Monday, February 08, 2016


Next night we had a surprise - welcome or not remained to be seen. The camp manager brought a young man to our dormitory. We had one vacant cot - Marzi’s.

He was in his early thirties - white Nehru type pyjamas - embroidered long linen shirt - thick soled pathan slippers - clean shaven - well groomed - camera, haversack, rain coat hung on the mosquito net frame - occasionally biting nails - frequently drumming the edge of the cot with his fingers, ‘Come on, come on, what’s the delay about,’ they seemed to be saying.

“Well, folks,” he said, “here I am. You have been in this dump for sometime, now - may as well tell me all about it. Haven’t got much time, you know - have to be leaving in a couple of days, meeting date lines and what not - writing on ‘Neospiritualism - its manifestations - a global review,’ for the Truth Behind Things publications.

“I know the truth, of course, you need only tell me about the other things. The truth is always one - it is MONEY - ha, ha don’t I know it! Same everywhere - Bingo islands or Boston -cowries and shells in one place, coins and paper in the other - the rest follows. Just now you saw that brother collecting 30 Rupees for getting a glimpse of the brotherhood here. Ha, ha, so here we go: Let us start with the lady,” here he scooped out a writing pad and sat with a pencil poised in his hand, “First, name, nationality, age, and sex, haha, that we presume is known… well,” and he looked at Joan.

All of us seemed repelled by this hustle, but there was something boyish, harmless about him, and Joan who could see things seemed to be reassured, for she answered, “In mighty hurry, you are, aren’t you; suppose you tell about it yourself, first. You come from some place, haven’t you?”

“There you got me, lady,” he looked embarrassed, “You see I was hoping to avoid answering that by rushing in first. Seems I have been caught at it. The point is I just seem unable to speak coherently about this place I have been to; seems crazy, but there it is - first time Walker got foxed for words. Well, let me try, it may help me sort myself out:

“This place, they call it Kingdom To Come, perhaps about fifty miles from here - that is another thing - I can’t recall the exact location. First got scent of it in New York, and they rushed me over to find out all about it. It was literally following a scent - some persons claimed to know about the place but when you went to them all you got was another scent to follow up. I do not know how I landed up there.

“Well, I have been there, and all I can say is that there are people there, men and women and children; they are doing same things I suppose - running schools, hotels, circuses, hospitals and above all I found that money is there - they collected quite a bit from me for my brief stay there.

“And I could not get a clue as to why or what for they are doing all these things, same things as anywhere and what is there of the Kingdom to Come about it? No two persons gave me the same answer. All I managed to get was something like this:

“The spirit is looking for a perfect form to express itself fully; present man is able to know that evolution does not end with him; that he himself can aspire to better manifest the Spirit; this involves behaviour almost radically different from the present mind-ridden world. With aspiration from below and the grace of the spirit from above a change may come in present man himself or a new species come about. They have a queen, and this queen is the harbinger of this coming Man, who would fully express the spontaneity of the spirit, its sense of oneness and fullness, unlike man who is ruled by the vagaries of his mind and his separative self. Very good, I looked at pamphlets, and I attended lectures and all that. At the end of it all I have no clue.

“There is no religion or ritual, not much anyway, except their crazy faith in their queen and in the coming of the New Man. Some of them say there are rules, many; others say there are no rules. Some said they are very efficient, some said that efficiency was not the aim. Some are making profits and the others are making losses. The point that impressed me most was that each one of them thinks that the queen is his own and she is behind them all. She smiles at the man who presents the profits, and at the man who incurs the losses. Someone said that the work, all work was important only as a means of perfecting one’s own instrument, to provide a better playground for the spirit. That’s it, the place is a crazy play ground.

“But let me come to the craziest thing that happened to Walker: He was taken to see the queen - I believe it is very difficult to get to see her. Well, I saw her, bowed to her and said the first thing that came to my head ‘It seems money is important.’ She smiled at me and said, “How nice for you!” She kept looking at me and I looked at her, and all I did was that. I had a list of questions, and I was dumb, speechless, me Walker, speechless. I remembered about the questions long afterwards in my hotel room. Now the mad part of it is that I can see nothing else except that smile; and I can’t even describe her; and my memories of that place are hazy.

“I am haunted or bewitched, that’s what it is - last night, I had a dream - hundreds and hundreds of gold coins rolling in front of me, and all bearing the smile of the lady, and in the end, nothing but the smile. Money is no good like that is it?

“But, there it is - this write up I have to do, and all I can dither about is the queen and her smile and of a place I can’t really get the hang of. I must see the place and the queen again! Walker never fumbled at interviews before!” he looked vacantly into his hands.

“My, you make it sound so mysterious - trying out stage effects - audience reactions and all that,” said Joan.

“No by God, no!” said Walker, “I must visit that barmy playground again, if I can find it.”

“That’s great, you mean you don’t know how to get there!” asked Ram.

“Seems like it. Well so long - let me get some fresh air” dsid Walker and walked out into fresh air.

We looked at one another, I know I had seen a playground and a queen.

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