So it was the average Saturday night, I was out for dinner. With the walrus. As always, the walrus was late. He was supposed to come in at 8:00 and he was already 26 minutes late.
After about half an hour of waiting, the restaurant door flung open, and in came the walrus. He was wearing a watch. You would expect him to not know of human norms such as wearing clothes, paying for food, wars, etc. but you would be wrong. The walrus was fully dressed. He had a certain stature to his walk. An intimidation. He would walk into a room and the crowd would be like, “Hey, whoa, what is that freight train of confidence?”
The walrus marched to my table and looked at me. He just stood there, and looked at me. He looked and said nothing. His ivory teeth were inches from my face. He blinked, and opened his mouth. He asked me, “Do you think I’m insane?”
I looked at him, dazed. What? What did he just ask me? But then it hit me. It was a fairly good question. The walrus was big. But it came off as small in the right conditions, and massive in others. He sometimes said things that were contradictory. He would say that things can’t appear and disappear out of nowhere. Then he would talk about how electrons disappear from one shell and suddenly appear in another. He would say things can’t be in 2 places at once, and then talk about some weird German cat. He would say that nothing is faster than light, and then talk about neutrinos. Sometimes, the walrus was just bonkers. He’d say that light travels in straight lines, and then talk about black hole photon sphere. He spent most of his time figuring out his relationship with philosophy the sea maverick. Sometimes he would say strange things. He’d say the sea maverick was his best friend, and then say that the two of them can’t agree on anything. The walrus was an atheist. He was a dreamer. But he was also a danger to himself and the people around him. A luring trap if I may. Countless had lost their lives to his tusks– Newton, Einstein, Tyson, Greene.
He had a split personality. Sometimes he was eerily sure of himself, an assumed paramountcy. At other times, he questioned his very viability, and felt entirely insignificant. He asked himself if he was just a fragment of imagination. No real substance. Tears would roll out of his eyes.
He was wild, often destructive, ever changing. Within days he would go from Einstein is a god to “he was wrong” and back again, like a finicky mistress trying to find where she belonged. The walrus was weary of his world, yet so dynamic and young. Hopping from one island to another, even two at once, his ship of the imagination would take him anywhere. Anywhere. Wherever he could imagine himself. He would jump and swim where he felt, and sometimes just sit by the fire trying to convince his fickle mind that his work here was done. But the mind wouldn’t listen. The mind wanted more, it was restless. It wanted to know how the world worked, because that gave him power.
The walrus wasn’t just one being. He was several. Constantly at war with each other, fighting, telling each other that they are better than them, that they are not insignificant feeding their own security. Running, scurrying, the rat race to a land called Right. They all simply wanted to be right. What the silly walri did not understand was that the island was big enough for everyone. But the walrus was immensely stupid and frivolous in spite of its wisdom.
The disequilibrium of the walrus’s self was incredible to watch. One could spend years trying to understand what the walrus was telling them, and not get a word. Scholars made it big in life by teaching others what the walrus spoke of. But the walrus didn’t really say anything. It just stood there. And stared at the island. The walrus was crazy. It was borderline mad. So when he asked if I thought he was insane, I could only think of one peculiarly interesting cat. Well, all cats are fairly interesting, but this one in particular was different. So as the walrus stared at me waiting for an answer, I looked into his eyes and whispered, “Yes and no.”
He remained unmoved. Just kept looking at me. Suddenly, he smiled and asked me, “Shall we start with some soup?”
DAKSH GUPTA is a high school freshmen from Noida, India, who was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in suburbs of the Indian capital, New Delhi. He bears an immense love for science, and a healthy disregard for the possible. He has been published in his school’s annual magazine, and maintains a fairly popular science blog, which he’s been updating every fortnight for almost a year, that can be found here. Gupta’s achievements include being able to type on a computer, and holding his breath for sixty seconds on a good day.