Who Let The Wolves Out? – Part 3
Spaceless in time…
The door finally opened. It was unusually dark as we walked in. A silky brush of something soft started falling over us. As our eyes acclimatized, we realized that we were walking through a shower of rose petals. We glided over the rose carpet towards the source of dim glow. It was a trio of candles planted at the center of an exquisite table. We occupied our chairs, breathed in the aroma and surveyed the surroundings. It was at this table that Maharaja Umaid Singh entertained his stately guests. Our butler docked his iPhone on to the music system. It was the forgotten music of yesteryear. As the four-course meal was marched in, I noticed the wine being poured had been transported from our room. The butler hovered around, narrating anecdotes of his king. Except this time, the tales were not about the palace construction, but all the roads, schools, parks… About how the king had gradually drained his treasury to give back to the society.
The wine was exclusive. The food was exquisite. The ambience was perfect. The music was heavenly. The stories were intriguing. The attire was comfortable. The sandals were easy to slip off, and we played footsie after many years! The years of monotony were broken. Time hadn’t stood still after all. It had traveled back to our early courtship years, meeting half-way the kings and queens portrayed on the walls. Everything in the room was alive in that flickering glimmer. I raised my glass to Ritu, posed for the camera, proposed a toast, and stared down at my half-full wine glass. I had learnt my lesson.
And no, the lesson is not about how we view life – half-empty or half-full. The above fairy-tale ending, heart-warming as it may be, has no magical takeaway. I had done zilch to change my attitude, the credit went to the circumstances for transforming me. A good story, like a river, loses its identity after reaching its destination. Instead, all the lessons reside in the river’s journey before it meets the ocean.
The truth is I alone was responsible for complicating my life. If Air India misplaced our bags, all we had to do was stop at a store on our way to the hotel and buy some clothes. If the trumpet welcome was unusually noisy, it also presented an excellent opportunity to snap out of the negative thought trails. If the tour was unusually hot, is there any better way to enjoy a chilled sparkling glass of wine? If I was skeptical about the king, why didn’t I seek clarifications from the tour guide then and there? If the wine bottle had turned out to be uncommonly expensive, what worthier timing for this goof-up than our twentieth anniversary? If the music in the room was mundane, wasn’t it a clue from heaven to indulge in more interesting things on our special day?
The point is each stand-alone setback, presented me with an opportunity to fix or workaround it in an incremental manner. Instead I allowed the mess to pile up. Then the question arises, why didn’t I intervene in a timely fashion? That’s because there is a natural inertia in human beings to intervene with the river of time, even when the ‘current’ is sweeping us away. The time enslaves us as our present keeps going past into the future! The query of ‘who let the wolves out’ is inconsequential; the real quandary is – how to rein in the uncaged beasts who keep hopping haphazardly between the present, past and future? We are caught in a whirlpool of time, there is a need of an exit.
The universe, as we know it, is four-dimensional. The three-dimensional space that we are able to see, and the one-dimensional time that we are able to feel. Let’s flip it. How do we do it? It’s simple, some of you in fact just did it a few moments back. Visualize a river flowing from left to right. Now imagine some past event that you believe holds future implication. The upstream bend indicates past event, while the downstream fork represents future option. The river bank closest to you reflects the present. Now the vantage point from where you are viewing is one-dimensional, its virtual existence is merely a dot. There you go – you got your flipped four-dimensional world: the three-dimensional time that you are able to see, and the one-dimensional space that you are able to feel.
Now let’s break out of the drill. What exactly did we accomplish? Prior to the exercise, we were gasping for air in the river of time, we could only ‘feel’ time, and not actually ‘see’ it. But for a few fleeting moments, we were no longer a victim rather an observer of the past, present and future in one continuity. (Just like how we experience space as a singular entity and not compartmentalized into x, y & z axis). Yes, this four-dimensional flip requires art, and the subsequent analytics requires science. But it is not as complex as it sounds. It is one of those things that is easier done than explained. The simplest place to start is by acknowledging the existence of these revised dimensions and then practicing this realization with case studies of occasional events. My Umaid Bhawan story itself is an illustration of one such case study.
Sure, this continuum-of-time viewpoint may not have been an answer to all of Robin’s problems, but it could have presented him an opportunity to work-around his downers more objectively and emotionlessly. There are countless individuals and corporates who do this flipping very efficiently without even realizing it. In fact, if you managed to grasp the above blog in a single-read, then you already are a practitioner who often manages to collapse the learnings of the past and strategies for the future into the present actionable roster.
That leaves only one unsolved mystery before we give this blog a river burial: how expensive was the wine exactly? Well, let’s just say some mysteries are too pricey and best left unresolved.