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Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

In a world full of gurus

Alice, I will always love you
Colin Todhunter

Q (yes "Q") was yet again providing me with the benefit of his wisdom. "Life is an illusion, and illusion is reality." Q talked in riddles. He was a riddle. Everyday was the same, he talked, and I listened. Or to be more precise, he rambled and I switched-off. I have been stuck in a Q-induced living hell for the past three months in Chennai. Q checked into my hotel and didn’t leave. Three months of his tortuous ramblings about God, reality, non-reality, illusion, energy forces and…more God.
I don't know what Q's real name was but now he was a symbol. When he wrote his name it was a kind of squiggle - a symbol concocted from this or that religion, or this or that home-spun philosophy. But he wanted everyone to call him Q as this, according to him, was the sound that was associated with the squiggle. His squiggle (or should I say symbol?) had some deep and meaningful significance no doubt, but I couldn't be bothered to ask. He was obviously dying for me to ask, so I never did.

Today, I wasn’t in the mood for his drivel. It was eight in the morning and I was too sleepy to be concerned about God being "Inside each and every molecule, atom, proton, neutron and electron; every chemical inside the body; every protein and carbohydrate." I wasn’t interested in God, physics or biochemistry at that time of the day. He was a stuck record. Every day had become the same, listening to his repetitive rants. He had nothing original to say. It had all been gleaned from some text-book or other, or some swami or guru, then regurgitated at length to anyone unfortunate to be in listening range, or too polite to tell him to give it a rest.

The thing is that if you had met Q for one day only then you might think that he was a great original thinker on a par with Plato, Einstein or whoever. But after one day, it becomes clear that his repertoire is limited. He runs out of things to say and so just begins to repeat…and repeat. That is when you realise that he is not really thinking, but regurgitating. Day two would be the same. Then, after that, each day would blend into a blur where you get to the point that you don’t know what day it is. In fact, you get to the point where you wonder if the sun ever rises or sets and if today was yesterday or yesterday was the day before. You become trapped inside the Q time-warp and the mantra never changes.

I decided to hit back. I told Q that he talked in simplistic absolute truths and it was merely based on relative, subjective belief. I couldn't win. He had direct, undiluted access to the truth. He retorted by coming out with one of his classics: "It's a relative absolutism and an absolute relativism. God is the energy force and every other energy is an illusion". I wished that Q was an illusion, but he was all too real and all too much in my face. It was all so depressing. Listening to Q was as pleasurable as sucking on a bag of razor blades. He was a master in circular logic.

Q was from Belgium and had not worked for twenty-five years. He had been to India on forty separate occasions. Apparently he was on some kind of benefit or pension from the Belgium government. Probably something to do with his state of mental health -judging by the state of his mental health. That is the usual story with the Qs of this world. There are many Qs travelling around India. None have done much work in their lives and most are in their forties and beyond. They are on permanent vacation from reality, courtesy of the taxpayer and their respective governments. Many have become self-appointed experts on life, death, the meaning of the universe, and in Qs case, physics, and biochemistry.

For these people, life is very often an illusion. It is a fantasy where work is off the agenda and contemplating their navel is on. They have an abundance of time on their hands and what better way to spend it is there by travelling around India impressing everyone with their hocus-pocus tittle-tattle? They all have weird and wonderful names. And they are always traveling alone. Over the years I have met a hundred Qs going under the name of Balance, Zed, Quest and One. Most of the time, they spew out rhetoric - self-contained truths repeated ad nausea so that thinking and real analysis becomes relegated to the realm of the ignorant. And I’m afraid I belong to that realm. So needless to say I don’t have much time for them - nor them for me. If they weren’t so tragic they would be funny.

In my humble opinion, Q needed a woman; but not any woman. A woman called Alice. She could come along and whisk him off to wonderland. Then Q would be with like-minds holding court with the March Hare, Mad Hatter and all of the other Qs of this world. A fantasy-land of nonsense and half-baked ramblings. But, I guess for them, India is their fantasy land. A land of the strange and exotic, where the Qs of the world congregate and meet. Indian people are extremely tolerant. They are accepting of most things. So, Q, along with all those who have spent too much time in the Ashram, meditation centre, or wandering around the far-reaching metaphysical realms of their minds, may blend in a way that would not be possible back home in Europe. Back home, they would not be viewed as the soothesayers they think they are. In fact they would be put on a pension and packed off to India…Hold on a minute, isn’t that what the problem is in the first place? Alice, please come along soon. Save me from my Q-induced hell. If you do, I will always love you!

© Colin Todhunter May 2003

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