I was thrilled beyond my wits because it is not often that one stumbles upon Don Quixote.
I greeted him with folded arms first, then shook hands with him before embracing him tight. Really tight. So tight that he gasped and pushed me away. “Real love does not display itself so smotheringly,” he managed to speak through the gasps.
I apologised profusely and explained that I couldn’t contain my excitement on seeing him this Sunday morning when the monsoon clouds deceitfully played hide-and-seek in God’s own country.
“Ah, gods and clouds!” He exclaimed. “Never trust either of them. They are part of the world’s madness.”
“You were the sanest, Don,” I could not suppress my admiration of the man who single-mindedly pursued his dreams.
He laughed heartily. “Where do you draw the line of sanity, my friend?”
Millions of people dying of starvation when tonnes of food is wasted due to mismanagement or sheer callousness. Is that sanity? He asked me. The farmers who produce your food are committing suicide while those who do nothing but sit with fat account books eat the choicest food cooked by connoisseurs. Sanity? He mocked. You use gods to commit mass murders. Sanity? He went on to list a whole of sins, both cardinal and venial, that we keep committing while claiming to be protecting our gods and religion, our culture and national pride.
“Too practical, friend, too practical, that’s your madness,” he said like a preacher in the Sunday church. “You have surrendered dreams. What is life without dreams? Too prosaic. Too sane. Too much sanity is madness.”
He compared me to the man who drove ahead at lightning speed on the highway following the high beam of the headlight. Rushing endlessly on the highway as if some treasure awaited you there at the end of the highway. Death is what awaits you there. The real magic lies on the sides of the highway. In the darkness. The whispers in the leaves. The ripples in the rivulets. The sigh of the bud as it opens itself to the kiss of the butterfly.
“Not your fault, however,” he consoled me. “When insanity is the rule, butterflies find their shelter in museums.”