Chapter 42: Everything Beautiful Is Absurd
But beauty is absurd. Joy is absurd. Laughter is absurd. Collect as many absurdities in your life as possible. People collect strange things - postal stamps.. Collect absurdities; and the more absurdities you have, the richer you are. The world may think you are a little off the track, but that is their problem; you are enjoying it.
In my postgraduate studies in the university, I used to go on a small street which ended, just after two miles, in front of a deep valley; that was the dead end. Only a few professors who loved silence had their bungalows on that street; there was no traffic, because in those two miles what traffic can exist?
I used to go there only when it would rain - I loved to go into the rain. The last house on the street belonged to the head of the department of physics - one of the very well-known scientists. He had been in America before I came to the university, teaching physics.
His family, it became a routine thing - whenever it would rain I would appear drenched, without any umbrella, without any raincoat, enjoying the natural shower.. The whole family would come onto their verandah - the wife, the children - and they would all watch, thinking that I must be mad.
The professor was at the university. He heard one of my talks and he was very interested. We became friends - he was an old man - and one day he said, “Why don’t you come for supper today? It happens to be my birthday.”
I said, “I will come, certainly.”
He had talked to his family about me many times, and the family was very much excited: “Who is the guest?” They were all waiting outside in the garden when I went in, and they all started laughing, looking at me. The professor could not understand what the matter was, because I also started laughing. The professor said, “I don’t understand, but it seems you understand why they are laughing, and they understand you. And I was thinking I am going to introduce you to my family!”
I said, “I know your family, they know me. We are well acquainted, although we have never spoken. I come here whenever it rains - this street is so silent. Your house is the last house before the road ends, and your family rushes out to see me. I know they think I am crazy, but they don’t know that I think they are crazy! - because what is the point of rushing out again and again to see a crazy man? They wait for me. Whenever it rains, they stop all other work; they are simply waiting for me! Sometimes I have to come just for them. I may have some other work, but I think of these poor fellows - that they will be waiting, and they will be unnecessarily frustrated if I don’t come. They think I am mad, I think they are mad.”
The professor said, “This is strange! You never told me about it.”
I said, “You would not have understood the relationship that was growing between me and your family. We have become very close, very intimate - without speaking a single word.”
The professor said to me, “Next time it rains, I am going to be with you if it is so joyful. I have never done anything like that.”