india times said I was on a spiritual search because of the turmoil of my personal life and post oscar success of golden age. Not true. I have been in turmoil since I was 10.
In Delhi we used to sleep under the open skies on the terrace in summer. There was no light, sound or other pollution at that time. The universe was there to comprehend in all it’s fairy tale glory. The stars bright enough to create shadows of my hand on the white sheets. It was beautiful, as my mother would give me a glass of water from the earthen pot called the Surahi. I still miss the taste of the earth in the water I drank in the light of the universe. And as I would lie there, staring at the stars the inevitable question would nag me again. Where does the universe go ? What lies at the end of the universe ?….
… my father would gently explain that the universe went on forever. And i would wonder what the dimensions of forever were. I had just started learning physics in school. They had taught me that everything always had measurable dimensions. Length, breadth, depth. Circumfrence, radius. Even energy was measurable. Everything was something confined and measurable from the inside and from the outside. This was the physics of the finite.
So where did ‘forever’ fit in the matrix of the finite ? What was my father trying to say ? I would try and imagine ‘forever’. My imagination would extend and extend and extend looking to see how far I could go in a linear form, till I would break into sobs because wherever I went it – it just had to go further. How could I live in the physics of the finite and yet every night stare at something that completely defied description ? How could something just go on forever ? No limits in either time or in space ? How could something be nothing ? An eternal darkness ? If anything was something then it had to end somewhere, right ?
I created my own image of the universe to help calm myself down. Our universe was a miniscule atom in the tip of an axe being swung by a wood cutter. The time it took for the axe to hit the tree was an eon. Yet the universe of the wood cutter was enclosed in another atom at the tip of an axe of another wood cutter in an even more immense universe. And so on. One universe after another. One wood cutter after another. And by the time my imagination would create one universe after another, one eon after another, I would fall asleep. And then confront the physics of the finite at school the next day.
I am still that little boy in search of ‘forever’. I always have been.