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(Written on 15th Jan, 2015)

Yesterday evening, the TV was on at home, and I was walking past. Something drew my attention to it. A popular game show was on, and someone described the green coconut or daab, as an 'older' state of the brown one or narkel. And her logic was, the green coconut had existed in an earlier period - which is why its older.

Obviously, its only a conceptual jugglery, but it got me thinking. Is my school-going state older than the current me? Because that predates the present state? Am I now, a younger version of who I was as a baby? This surely turns the entire 'concept' of time on its head. But what if I could conjure up, in a conceptual fantasy, an older-younger (mother of all oxymorons!) version of myself - say, the one that was only 10 years old, and then be able to speak to him?

Remember, by our given definition, that is the OLDER me (the daab from our earlier example), in conversation with the 'younger' version existing in the year 2015. What would I say to him? It'd be awkward to say the least, for that 'old little boy' would have seen less of the world than this young, older man. But he would still be my venerated elder, for he had existed in the past.

And just now, while typing this out, I'm reminded of a movie (Brad Pitt was the lead actor) in which the protagonist, instead of aging, was becoming younger by the day. I haven't watched that movie (yet), but Sukumar Ray's Ha-Ja-Ba_Ra-La, published in the last century had expressed a similar concept. In that land of Ray's nonsense fantasy,  one is only allowed to grow older until he/she has reached 40. After that, the age-clock is reversed, until it climbs down to 10! The supreme logic given for this fantastic 'practice' being, 'Surely, we can't be allowed to grow old and die!' :)

 How many such '30 year lives' could we live, if that were really to happen? Would it be an infinite, back-and-forth cycle from 10 to 40 and back? Would we be going over the same experiences, would I be walking backwards (like a cine-reel set in reverse), or talking backwards too? Siht ekil? Would my coffee cup (like the one I'm drinking from right now) fill up, and the emerging vapor swirl back into it, rather than going in the direction we are normally used to? Would the streaks of gray in my hair turn darker? Would my joints grow suppler? Would I be playing cricket with my teen-age pals again, and would the cricket ball be bouncing back into the bowler's hand, instead of rushing at my bat? Or would it, from 40 to 10, be a different journey altogether?

If the mere thought of me sitting face to face with my past, 'older' self, (that ten year old with heavy glasses) is staggering, how much more is it so to consider Sukumar Ray's proposition? And, what about all the people, the dearly loved ones, whom we have lost? Also, on the way 'back' to 40 again, would we be given a chance to rectify our past mistakes? Or further refine all the good things we have done, our successes? Of course, if that doesn't happen, life would be interminably boring, and there'd be no sense in living that endless re-runs of a life. So, I expect our experiences would vary each and every time, depending largely on our own inputs into those. Which opens yet another Pandora's box - how would I like my life to be re-lived, if at all?

Coming back to the ('older') green vs ('younger') brown coconut situation - and imagining a conversation with my past, younger self - I'm tempted to have a similar one with every successive (or preceding) versions of me. And how would I like time to be divided in that case - in years, weeks, days, seconds...? It'd be like 'viewing' a slide-show on the internet, like a dear friend of mine used to create years back. I could keep clicking the 'Next' or the 'Previous' arrows, to navigate through time. In fact, this succession of 'selves', these snapshots of events - past or future, is what gives us a sense of time. Take away the progression, and time would stand still, perhaps eternally so. Perhaps that's how it already is, only we do not know, as we keep clicking the arrows under some ignorant compulsion, and call this slide-show 'Life'!

Parting thought... if I were to be stuck at one slide only, that all-important, individual frame, what would that be? 




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