Peggy Mohan's new book is a journey to a brave new world whose notes still strike a chord, writes Amit Sengupta.
Walk in C-minor
Rs 350 | 280 pp
Really, in this long, endless and infinite journey, there is no attempt to celebrate the cliché. You are not compelled to run around in a vicious circle of boring banalities even as you try to sparkle on the foam of sunshine waters and run the same old DJ theme song, round and round, eardrums in place, pretending to be so original and prophetic. Truly, there is no baggage you have to carry, no apparent leadership qualities or the great leap of imagination of the explorer, nor the swansong of a journey which is superior to the destiny; not, surely, the landmark prophecy that this is the beginning of the end.
This is a simple trek, outside Orwellian shadows, not looking for Kafka’s metamorphosis, as solitary as the boatman of Hermann Hesse finally finding salvation listening to the river’s discourse, and as sublime as a stranger woman on the street, her smile liberating, unlike Camus’ Outsider.
The cat knows it and the cat does not know it. And this has nothing to do with his eclectic nine lives, nor is it a journey of the animal farm, or the magical, predatory wild where nature seeks to devour its own children and only the fittest survive. This is as simple as a magical trek on a musical note, not looking for four seasons, or the 40th symphony, neither Nosferatu the Vampyre’s apocalyptic Wagnerian music as backdrop (for the longing of love and the abject pain of the longing of love), nor the final and absolute search for the ode to joy which the composer himself can’t hear. This is a simple trek, outside Orwellian shadows, not looking for Kafka’s metamorphosis, as solitary as the boatman of Hermann Hesse finally finding salvation listening to the river’s discourse, and as sublime as a stranger woman on the street, her smile liberating, unlike Camus’ Outsider.
There is no outsider here. We are all inside this zigzag and we are following the cat. The musical note shifts across multiple dark and moonlit nights, with the shuffle of leaves, falling leaves, shifting winds, soft footsteps, gurgling streams, while one-night butterflies buzz past, resurrecting night and day, in this eternal vigil for beauty, and this eternal search for being and nothingness.
Don’t follow me, said a philosopher to a blind and fanatic follower. Don’t’ look for followers, he said. Look for your own journey. You are your own journeyman, your own blue eyes, your own boatman, your own shadow and shade and grass, your own horizon across the next sunset. Every threshold is a moment of revelation and there is no final revelation. Every note you hear fills you with contemplation, but you know that some stay and preserve, others go round and round like an out-of-the-box cliché, forever trapped in an eternal rat trap—of originality.
All originalities are eternally marking paradigm shifts, looking for “things that take you outside the frame”, “impossible things”, “Things that turn you inside-out”.
You are your own journeyman, your own blue eyes, your own boatman, your own shadow and shade and grass, your own horizon across the next sunset.
Do things turn you inside out? Is it the fear of freedom you fear the most? Have you forgotten that you have wings, that you could once fly? Can you still see and hear through the shadows of a pitch-dark night in starkly stranger and alien territory? Can you, once again, walk alone? In C-minor?
Peggy Mohan’s book is a trek. It’s a slow drink, neither shaken nor stirred. It’s a journey to a brave new world whose notes still strike a chord, but we hear neither the silences nor the melody. Check out how the cat walks, as soundless as sound. This book tells you how.