On My Mind

Taking the past with you

A sword believed to have belonged to a Crusader who sailed to the Holy Land almost a millennium ago was found in Caesarea, Israel.PHOTO: REUTERS

Binoculars are optical instruments which allow you to view things in the distance. Not just 200 feet away, but sometimes 30 years ago. I can still see my father, sitting beside me in Rajaji National Park in North India, putting the binoculars to my eyes and whispering, "There, by the tall tree near that hillock". Finally, after some focusing, I saw it, a wild elephant standing as still as a leaf.

Last week I took those binoculars out of the old man's steel cupboard. The lenses were dirty, the view uncertain, and yet to peek through them was to still see the past. Sentimentality is a helluva thing: It turns trash into treasure.

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