York.
“Thank you”, my voice seemed to somehow muffle past his ears.
He suddenly turned back to have a glimpse of me, as if there was everything he had been able to comprehend of those shards by now.
His eyes were good enough to leave behind that discerning look on my pretty much palpable inferiority complex.
“Are you okay? You seem to have been bogged down by your presence here. Lemme ask you something, boy. Do you think you deserve to be here? I hold a doubt”, the blatant derision in his drawl with an overt inflection at the end struck me hard.
“Yes Sir, I am fine. Thank you.” It was an affectation on my part.
“I have been invited here by the concerned authorities.”
The tousled hair and the crumpled face, with a crying lassitude in his gait as he walked past me, were enough to convince me of the sovereignty of time over yet another big-headed mind.
“What are you proficient in?”
“And how old are you?”
“I hold a five year long research experience in cosmological studies, Sir.”
“29! 29 complete.”
“It’s not long, you gawk! Einstein had devoted fifty years of his life to the science. And yet everything hasn’t been disinterred so far”, his grumpiness prodded the shrill to be procreated.
This convinced me both of his staunch dedication to the field of study and of his propensity to pettifogger, probably owing to the hovering senility.
“It will, Sir. It will. I appreciate your concerns though. Well, it’s time to leave I guess. Nice to meet you. Thank you.”
“I am not done yet – Hang on here!” My attempt to spurt out of the scene had been trampled down.
“Look. Better you get that. I need your breed to come up with something prolific enough. The Theory of Everything you know. I keep on ranting this to all you guys, but no one really gives a shit to this old man. Neither did Bernhard.”
Something, perhaps the vacuous insanity he ensconced, compelled me to hold back. The emotional binge somehow wafted out with those urges of the weeping old man. He seemed to have lived a desolated life full of insatiety. Someone might have failed to meet his surmises maybe.
“I understand your concerns, Sir. I can compile what you have been up to all your life.”
I somehow struggled to enquire of Bernhard. I didn’t knew why I was there with the old man in the first place!
“No, you can’t! You mustn’t have been here if you could.”
“You fly here for these sterile discussions, right? Why not work out on your own? Remember. You don’t need to know something big to discover something big. You need to believe in your conscience. You have a long river to cross, boy. Nature won’t wait to checkmate you with her wiles for the beguiler that she has been. Maybe you would receive a disparaging kick on your butt. Everyone did. Even Einstein. Even me! But you are required to glue yourself in to the rock.”
His spiel was competent enough to induce something in me. Something quite ineffable. Something that, in a way, jarringly questioned my presence here. I couldn’t comprehend why he had plucked me out of the agglomeration, but his rhetoricity had indeed been worth scrutinizing.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Science wants each one of you to strive to beget a productive future. A future where nothing would remain intractable. You might well get to confront that ubiquitous supremacy if you dared to unravel the unimaginable. You might have your kids playing somewhere on the Jupiter, as they show in sci-fi. But mind you, the laws of physics can well be amended to procure something that has been inveterately unconjecturable. You might well bring the past and the future under your control. You just need to battle that skirmish between relativity and quantum mechanics, right? That’s when everything would chip in in a cadence stream. Just remember that you don’t need something big to discover something big!”
I had been left spellbound by now. I hadn’t heard of anyone who had been this fanatical. This genuinely dedicated. I wished to know more of him.
“Who are you?” My intrigue augmented by my zest pushed me to eventually bring this up.
“Do you know John Galt?” He smiled as if something waggish had tickled his mind.
“I need to leave now. Take this card. You might have heard of me, boy.”
He handed over the card to me and vamoosed off with the gush of a cool breeze, as if he had been successful in discharging a prodigious duty!
I didn’t know who I had been hearing since a while, I didn’t know who Bernhard was, and now, I haven’t heard of John Galt.
I bent down curiously to find the card. It was blank on the first sight. But on the fringe, I found something written in tiny letters that rendered me shuddering with stupefaction.
It said – H. Albert Einstein!
When I had been able to open my eyes, I found myself confronting a pretty lady, who seemed to be a nurse in that attire, and a hard-boiled physician.
– Mayank M. Bhandare
Mayank Bhandare loves writing on various poignant social issues, holistic approaches to mental health concerns, sports, Digital Marketing and the trending advancements in technology. Moreover, he is an avid lover of dogs plus an active animal activist as well, and a just Vegan.