Some children walking around the well shouted ‘Look at that old man, he is throwing stones into the well. Just like us!’ I made a gesture that frightened them away. They called me ‘old’, those rascals. I am over fifty years, but that’s not old by any standards! I wonder how Mithun would have aged! Does he wear spectacles with thick lens? does he wear dentures? Is he bald?
Both of us finished our schooling and entered college. We had to travel 8 miles from the village to college. Those days everyone rode in a cycle, so did we. A heavy breakfast would prepare us pertinently for the long day’s routine. Our academics went dexterously. By then we were the only two students who exhaustively used the library and lab facilities. I remember our first successful attempt at constructing a telescope. A pair of lens is all we bought from the optician spending a few annas. We were at the paddy field and gazed at the star lit sky through our telescope. Mithun cheerfully said, ‘look that’s the great bear constellation. Can you locate the bear’s paws!’. I was spell bound. ‘We are the greatest scientists’ he shouted. And then both of us cried ‘we are the greatest scientists!’ it echoed. I told him “ the great bear is linked to gods and goddesses, heavens and immortality” That day Mithun asked me a strange question ‘what do you think, Anand?’ ‘Is God a master to his slaves or is He a loving father to his children? I shrugged and said God is a loving father, always. And that He loves all his children. He laughed it away. And said emphatically ‘ If there was a God, there would have been no sorrows. Only love everywhere. There is no God. We are all slaves to someone who is more powerful. And some day I will become as powerful as He is’ The look in his eyes was strange. This is not Mithun, there was a kind of madness in his voice.
After that day, we
Time moved swiftly and our lives
My itinerant would finally end here, in