Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A quien ya no es joven

In my dream I was coming back to my college - St Xavier's college - in Mapusa, Goa. As I strode the hill like a colossus, I saw teenagers excitedly chant my name calling attention to my arrival as a student who once passed through its portals.

I caught a glimpse of Maria, dressed in satin summerwear beckoning to her boy who seemed to be playing nearby. As I went up the stairs I saw how everthing had changed. Parlours merged with living rooms and where used to be the office, I saw instead the church office of Don Bosco, Matunga, Bombay, with neatly stacked bookmarks prepared by St Paul publications. Time was flowing backwards, though I didn't know it then.

As I meandered amidst the hall, I was told that Fr would see me now. This was Fr Dennis Duarte, rector of Don Bosco, Matunga and who was fond of me. Sadly he had passed away in Don Bosco, Goa sometime back.

As I rallied to attention I asked my wife what I should tell him and how to organize my thoughts. Then I awoke to see her sleeping beside me.

To one no longer young                                 

      -by Jorge Luis Borges

Already you can see the tragic setting
And each thing there in its appointed place;
The broadsword and the ash destined for Dido,
The coin ready for Belisarius.
Why do you go on searching in the hazy
Bronze of old hexameters for war
When seven feet of ground wait for you here,
The sudden rush of blood, the open grave?
Here watching you is the inscrutable glass
That will dream up and then forget the face
Of all your dwindling days, your agonies.
The last one now draws near. It is the house
In which your slow, brief evening comes to pass
And the street that you look at every day.

(Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid)

Belisarius: Roman general (500-565); Pix: coin of Roman Emperor Justinian

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