Dear Anupriy: Letter#15

The time-travelling hydra

(This letter is part of an epistolary series Speaking Our Souls and is a response to Letter #14. If you wish to start from the beginning, you can look at the list here)

Dear Anupriy,

You make an excellent point about metaphors.

Perhaps, it’s because I appreciate their power that I am always cautious about how they can be misused. It’s so deep-rooted, that I cannot escape it, whether I am buying into a brand or trying to understanding life.
(From your last letter.)

I believe I had mind-shattering experience with metaphors while reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. He’s your favourite too, isn’t he? Through his prose, Gibran masterfully disguises our quotidian apprehensions by his use of discernible imagery and prescribing us cures that are easy to digest, yet somehow difficult to decode.

But metaphors must be given credit where it’s due; they are but adornments after all. Their gossamer beauty is an end to itself, no matter how much we like to churn them out like pugnacious excuses for our ‘dissatisfied hubris’.

You know how we are kind of obsessed with temporalities like the past, present or future? Well, I had a dream one night. Or so I think. In it, I imagined that all of my existential anxiety will go away if and only if, I get a peek into my future, maybe 20-30 years later and know now what’s then. If I knew what I become and what I had to do to become that, I would be a little bit happier now. I think I suited up and travelled through a hole in time to see the future. To see me, ‘her’ in the future.

We are both insecure, no matter which direction ‘I’ look. I look at her (Bugeye from future AKA BFF) through this shifty, dark tunnel and she looks worried. She looks at me (Bugeye from past AKA BFP) diminishing in size and she can only barely catch my panic-stricken face.

BFF: You are here! How did you get here? That’s brilliant.

BFP: Wow. This is how you look…how I look?

BFF:Yup, pretty much it. I hope you didn’t expect more.

BFP: I didn’t. I mean, I am not going to take away the agency of my present self, when she’s you. —

BFF:Nor would I when she’s you. So…what can I do for you?

BFP:— I mean, you are you and I am me and that’s ok.

BFF:Then we agree. What can I do for you?

BFP:I have so many questions! I don’t know where to start. Does it get better?

BFF:Ah. That's a difficult question. I am not sure what you’re looking for there. Positive affirmation?

BFP:I guess?

BFF:In some ways, it does. And some others, it doesn’t.

BFP:Really. I did not just travel through a dark hole of eternity to get this fortune cookie of an advice.

BFF:*Sighing* As I said, I am not sure of what you’re looking for.

BFP:Ok. What about the little things. The little things like, what should I do next? Should I study more? Keep working?

BFF:You can do whatever you want. You will figure it out. Follow the path of least resistance.

BFP:But what have you done? What can I do?

BFF:I really can’t tell you anything. I mean, I can’t direct your life. It’s not my movie to direct.

BFP:But we are one person. I want to be successful. And happy. Why are you leaving me hanging?

BFF:As you rightly said, I can’t take away your agency from your present self. It is what we both stand against, right? If I tell you what you need to do, you will do that and then resent me, and yourself.

BFP:That’s not true. I am not entirely resentful…I resent a little. Itty-bitty resent?

BFF:The easier thing would be to shatter the delicate continuum and trade knowledge that might disrupt both our lives…

BFP:Yes! lets do that —

BFF:But is it the right thing?

BFP:I think so. I mean, I guess so.

BFF:Listen I am getting late. I have a million things in my head. You should worry about that Persian rug, the one on sale? It’s been two years. We need it for the couch. That couch is just getting hideous by the day.

I don’t know if I feel better having had an imagined encounter with my future self. I do know that there is no escaping yourself at any point on the axis of time. Some of my despondencies and cynical currents, run in streams beneath my skin and I can’t run away from them, not in myself, not in her, not now, not then…not ever. She is my broken mirror, and I, hers.

Back in the present, I am still stuck envisioning the future and hoping to ameliorate my anxieties. Being in the dark is almost shameful now. Clearly, I am supposed to know what I am looking for. How do I live in this dichotomy? Can I afford to be confused anymore? I don’t know. I doubt I’ll find the answers in the near future. I must, as you said, let my actions and my creativity induce meaning into some of my eternal questions.

Looking forward to hearing about your temporal escapades in the capital.

Yours timelessly,




Art. History. Books.

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Rohina Thapar

Rohina Thapar

Art. History. Books.

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