Tuesday, May 01, 2007

In search of my pet octopus

My pet octopus appeared quietly in a reverie. It was the best pet octopus I have ever seen or had as a pet all my life. I was hoping it would stay with me for ever. But apparently, it could not.

It looked very hungry and thirsty as well. So I fed it some Chinese noodles, and fetched a few cups of water from the ocean. As humans, we all love home-made food, so I guessed a pet octopus might love water from its home. As it turned out, it loved the sea water. And even more, it loved the fact that I understood its needs and tastes to perfection. So, it promised to be my friend for eternity. I was thrilled beyond words.

I just asked it if it would like to be with me for ever. The happy look on its face turned stiff, almost stoic. It said it could not assure me of that, but it would spend a whole day with me for sure. I knew that wasn't going to be nearly good enough. I loved this pet octopus. It was a gift from God.

I thanked it for agreeing to spend a day with me. I promised to take it around my city, to show it all the sights and spectacles that were on offer. It was the best day of my life. Ever. The pet octopus was having so much fun, and so was I. But the cold breeze started to affect it. So we returned home, earlier than we both would have liked to. In a moment, it began to get better in health, but I couldn't help noticing that the smiling countenance turned to an expression of a resigned acceptance. I wanted to know why it could not stay with me for another day. It did not answer.

I did not know too much more about a pet octopus other than it really liked sea water. So, I asked it if it would like some more sea water. After some thought, the pet octopus said yes. So, I went back to the ocean to get some sea water. By the time I returned, the dear octopus had gotten ready to leave. It gratefully accepted the water and drank it like a baby. And then, the pet octopus told me it was time for it to go. I begged the octopus to at least tell me a way to meet it later. It reflected on the question for an instant, before replying that meeting again would not be good for either of us. I asked why. I got no answer. Then, as it was just about to disappear into the distance, with that solemn, moist-eyed way of parting that can kill a man in an instant, it told me that if I truly wanted to find it, it would also wait for me in the middle of nowhere, till the end of time.

And since that moment, I have roamed every place in the world that could be nowhere, searching and seeking, failing every instance till date. But I continue today in that search, spurred on by an obsessive single-mindedness of pursuit, that like everything else in this story of my life, is hard to explain.

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