How difficult can it get? Finding a ‘Logitech Wireless USB Mouse Receiver’, “which I had carefully kept, right here, next to my spectacle case.” my dad enquires, scratching his head in extreme agitation. Oh by the way, that’s how we keep our stuff at home. We keep it next to the spectacle case. Or on the coffee table. Or next to the TV remote. Or inside the newspaper-stand. We don’t keep things somewhere. We keep them everywhere. We employ this one simple rule and I guess I have picked it up from my dad: that one must exhibit legendary levels of laziness while keeping things. If you are retreating on the sofa-set, wandering idly about life while watching the television and you want to turn the idiotic box off: you not only turn it off but, in the process, also not stand up and not keep the remote in the remote-stand. If you are really the hard-working type, you may, if it isn’t too much of a trouble i.e., extend your arm and keep the remote on the sofa arm-rest.
“And where is your spectacle case?” my sister asks, hiding behind the newspaper. “Um-hmm. Good question. Where, indeed?” comes in the reply. “Why? It most certainly, must be next to what you are searching for?” mum adds, smug-faced. “In the 4th dimension, you mean?” Ah, the 4th dimension! What a mind-boggling and a novel concept. The coinage of the term and the rationale behind the phenomenon is the sole result of hundreds of hours of worthwhile deliberation by my mum. I’ll give you an example. The one she deliberated upon before extrapolating this glaringly obvious phenomenon: So you are in your class/cubicle/office and you are sharpening your pencil and then, you know, be it for your lazy grip or your lack of attention because you were busy talking to your friend or colleague, you end up dropping it. I mean, how harmless can the incident be? You simply employ your hand to find it out for you, without even bothering to look down. So yeah, just let your hands wander aimlessly along the floor and you meanwhile continue talking to that friend or colleague of yours. Until you eventually realize that it is difficult this way, that your power of sight has to partake in the search. And so you avail it.
The search resumes. You put your feet up, stand up from your seat, wipe your lap, dust off your clothes, you check the floor one tile at a time, you even manage to reach for that leg-corner of the desk, and lo! It’s nowhere to be found. And then a doubt seeps in: “Did I drop it at all?” So then, you settle back on your seat and fervently turn the pages of your book/report, you reach for the corner on the table, and in spite of knowing that it couldn’t get more stupid: you open the drawer. All these futile attempts in a hope to find that elusive pencil.
And mind you, you were sharpening the pencil because, well, you had nothing better to do, in the first place. But the moment you lose it, you feel this compelling urge to make notes. Or it could be gathering dust for god knows how long, but the very second you don’t find it, you christen it to be one of your most prized possessions. That you would, simply pronounced, never be the same person without it.
Then one fine day, you’ve lost all hope about finding whatever object was gulped down the 4th dimension, and you assertively declare something along similar lines: ‘Remember the pencil I was fussing over. I don’t even need it anymore. I kinda like this new pencil of mine’, No sooner have you uttered the sentence, will you find it. You’ll find the pencil. You’ll find it, lying on the floor, juxtaposed along the matching floor-mat pattern, stealing a glance at you, vociferously demanding to be picked.
Either that, or a fortnight-hence, you end up dropping another object, thanks to the congenital slack grip of yours, only to nonchalantly employ your hand in order to find it for you and behold! What do you end up finding? The pencil you had dropped that one time, of course!
The ‘4th dimension’ is, in a sense, the converse of ‘The Room of Requirement’. It is the place where things disappear when you really need them and reappear only after making sure that you’ve bought a replacement.
It is also a generous dimension in a sense that it does not keep your objects for eternity or hoard more than one at any given time. The moment it gulps down another object, it ogles out what it had previously concealed in plain sight.
“In fact, you know what? I’ll find it myself,” my dad says, trying his best to sound sincere. He makes his way to the wooden television stand, opening one drawer after another, mumbling all this while about the sheer un-chaotic well-organized state of the contents of the drawer. “Blimey! Look at this. Everything is so well-organized. Why? You could figure out in less than a second, that whatever you are searching for isn’t to be found.” “And is that necessarily bad?” I ask: in fact, strike that off; I couldn’t help but ask. “Of course, my child. It screams the absence. Doesn’t even give you a false hope. Now, help me, won’t ya?”
“I can give you a suggestion. Do not ask, ‘Where do you remember keeping it’. Ask, where do you remember not keeping it? For the place that you remember not keeping it, is the place you’ll eventually find it.” my mum says.
“That does not even make sense. Why? I don’t remember sliding it in between the pile of newspapers, I am sure.”
“You can thank me later.” mum says, a calculated smile on her face.