Author: Arkapravo Bhaumik

As I recall, at first it was a middle-aged woman from Sicily, Ariana Antonella. It was then I realized that though the feminine anatomy is a work of art but it felt out of context as I am derived from a man. On the brighter side, it was very satisfying to see the sights of Sicily, it was not Milan or Venice but better than most of my later experiences. I felt reinvigorated with the salty air of the Mediterranean. The language, or rather its dialect was different from the one known to me, but it hadn’t changed by a lot. Another delight was to see people fly in air. As many as 500 people can fly together for great distances in long metal vessels with wings which were called aeroplanes. Finally – we had imitated birds. As a downside, I could not get her to engage in the arts, her thick fingers and stubby palm just would not work a paintbrush, but Ariana was a good cook.

Next excursion was a man from the orient, Honshu islands in Japan. Junichi Koizumi, he was a politician at a city council. How disconnected can such a pair feel! A body from the orient in the 21st century and a mind from 16th century Milan. Never had tasted uncooked fish, but it was a fair experience, maybe a wee bit too spicy for my liking. I was aghast to know about the second world war. How could the entire world go to war? That too with weapons which can kill millions at one go! From Junichi I also learned about Lord Buddha and his teachings.

A week later, I found myself in the body of a whale and I spent most of my time hunting for food. It was fascinating to observe its swimming mechanism – the synchronous flapping of the fins and the tail which helped it to negotiate through the water. I missed my sketchbook.

Next was Brian, a scientist from Manchester. I wasn’t with him for long but it was a learning experience. The world had been reduced to 108 building blocks which are called as atoms, molecules sometimes. This modular structure of the world was brilliant – God indeed had a recipe to make this universe.

Now as I think about my previous experiences, I am probably in the body of a philosopher. His taste in food is nothing too great but he has an assortment of likable wines.

I really wonder if my mind is genuine or another illusion created in this world of future. How much future this future is? Or is it black magic? Have wizards and sorcerers taken on the reign of society? How can my mind be restored after six hundred years? What happened to my body? These surrogate bodies are they genuine, or just another magical manifestation of the new age? Can I add such minds, streams of thoughts to my paintings?

Clearly, the body is a vehicle, and the mind is the lesser of the two illusions. The mind and the body are not unique, not really meant for each other rather their convergence helps form reality. Or alternatively, it is a sick game and we are all monikers for chess pieces.

Am I a painter and sculptor or Ariana, Junichi, Brian, or the whale? Or another collection of atoms which had acquired some sort of an identity and values and which will once again assimilate into the womb of the universe.

… maybe atoms are also a lesser reality.