By virtue of my role as teacher – not the sort of stiff-lipped starchy variety I should add – I think it would be extremely useful at this point that a preparatory practical be undertaken by your good self so that the things to follow later will fall nicely into place! First things first, step outside and lift your head up and survey the ginormous sky above. I do apologise if after carrying out this order you have become painfully aware that your old neck isn’t as supple as it used to be! Bag of frozen peas should do the trick! Now, before re-entering the house, I would like it very much if you could inspect carefully where your feet are at. Please do not shake your head, just do as I say! Well done, my nameless apprentice! One final bit of observational assessment from you and I promise the whole ordeal will be over. Make your way to the clock in your house and count – yes count – how many numbers circle round its face. Now, now, wipe that twisted snarl of incredulity off your own face, it shan’t make things any more easier you know!
So, now that you’re back in the safe fortress of your tartan armchair or, indeed, on top of an ancient mountain in Ladakh – and why not, my words are after all travelling on strings of shooting light, they are free to roam the earth and as such free to be read by anyone listening – let us now gather our findings. What did you discover? Ah, yes, I can hear all your voices reaching my ears with crystal clear definition and my word, some of you are rather disgruntled and disappointed by what has appeared to you as a pitifully mundane activity! For instance, there is one who is rolling their eyes around and puffing out the words like a chuntering steam train, “For god sake, the sky is blue!” Oh, and there’s a lady who has slouched back onto her chair and is muttering under her breath, “What an insane writer! Everything falls to the ground, feet included!” I had to save the best till last, that of the livid chap – thanks to me – who now has a mind to bash the clock on my head! He is chiding me, “You idiot, if the last number is 12 on a clock why would I need to count each number!” You should know something about me by now, dear readers: to expect the expected is as extinct as the poor old dodo bird when one enters the circus of my world! You see, what I have proved to you is a very sad fact of the so-called mature adult brain. I know that none of you followed my instructions and, with enormous certainty, I am willing to bet that consciously or otherwise, you all IMAGINED undertaking them in your mind and, each one of you felt compelled to abide by the Laws of Physics in this place of all places. You saw a blue sky because that is the colour of the atmosphere as it interacts with the light of the sun. You shook hands with gravity and thus accepted that your feet would be glued to the ground. You saw 12 hours neatly positioned on the face of a clock since that is how they have always been manufactured, in compliance with the conventions of time-keeping.
Why does our imagination suffer as we grow older? Why does the gateway to the circus of endless possibilities succumb and disfigure into a servile imitator of reality? Why cannot we give ourselves the permission to deny the Laws of Physics entrance to certain sacred parts of our inner world?
Ah, now wait a minute! What do I see here? Did someone just conjure up a purple and orange polka dot sky?! Oh, look, a world where people float! And, yes, a clock with 12 hours but when counted there’s always 11 because the final hour is the one in which you take your last breath in. Does it not feel strangely pleasant when Physics misses a spot…?
Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Travelling Circus | Southampton | UK 2014